Reporters' Notebook

Sky Sports takes a look at some of the talking points from the weekend's Premier League action

Last Updated: 11/11/12 7:15pm

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Javier Hernandez ensured Manchester United remain top after the weekend games

Javier Hernandez ensured Manchester United remain top after the weekend games

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For individual match reports, statistics, player ratings and key moments from each game, click on the headers below.

Arsenal 3 Fulham 3

Chris Burton

Where to start with a game which offered a bit of everything - from the ridiculous to the sublime? Fulham will feel that they could have won the game, but didn't. Arsenal will feel they should have won the game, but didn't.

All in all, 90 minutes of enthralling Premier League football at the Emirates offered a perfect summary of what these two teams are all about right now.

Arsenal have acquired an unfortunate knack of shooting themselves in the foot, while much of the credit for Fulham's return to form in front of goal can be placed at the twinkling toes of Dimitar Berbatov.

On Saturday, the Gunners once again struggled with the basics of defending - picking up men at set-pieces and not diving into rash tackles inside the box, the sort of stuff you teach 10-year-olds.

Steve Bould took plenty of plaudits earlier in the season when Arsenal were looking solid at the back, so maybe he needs to go back to the drawing board and put his message across in a different way because whatever he is saying at the moment clearly isn't sinking in.

Having conceded three goals, you could argue that Fulham have defensive questions of their own to answer. It would, however, be wrong to focus on those frailties after seeing Berbatov put in another masterclass of attacking football. When in the mood, the mercurial Bulgarian would not look out of place at Camp Nou, never mind Craven Cottage.

He led Arsenal a merry dance for much of the afternoon in north London, netting twice and making Fulham's other, and Martin Jol must pinch himself every morning and wonder whether Manchester United really did allow a player of such undoubted ability to head south over the summer.

Everton 2 Sunderland 1

Tom Mallows

It felt like Groundhog Day for Everton at Goodison Park as they fell behind for the sixth Premier League game in succession. For a defence that usually prides itself on its solidity, boss David Moyes will be concerned his team's shaky backline.

However, you cannot fault their powers of recovery. Everton have not lost any of those six games and they somehow turned this match around when it looked for so long like a Sunderland victory.

The talisman once again was Marouane Fellaini. Like at Fulham last weekend the tall Belgian was imperious, capitalising on a rare moment of loose Black Cat's defending to drill the Toffees level. He then showed tremendous skill to flick the ball through to Nikica Jelavic for the winner a few minutes later.

Moyes has stressed his desire not to curb his team's attacking instincts, but if they are to maintain their push for a Champions League spot they will need to learn to keep clean sheets again.

Goodison Park is not a happy hunting ground for Sunderland, with no win since 1996. But this defeat will hurt more than most.

They didn't have much possession, but for a side seemingly struggling for goals they created three clear cut chances in the first half. Adam Johnson, dropped from the England squad his week, will take confidence from his well taken strike just before the break and the Black Cats looked well set for the victory from then on.

If they are guilty of anything it is sitting back too much in the second half. However, for much of the 45 minutes they comfortably held Everton at arm's length, with John O'Shea and Carlos Cuellar rock-solid at the back.

The hosts did not look like scoring until three mad minutes turned the game on its head, dealing a bitter blow to Martin O'Neill and his players. They won't feel like it now but the Black Cats can take a lot from this display and they will not stay near the bottom of the division for long if they keep playing like this.

Reading 0 Norwich 0

Steve Pass

Brian McDermott and Chris Hughton could take positives and negatives from the stalemate at the Madejski Stadium.

For McDermott, the Royals kept a clean sheet for the first time in this top-flight campaign to earn a valuable point in their bid to beat the drop.

But they were unable to make the most of the few chances they created and McDermott will be looking for improvements in their finishing as their search for that elusive first win continues.

Norwich boss Hughton saw his side continue their resurgence from their poor start to the season, making it four Premier League games in a row undefeated.

The eight points the Canaries have taken from this run has given Hughton's side a healthy five-point cushion over the relegation zone.

But while the visitors were well-organised and difficult to break down, like the Royals they were not clinical enough to take advantage of the few chances they created in front of goal and Hughton will be looking for better finishing in games to come.

Southampton 1 Swansea 1

Adam Bate

Southampton have had to play some of the best teams in the Premier League in their opening 10 matches so it has been a harsh introduction. But Swansea at home was supposed to be an opportunity to pick up three points.

And while Saints huffed and puffed they were undone by more basic errors from a dysfunctional defence that is still waiting for its first clean sheet of the campaign.

Things are not going smoothly at the other end of the pitch but at least there is trickery from Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez, while Rickie Lambert remains a useful weapon in winning knockdowns from angled passes.

But Nigel Adkins will be left wondering where the next win is coming from if Paulo Gazzaniga and Maya Yoshida are going to gift opponents the sort of chance they did against Swansea.

The Premier League requires players to learn quickly. And the fear is that Adkins himself is running out of time to convince his bosses that Southampton are on the right path.

Stoke City 1 QPR 0

Matt Briggs

All is not lost for QPR, who dominated for large spells at The Britannia. The visitors enjoyed almost 55 per cent possession but could not turn any of their tidy approach work into goals.

On a few occasions Adel Taarabt looked odds-on to score but his execution let him down as three more points slipped away for the R's. The trio of Djibril Cisse, Esteban Granero and Taarabt looked lively and if they can continue to develop their understanding they will surely create enough openings to see QPR safe.

