Talking points: The latest meltdown for the Blues saw six players booked (including a sending off for Nemanja Matic), a coach and a manager ejected, and another grim loss. Jose Mourinho loves to poke at other managers for their perceived foibles, so perhaps he should try this one on for size: His tantrums are costing his club dearly. Journalists love Mourinho because he is funny and quotable -- but it’s clear his players may not feel the same way. They look as if they’d rather be anywhere else at the moment, and it all stems from Mourinho’s outrageous treatment of referees, staff members, and his colleagues. Respect is a two-way street, and Mourinho’s blatant lack of it, combined with his overweening narcissism, have Chelsea in dire straits.
AFP/Getty ImagesIAN KINGTON
The Hammers are for real
Talking points: Ten games in, West Ham sit third in the Premier League table, and it is not by accident. Playing with confidence not often ascribed to this side during the Sam Allardyce era, the Hammers have already collected an impressive set of scalps and look to be in the European conversation. Credit Dimitri Payet -- perhaps the signing of the season -- for the newfound guile, but also give a nod to Slaven Bilic, who has been tactically astute. Saturday’s introduction of the “unmarkable” Andy Carroll was inspired and directly led to the winning goal. One or two big wins might be a fluke; four is a pattern. Keep watching East London.
Getty ImagesJordan Mansfield
Tim Sherwood’s time is up at Villa Park
Talking points: Sherwood was never the man for the job at Aston Villa. Despite steering the side to safety eight months ago, Villa had lost six straight in the league and Sherwood admitted he had no clue as to how to sort it out. Don’t expect the next man to have any more success. Villa haven’t had a successful coach since John Gregory and men as noted as Martin O’Neill, Gerard Houllier and Alex McLeish have come a cropper here. Why? There’s a basic lack of talent at the club, and that combined with wasteful spending in a bubble market has cost this side dearly. By rights, they should go down no matter who next picks up this poisoned chalice.
Getty ImagesMalcolm Couzens
Arsenal find their spines
Talking points: These are heady times at the Emirates. After a dismal start to their European campaign, Arsenal have fans’ hearts aflutter after a superb and pragmatic 2-0 win over Bayern Munich to bracket an impressive league run that has them atop the table Saturday night. True, their defense remains cardiac, but two players -- keeper Petr Cech and shield Francis Coquelin -- have made all the difference. Saturday’s win over Everton was a game that in years past the Gunners might have drawn or lost. Instead, they look to be gathering strength early. No, they do not have the depth or talent of Manchester City; there are also a lot of games left to play. But the Gunners are rightfully in the title conversation. Credit them with a newfound resilience to go along with the slick passing.
Getty ImagesDean Mouhtaropoulos
Is Steve McClaren next to walk the plank?
Talking points: “We were the better side by a distance,” said McClaren after he saw his Newcastle side thumped 3-0 by Sunderland. “We controlled it, created chances and never looked like giving away anything at the back,” added McClaren. Newcastle lost the game 3-0 and are now 19th in a 20 team league. They look terrible, and McClaren has to be the odds-on favorite to be next to depart.
Getty ImagesIan MacNicol
Wayne Rooney, showing his age
Talking points: Once the great English player of his era, Rooney has not got off the mark this season at all. Sunday’s derby may be remembered as his snoozefest, a dreadful performance on a big stage that only reminded onlookers of what he used to be capable of. Rooney used to hold up possession and create attacks -- now it seems he actively foils them with poor touches and cheap concessions. Critically, his confidence appears to be gone. This is a sad state of affairs for a one-time giant of the game. It’s hard to see how Louis van Gaal can keep the faith with his star playing so poorly.