Saturday's Premier League action featured arguably the game of the season thus far (Liverpool and Everton's captivating 3-3 draw), the league leaders extending their league and a bit of jostling atop the league table.
It's good to have it back, isn't it?
So which teams were the biggest winners and which the biggest losers on Saturday? Which teams are feeling great about where they stand, and which are lamenting opportunities left wanting?
Let's find out.
|Premier League Table|
Big Winner: Arsenal
Not only did the Gunners extend their lead atop the table over Southampton—which came into this fixture in third place—with a 2-0 win, but Liverpool's draw against Everton ensured that the Gunners extended their lead over the rest of the table to four points.
It was an altogether good day for Arsenal, as Theo Walcott also made his return to the side. He should offer a bit of pace on the wing or a deputy to Olivier Giroud, who has been a very busy man early in the season for Arsenal.
The Gunners have survived essentially from turning last season's 4-2-3-1 into a free-flowing, interchanging 4-5-1 with wingers who generally play centrally (with the exception of Santi Cazorla, who has been utilized as a winger in the past). While it has worked, the pace of Walcott gives opposing defenses one more threat to account for.
Big Winner: Chelsea
The Blues were able to slide even on points with Liverpool after beating West Ham 3-0. While Liverpool still hold the advantage in goal differential, Chelsea caught up in that department too.
With a fairly soft schedule until the Blues face Arsenal on December 23 (with next week's matchup against Southampton the exception), Chelsea could find themselves overtaking the Premier League lead right before Christmas, as Arsenal face Everton and Manchester City before then.
Big Loser: Hull City
It's hard to imagine how Hull—which have generally had a strong start to this season—not only lost to hapless Crystal Palace, but did so at home and without scoring a single goal. Palace have given up 21 goals on the season, tied for 17th in the Premier League, and Hull couldn't score one in front of their supporters?
A very, very disappointing performance.
Big Loser: Southampton
It's not that Southampton lost—there's no shame dropping points to Arsenal at Emirates Stadium—it's how they lost that is so disappointing. Artur Boruc completely fudged a back pass and basically handed Olivier Giroud a goal on a silver platter. Jose Fonte was penalized for holding Per Mertesacker in the box, setting up Arsenal's second tally.
Yes, the Gunners were the better team and deserved to win. But Southampton have to feel as if they didn't put their best foot forward. Worse, they face Chelsea next week, followed by Aston Villa, Manchester City, Newcastle and Tottenham—a brutal stretch.
This may be the last time we see Southampton near the top of the table this season.