Seriously though, I've missed a couple of games, so dont know the whole story.
Liverpool I thought we were great, but naive. Thought in an attacking sense we looked very dangerous and were unlucky not to score more. Salah's goal was just individual brilliance - cant stop that. Hanley's OG was just bad luck. The Van Dijk goal was awful defensively, but we've consistently been awful at defending set pieces. Having Jamal mark Van Dijk is just a total mismatch - our defending needs to be smarter. The Origi goal was just too easy, Aarons caught badly out of position, on a plate. Huge defensive problems, but not uncorrectable with good defensive coaching, and being able to create lots of chances against the Champions of Europe away - very encouraging.
Newcastle I thought we did really well, but there was a huge chunk of Newcastle being **** in that game. I said at the time that is the worst team I've seen us play for about 2 years, they were that bad and was pleased we had the quality to put them to the sword effectively.
Chelsea I thought we were really good. Thought we went toe to toe with them and were unlucky not to come out of that game with a point. Games against the big boys are free hits and brushed this one off.
West Ham - the start of the decline, though it would be an error not to mention the cup exit here to Crawley. I didnt see that game, and wasnt too fussed, but I dont know whether this started something. West Ham I thought we were awful. Bullied all over the pitch, really lacklustre. I dont know if this was a response to West Hams physicality or Zimmermanns injury but something was very differnet about this game, I dont know if the cup game influenced anything, but this was the first time we looked poor, rather than naive. Didnt really create anything, couldnt defend and we were lucky to escape that one with the scoreline as flattering. Hoped it was an off day but was a cause for concern.
Man City - what a response. Totally different team. I dont buy this idea that Man City were poor - ok they had an off day, but we were well worth the 3 points. Pukki's goal from a Man City perspective was terrible, but you dont score that goal unless Buendia presses, has the composure to feed Pukki who has similar composure in putting it away. That was a forced error which was effectively dispatched. Tim Krul outstanding, as he has been all season. Was worried West Ham was the start of a slump, Man City the perfect response.
Burnley I didnt see this game so cannot comment. I have no idea if we were in the game or not. But was too concerned, Home games more important than away games.
Crystal Palace. Disappointing and meant we had lost 5 out of 7 despite the plaudits, which was worse than I felt our season deserved so far. Worried that although we werent out of the game right until the end when the second goal went in, we never really looked like getting back into it. This also represented the 3rd 2-0 loss against teams we really need to be picking some points up against if we are to have any hope of staying up. Its ok getting beaten by Liverpool and Chelsea, but your points have to come against the rest, and if we're not doing that, we're not staying up. Nevertheless, we were still 17th at this point, and this is where we need to be at the end of the season. We dont have to qualify for Europe. 17th is a successful season and if you finish 17th you lose lots of your games. So at this point, it's a tad concerning, but we're still doing what we need to do and the squad is ravaged by injury. Each returning player will feel like a new signing.
Then Villa. Home against a team below us before today I think. Villa have always been a bigger club than us and a team who invested heavily this year. But I still hoped that they wouldnt have gelled and we'd pull out a Man City performance, despite the injury/fitness woes.
I havent seen the game or the goals. But a read through this thread suggests it was very poor. We have responded before, and I hope we can again, but I fear the optimism has gone. This was a heavy defeat off the back of defeats against teams we should be looking to take points from. I really hope the boys have the mental strength to bounce back from this. At least they have a bit of time to regroup. Players like Krul Pukki and Zimmermann will be massively important figures in that dressing room to make sure the heads dont drop and they keep believing.
A decent performance against Bournemouth and we're back on track - it's just whether they're able to do that or not