Premier League winners and losers: Moyes, Postecoglou exposed but Saka, Gordon and Chelsea impress

Matt Stead
Newcastle forward Anthony Gordon, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, Spurs coach Ange Postecoglou and Arsenal player Bukayo Saka
Good for Gordon and Saka; not so much for Ange, mate

David Moyes has lost the dressing room; Ange Postecoglou wants to. But Bukayo Saka, Anthony Gordon, Elijah Adebayo, Harvey Elliott and Chelsea all impressed.


Premier League winners

Manchester City
Very probably about to win a second consecutive title having been top of the Premier League for about 40 days or something stupid in that time. Not everyone’s favourite deposit of Barclays but they are the absolute masters at pacing these races.

👉 Watching Man City is like watching maths and that’s just soulless and boring
👉 The ridiculous stats of Erling Haaland: More Premier League goals than starts and silly hat-trick numbers


Bukayo Saka
Declan Rice was once again the difference for Arsenal
– of course he was striding through midfield and into the area in the 97th minute of a game they were leading 2-0 on his 58th appearance for club or country since June – while Kai Havertz and Takehiro Tomiyasu were both excellent against Bournemouth.

But Saka deserves credit for quietly going about such impressive business. The only players younger than him with 13 league goals or more across Europe’s top five divisions this season are Jude Bellingham and Cole Palmer. This, his first campaign as a Champions League player, also represents his first scoring 20 goals or more. And sure, six of those have been penalties, but when his miss in the Euros final is still used as ammunition against him by some, his consistency from the spot is to be commended.

One Arsenal teammate has “never seen a player like this” and it is taken massively for granted.


Elijah Adebayo
A disappointing result for Luton, not only in the sub-optimal nature of the Everton draw but because it helped underline the impact Adebayo’s two-month injury lay-off might have had on their season.

The striker is suited perfectly to the Premier League and that goal proved it. Ashley Young was making his 650th club appearance – one of which is literally synonymous with the belief a bird defecated directly into his mouth – and has never been quite so humbled as in that equalising moment.

Luton lost eight, drew two and won just one of the 11 games Adebayo missed between mid-February to late April, before he returned with a short cameo in a 2-1 defeat to Wolves. Only two players of those with more than a couple of starts have a better rate of non-penalty goals per 90 minutes than the Hatters forward this season (0.72), and neither are in particular danger of relegation: Erling Haaland (0.75) and Diogo Jota (0.79).

Few are as effective at that side of the game. This is unlikely to be his final top-flight dance, whether with Luton or otherwise.


In their entire Premier League history, Chelsea have won 31 games by five goals or more. And only that ridiculous 2009/10 season (six times) beats this (two times) for most victories by such a margin in a single campaign.

There remain significant doubts but a rough framework is clear to see under Mauricio Pochettino, whose discovery of an effective system might yet be undermined by those summer transfer plans. Trevoh Chalobah is their best defender outside of players who turn 40 later this year and Conor Gallagher is a predictably valuable cog in this machine, yet both might be cast aside in the pursuit of pure profit.

Until then, the sight of those developing relationships in Chelsea’s attack will do. With three games remaining they have scored 70 goals. Their third-best Premier League return ever, outside of that stupid Ancelotti season (103 goals) and the champions of 2016/17 (85 goals), was the 76 goals plundered under Thomas Tuchel in 2021/22. That the target is to get back to the pre-Boehly era is pretty funny.


Anthony Gordon
One of only three Premier League players to reach double figures for both goals and assists this season. Gordon is on the precipice of something unimaginably beautiful: ten goals, ten assists and nine yellow cards means the holy grail is on with three matches remaining.

He has long since proven to be a spectacular signing when precious few saw the Eddie Howe vision. Not many players feel quite as perfectly suited to their manager and team as Gordon does with Newcastle.

Only Andy Johnson (eight in 2004/05) and Jamie Vardy (seven in 2015/16) have ever won more penalties in a single Premier League season than Gordon, who has won more than 13 different teams this season. He has almost definitely set up a support group on WhatsApp for Mark Flekken, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Vladimir Coufal, Kalvin Phillips and Mason Holgate, with Josh Brownhill added in due course.


Harvey Elliott
The second most frequent substitute in the entire Premier League this season has not always proved his obvious worth as a starter. Elliott’s most telling contributions, against Luton, Crystal Palace and Burnley, all came from the bench. But that was necessary proof of his suitability in Liverpool’s midfield future.

The stunning goal and delightful cross were tangible examples of his technical brilliance, but his energy in the press and youthful leadership are prized traits the next Liverpool manager should make sure to harness properly.

READ MORE: 16 Conclusions on Salah, Ange, Elliott and the brilliant fun of Liverpool 4 Tottenham 2


Ryan Yates
The last one standing of Nottingham Forest’s 2021/22 Championship first-team squad scoring the goal to put them on the brink of Premier League safety in 2023/24 is quite the story, even before taking into account the role Yates has played for much of this campaign.

The lightning rod for some intense supporter criticism, Yates has not been a universally popular stand-in captain but his commitment to the cause has been as true as that connection for the goal against Sheffield United.

With that, the midfielder has scored in the top five divisions of English football. The 26-year-old should not be starting half a surviving team’s Premier League games and Forest must rectify that in the summer. But there is an undoubted place for him in this squad.


Roberto De Zerbi
Back level for Premier League wins this season with Sean Dyche, thanks to same actually necessary tweaks in team selection and the simmering excellence of yet another Chelsea target.


Premier League losers

David Moyes
Again, this is for the best. West Ham avoiding stumbling into another summer with a disjointed transfer philosophy before inevitably trying to correct course halfway through next season would have been regrettable, and almost definitely a waste of the talent in this squad which will not stick around forever.

