Five Things: Tottenham star bashing over the top, Man Utd defender makes England case, Man City in safe hands


It’s a Manchester lockout at the top of the Premier League as United and City continue to match each other’s results.

United ruthlessly dismantled Crystal Palace, while City recorded an important win at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

Sportslens takes a look at five talking points from the weekend:

Alli needs to mature, but criticism is OTT

Dele Alli received plenty of stick for his performance for Tottenham at Huddersfield on Saturday.

It’s fair to say the 21-year-old has had better weeks having been banned for one England game for his middle-finger gesture during the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.

Alli was off the pace against the Premier League new-boys and was deservedly booked for a woeful dove during the game.

The Spurs midfielder still has some growing up to do, but the continual criticism he gets does seem over the top.

Young for England?

England have plenty of options at full-back, but Ashley Young’s form for Manchester United is worthy of consideration with the World Cup on the horizon.

Young’s versatility has been a big bonus for Jose Mourinho and the fact that the United boss rates him as a better option than Luke Shaw speaks volumes about his performances.

The 32-year-old kept things simple at the back against Crystal Palace, but his cross for Marouane Fellaini’s first goal showed he can be a treat further forward.

A recall to the international ranks is probably unlikely, although with West Ham’s Aaron Creswell handed an unlikely call-up for the upcoming qualifiers maybe there is a chance Young can force his way into Gareth Southgate’s squad.

Contract extension for Crouch a no-brainer

Stoke boss Mark Hughes indicated he was willing to offer Peter Crouch a new contract after he bagged the winner against Southampton and it’s a deal that he should get done as soon as possible.

With Saido Berahino firing blanks at the moment, Crouch’s contributions off the bench are proving invaluable to Hughes this season.

The 36-year-old would probably score goals for fun if he dropped down to the Championship, but his professionalism is something Stoke can’t afford to lose from their dressing room.

Ederson has solved Guardiola’s keeper conundrum

Man City boss Pep Guardiola took a little time to sort out his team’s goalkeeping issues, but the signing of Ederson from Benfica is beginning to look like an excellent piece of business.

Ederson looks a class above the likes of Joe Hart and Claudio Bravo, giving City’s defence plenty of confidence to build from the back.

The 24-year-old has brushed off being clattered by Liverpool’s Sadio Mane a few weeks ago and his assured performance against Chelsea will have pleased Guardiola.

Souness right about Newcastle

Former Newcastle boss Graeme Souness tipped Rafa Benitez to keep his side in the Premier League and Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool showed why.

Joselu’s equalising goal was fortunate, but Newcastle’s defensive effort meant they were well worth a point against the Reds.

Benitez would do well to bring in another striker during the transfer window, but his organisational skills will keep the Magpies clear of the drop zone this term.

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