Defensively they were not put under a great amount of pressure against a Stoke side who are in transition, but they switched off in allowing Charlie Adam to tuck home the winner at the far post and from there on in they couldn't beat a Stoke defence who have only conceded one home goal.

I'm pretty sure the Rs will be on the lookout for defensive reinforcements in January, but whether it will be Mark Hughes who is signing them remains to be seen.

Encouraging signs for Stoke though, who managed to pick up the points without playing well. Tony Pulis is trying to evolve the Potters by introducing a more fluent style and he will be delighted they managed to grab the points to get some momentum going.

Wigan 1 West Brom 2

Rob Parrish

Wigan enjoyed 65.9 per cent of the possession, played 553 passes to their opponents' 276, made 43 crosses against 19 and fired in 14 shots to nine.

Sadly for Roberto Martinez, the only statistic which really matters is the scoreline, with West Brom ending their away-day hoodoo to remain fifth in the Premier League and in contention for European football next season.

The problems facing Martinez and Wigan were summed up by this one fixture. They play football in the right way, passing to feet wherever possible and creating chances, but are let down by a lack of a cutting edge in front of goal and errors in their own defence.

Chris Brunt was afforded far too much time to measure a cross for James Morrison's opener, with the goalscorer not tracked by the home defence, while Ben Watson was nut-megged by Billy Jones ahead of Gary Caldwell turning the ball into his own net.

In attack, the triumvirate of Franco Di Santo, Arouna Kone and Shaun Maloney kept Jonas Olsson and co on their toes at times, but were out of synch - and luck - at others, typified by a second half chance for Di Santo which struck the head of Kone before looping over the bar.

Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 3

Graeme Bailey

It is a worrying sign for the rest of the Premier League when Manchester United can come out of this game with three points.

They were dead and buried at half time and Villa were the better team, despite rightly being 7/1 to win before kick-off.

But Villa are where they are for a reason, and United attacked their soft underbelly with vigour and mercilessly pushed on to take the three points.

The fact United could afford Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to mis-fire and still have another striker to claim the match-ball is a sign of how strong their squad is - similarly the fact Villa probably can't play any better and still lose is a pointer for the lack of strength in their squad.

Man City 2 Tottenham 1

Chris Burton

If the mark of champions really is picking up points when not at your best, then the silverware may as well be presented to Manchester City before the Christmas decorations go up.

Roberto Mancini's men have looked a long way short of title holders at times this season, and again at times on Sunday, but they boast the only unbeaten record in the top four divisions of English football.

The rest of the Premier League had better beware, with it frightening to think what could happen if City click.

Tottenham did their best to put a serious dent in the Blues' title defence at the Etihad Stadium, even edging themselves in front at one stage, but they will concede looking back on the tie that they did not offer enough in the final third to merit taking maximum points.

A share of the spoils may have been a fair reflection on a game which provided plenty of cut but not a lot of thrust.

Edin Dzeko was, however, once again the man of the moment for City, with the Bosnian striker stepping off the bench to snatch a late winner and enhance an unwanted reputation as something of a super sub.

The sight of Dzeko wheeling away in celebration will have helped to put a smile back on Mancini's face after a couple of tough weeks at home and abroad, as will the fact that David Silva returned to his starting XI against Spurs and produced one moment of magic which led to the match winner.

In the opposing dugout, it may be time for Andre Villas-Boas to ditch his lone frontman approach and accept that pairing Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe together may be a more profitable option.

Both men pose a considerable attacking threat in their own way, but they bring entirely different qualities to the table and it is not hard to imagine that they would prefer to play off one another rather than spend whatever time they are afforded running themselves into the ground in a vain effort to hang on to their starting berth.

Newcastle 0 West Ham 1

Adam Bate

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew refused to use the European trip in midweek as an excuse for a limp display at home to West Ham but the Magpies are struggling to get going this season.

Cheick Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini were missed on Sunday as they served their bans and when Jonas Gutierrez also went off injured any hope of finding some sort of rhythm seemed to evaporate.

Whether that is because of a more congested fixture list is debatable given the rotation but Allardyce was in no doubt that Europe was significant, openly admitting he'd told his players this presented an opportunity.

The West Ham boss is famous for targeting points and while Pardew bemoaned the stop-start nature of playing against the Hammers nobody can argue with how effective it is proving.

Thanks to Kevin Nolan's goal, the newly-promoted side are now sixth in the Premier League. They may not get the plaudits that Swansea did last year for their flowing football but Allardyce is delivering results.

Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1

Jack Woodfield

A few weeks ago, Chelsea's fierce start to the season saw some tout this year's Premier League title race to be a three-horse race. While this may still be the case, this was a particularly lacklustre performance from the Blues, in a weekend where both Manchester United and City had to dig deep to claim three points.

John Terry proved just vital he can be to Chelsea by netting the opener, albeit after some atrocious marking from Liverpool, and his injury saw Chelsea's presence limited to an extent. It's hard to imagine Luis Suarez scoring an equaliser, unmarked at close range, with Terry there marshalling the defence.

For Liverpool, this was probably as good a performance defensively as they have delivered all season. Jose Enrique was magnificent, and Jamie Carragher hadn't missed a beat as he returned to the first team with great success. This was a big point for the Reds, and Brendan Rodgers will be hopeful it can act as a springboard to their topsy-turvy season.

Chelsea will be hopeful Terry's injury is not severe, and while there were big performances from Juan Mata and Branislav Ivanovic today, there can surely be no doubt that if the Blues are to compete for the title this year, they need the presence of their enigmatic leader.

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