Jarrod Bowen, Mohammed Kudus and Lucas Paqueta need to see ambition and forward motion at West Ham. This is anything but.

The only thing remaining now is for West Ham to clarify the situation. Inform the supporters Moyes’ contract will not be renewed. Afford him the dignity of a publicly acknowledged send-off where his past achievements can be celebrated, rather than letting the uncertainty over the future cloud them. Release the pressure and clear the fog which has consumed the club. Let the end of this season be about honouring a wonderful era in the club’s history, without suggesting it might be extended far beyond an expiration date which seemed clear months ago.

The current approach is not working. Nor are Moyes’ methods. From the point of his second appointment in December 2019 to March 2023, West Ham conceded four goals or more in two of 156 games in all competitions. Since March 2023, it is ten times in 73 games, and seven times this season alone.

The laughable Declan Rice excuse offered after the Chelsea surrender only underlined how a marriage which once suited both parties has fizzled out towards a summer separation. Their former captain was present when this negative spiral started and Edson Alvarez – one of West Ham’s better players this season – might not be too thrilled to catch strays fired by the individual most responsible.


Ange Postecoglou
It is great just how quickly Postecoglou has gone from the anti-Conte ‘signings are not the solution’ to “I’ve got to change this squad, I have to. I’ve got to build a squad I think can play our football” in such little time. But he is right: it remains an ongoing process to sift through this team and offload those not fit for purpose.

And that takes time. The question then is whether those in charge can be trusted to replace them adequately and a retrospective look at last summer is hardly convincing: Guglielmo Vicario has promise but is flawed; James Maddison is out of favour and form; Brennan Johnson’s flickers of excellence come between periods of ineffectiveness; and Radu Dragusin’s agent is shockingly enough turning out to be a bit of an issue.

Micky van de Ven at least remains a wonderful addition outside of games against Newcastle, but that list does not engender huge amounts of hope. Postecoglou should be given time but that is no guarantee he can make it work.


“Next season Turf Moor has to be hell for every team that comes and plays there,” remains one of the funniest quotes of the campaign from Vincent Kompany.

Burnley have scored the fewest home goals in the Premier League – 18 in 18 games, five of which came in one match – and are the only team who have a higher proportion of away points. If the table remains in its current state by the end of the season, they will have zero points against the top half at Turf Moor, where they have been beaten 5-0, 5-2, 4-1 (twice) and 3-0.

It has not been particularly hellish to visit for anyone but Sheffield United is the message here.


Abdoulaye Doucoure
Since he scored six goals in the first half of the season before suffering separate hamstring injuries in either leg in December and January, Doucoure has returned a different player. And not for the better.

A run of 12 games without a goal and only one assist – a slightly awkward lay-off for Dwight McNeil to score from 25 yards against Nottingham Forest – has at least been masked by a general upturn in Everton’s overall form. But that infamous ‘10% talent’ is not being matched by the promised ‘90% mental’ currently.

Sean Dyche taking him off in the 54th minute said enough; Doucoure had done nothing to that point and indeed hasn’t for months. There are far more obvious examples of Everton’s recent financial malpractice but making him their highest-paid player with a new contract in November based on less than a year of decent performances and relatively consistent goalscoring, only for his form to immediately drop off, is alarming proof that those behaviours are not yet a thing of the past.


Ezri Konsa
Aston Villa are essentially knackered, such are the consequences of leaning so heavily on the same core of players for the entire duration of a 10-month season. With Champions League qualification likely and a European final still possible – albeit needing quite the improvement to attain – there can be no regrets at how Unai Emery has managed this season.

Konsa has played the most minutes of any of those Villa players and it is starting to show. Perhaps their best defender this season, he has not looked it consistently for some time.


Only twice in his Fulham career has Willian failed to produce a shot-creating action in a Premier League game when starting: away at Brentford on Saturday, and away at Brentford on March 6 last year.

It might not be particularly necessary to extrapolate his obvious aversion to the Gtech Community Stadium any further than noting that statistical anomaly. But also, when a 35-year-old whose contract expires in a matter of weeks, and who has publicly described himself as “open to hearing about other opportunities” while acknowledging Fulham have “signalled their interest in me renewing”, is starting to show signs of understandable deterioration, it might be a good time for the team to reduce their reliance on him.


Ivan Toney
In his last ten Premier League games, Toney has more yellow cards (two) than combined goals (zero) or assists (one). Brentford have scored ten times in their last six matches, all of which came in the 261 minutes he did not play rather than the goalless 279 he did.

Brentford have a supposedly £100m-rated forward they look better without. The thriving partnership between Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo, with Kevin Schade and Keane Lewis-Potter in support, has been sacrificed and Toney has done nothing recently to justify either that or his valuation.

3PM BLACKOUTManchester United and Chelsea embarrassed by Newcastle; Toney fails again


Sheffield United
There might be slightly bigger issues to address for the first side to concede 100 goals in a 20-team Premier League season, but Sheffield United are laughably wasteful in attack.

Only Brentford (-6.0) and Everton (-13.1) have underperformed their xG by a bigger margin than the Blades (-5.7), and both create about enough opportunities to afford to. Sheffield United’s defence is so catastrophic that extra pressure is placed on moments like Ben Brereton Diaz shooting when he could have squared for a tap-in, or Cameron Archer missing a one-on-one and then barely testing Matz Sels from ten yards.

Those opportunities came at either 1-1 or 2-1. Sheffield United have not won any of the 11 games in which they have had more than ten shots and that is a problem. But no, probably not their biggest.


Gary O’Neil
The first time one of his teams have conceded five goals in a game, which is actually quite impressive considering his first Premier League job was a direct consequence of a 9-0 defeat.