Pitchside Europe

Facts: 7 Premier League truths – Suarez, AVB and Arsenal



1. If Luis Suarez stays fit, Liverpool can mount a title bid

The Uruguayan forward helped dismantle 10-man Tottenham 5-0 in a result that was the London side’s heaviest defeat at White Hart Lane since 1997. Liverpool marvelled in a terrific team performance, but none of it would have been possible without the influence of Suarez, who scored twice and played a leading role in the other three goals. Suarez has 17 goals for the season in the Premier League, two more than the Tottenham squad. If there is a better forward in the world, his name is either Cristiano or Lionel.

2. Arsenal are at their best when they are not forced to defend

Have the rails come off for Arsenal? After impressing so much this season, their last two team performances have been terrible. Sloppy errors in midfield, weak defending and some apparent disagreements on the pitch could derail their season unless Arsene Wenger can discover the answer. They are better going forward because they have the ball. And when they have the ball, they don't have to defend. Manchester City exposed Arsenal's frailties when a side with the correct tools opens them up. As the 6-3 win over the Gunners illustrated, Manuel Pellegrini's City don't like defending either, but they are better at attacking than Arsenal.



3. Roy Hodgson must have found this Sunday roast a little difficult to digest

Andre Villas-Boas isn’t the only coach who should have found the Suarez show at White Hart Lane a little bit uncomfortable. The watching England manager Roy Hodgson has to find a way to nullify the forward when the national side come across Uruguay at the World Cup finals. That will be easier said than done. The England captain Steven Gerrard says Suarez is the best striker in the world. As long as Michael Dawson or Kyle Walker isn't handed a man-marking job on Suarez, England should be fine. Perhaps.

4. Steve Clarke’s sacking sums up the lunacy of Premier League football

If AVB thought he was in trouble as the Tottenham manager, he couldn't exactly take solace from the treatment sampled by West Brom coach Steve Clarke. West Brom would probably have dismissed AVB when Liverpool moved three goals clear on Sunday. With the Baggies losing a fourth straight match in a 1-0 defeat to Cardiff, the club's board decided to press the panic button by firing a coach who led them to eighth place last season. West Brom are 16th in the table, only five points behind Swansea in 10th spot, but the pressure on managers to achieve results seems ridiculous when the demands are driven by television millions. Something has gone badly wrong somewhere with football.

5. Liverpool may not be the best side on Merseyside

Liverpool aren't the only classy lot in their manor. Do Everton have what it takes to reach the Champions League? Do Everton have what it takes to win the Premier League? Both questions should be taken very seriously. Roberto Martinez's side play an exciting brand of football, know how to defend, have options – as showed when Kevin Mirallas came on for Gerard Deufoleu on Saturday– and are able to grind out wins when they don’t hit peak form. They thumped Fulham 4-1 without ever hitting top gear. This is the time-honoured sign of a fine team. Let the good times roll.



6. Perhaps Villa should have cashed in on Christian Benteke during the summer

Benteke has now gone over 11 hours without scoring a goal for Villa - a deep contrast to last season when he plundered 28 goals from 50 appearances for club and country. Benteke last scored on September 14 against Newcastle. It is too early to say if he is in a Fernando Torres-style depression, but he remains his club's top goalscorer with five goals. Which says enough about Villa's shortcomings in the forward areas. Benteke hardly had a look at the rigging during Sunday's 3-0 drubbing by Manchester United.

7. AVB or his replacement could be busy in the January transfer window

Where does AVB start with Tottenham? Or where does AVB's replacement start with Tottenham? It seems the Portuguese coach learned nothing from suffering a 6-0 defeat to Manchester City three weeks ago. Not when their defence looked like they had met each other for the time during the 5-0 lesson dished out by Liverpool. Having failed to register a shot at goal during the match at White Hart Lane, Tottenham's woes appear to lie all over the pitch. The grim face of chairman Daniel Levy looking on said enough. He didn't have to say anything else. Liverpool looked better than they are because of Tottenham's inadequacies. The home fans deserve much, much better than this level of output. Fresh faces are needed, and perhaps that includes the manager.