Premier League talking points

1. FULHAM FLATTER TO DECEIVE

Fulham played like world beaters for two minutes at Turf Moor and like a beaten Premier League side for too long afterwards.

The start they received through Andre Schurrle's exquisite opener against Burnley was beyond anyone's expectations, though what followed was all too familiar.

While Claudio Ranieri attempted to put on a brave face afterwards, claiming his side deserved a point, the Cottagers can ill-afford to squander points against fellow strugglers as it is what happens in the final third that counts.


2. WAGNER LAMENTS LACK OF VAR

Another messy refereeing decision, another vote for technology. Confusion reigned after Lee Mason retracted his decision to award Huddersfield a penalty at Cardiff and such a reverse comes at a cost.

The Terriers can feel hard done by, with manager David Wagner - without a win since November - referencing Michael Oliver's failure to give his side another penalty at Brighton last month.

By the time the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is introduced in the league next season, it will probably be too late for the Terriers.


3. HASENHUTTL ADDS STEEL

Southampton's gutsy away victory over Leicester felt like the sort of game that they would have lost prior to Ralph Hasenhuttl's appointment.

But, despite playing with 10 men for the entire second half, it says much for the renewed belief the Austrian has instilled, and in particular the way the team are organised defensively, that the Saints saw the game out without ever looking that uncomfortable.

Despite being in charge for only seven league matches, he has already won three games, as many as former manager Mark Hughes managed in 22 games, with James Ward-Prowse admitting "the difference has been unbelievable".


4. EVERTON'S LOANEES BRING HOPE

Relief was etched all over Marco Silva's face as Everton claimed an invaluable first win in five home league games.

The contributions of Kurt Zouma and Andre Gomes were not lost on the Everton manager, both overcoming subdued starts to bring much-needed strength, a finishing touch in front of goal in the defender's case, and composure to the display.

The two took responsibility that other senior Everton players did not, a concern for Silva given that both are at the club on loan.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2019, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe