The Premier League has entered a new decade following a memorable slate of games on New Year's Day. We get you caught up on the action.
JUMP TO: Does Mourinho have anything left? | What was Emery doing? | How big a problem is De Gea? | Time for Bournemouth to do the unthinkable? | The redemption of Jahanbakhsh | "No B.S." working at Watford | The system works again for Leicester | VAR has already changed the game | Luckiest moment
Does Jose Mourinho have anything left, other than the odd good line?
It was a good line, delivered with the panache that you still expect from Jose Mourinho, a man who has looked more comfortable on TV than he has in the dugout in the past year. "The yellow card was fair," he said when asked about the booking issued to him by referee and fellow spotlight enthusiast Mike Dean. "I was rude. But I was rude to an idiot."
The problem is that good lines are becoming the only thing that's left of the old Jose Mourinho. A case in point is Tottenham's defence: He has been in charge of Spurs for 11 games now, and they've already conceded more goals in those games than Chelsea did in their entire first season under him. They've only kept one clean sheet, which was against Burnley.
Tottenham were desperate against Southampton, losing 1-0 and it was difficult to identify any of their players that had a good game. It was a third winless game in the last four, and injuries to Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane, arguably their two most important players, put a tin hat on things. The good lines used to distract from abject performances, but not these days.
We were told that Mourinho had changed in his 11 months away from football. That he had rethought how to approach the game. That he was a kinder, gentler, more thoughtful Mourinho. Look at the way he was nice to that Tottenham ballboy!
But of course, he hasn't changed. Or at least not for the better: all of the unpleasant aspects of Mourinho are still there, but the stuff that made you put up with the unpleasantness is diminishing, possibly disappeared for good. Will it ever return? If so, Spurs could do with it returning pretty quickly.
What was Unai Emery doing for all that time?
It was tricky to figure out whom Arsenal's 2-0 win over Manchester United reflected worse on: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Unai Emery.
This was a performance as terrific and dynamic from Arsenal as it was clumsy and ponderous by United, Mikel Arteta sending his team out to press and dominate from the off, ignoring the quandary over which of his four senior attackers he should pick by selecting all of Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil.
The four were superb, which left a sense of what-might-have-been that was only backed up by the postmatch interviews given by David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Both defenders repeated that the Arsenal players "are not ready" to compete at the pace and intensity Arteta requires for 90 minutes, which does lead you to wonder what Emery had been doing with these players before this.
If you were to read their words without context, and without knowing when they were said, you'd probably guess that it was at the tail end of preseason, when fitness levels weren't what they could be and work still needed to be done. Note that they didn't say the players were tired, which, halfway through a season when Arsenal have already played 31 games, including four in the past 10 days, would be excusable. They very specifically said "not ready." Perhaps they were speaking figuratively, that they viewed the Arteta era as a new beginning in which everyone had to start from scratch, but it still didn't look good for Emery, to say the least.
Of course, Arsenal have been burned by hope before, so they would be advised not to get too excited and assume Arteta will save them. But this could have been the most promising game Arsenal have played in some time, certainly since Arsene Wenger left. That promise might not go anywhere, but hope isn't always a bad thing.
How big of a problem is De Gea?
It's been clear for a while that he isn't the goalkeeper he was, but how long before David De Gea slips into liability territory for Manchester United? It might be harsh to blame him for either of Arsenal's goals, and there are areas of the United team that require more urgent attention, but it's still troubling that they are no longer able to rely on their keeper.
Aside from the goals, he was lucky not to give away another with a careless kick out and these days he gives the air of an overly passive keeper, rather than the proactive one who was probably the best in the world for a little while. Solskjaer has plenty of problems, and his goalkeeper is increasingly becoming one of them.
Is it time to think the unthinkable at Bournemouth?
There will be a statue of Eddie Howe at Bournemouth one day. If and when their stadium is rebuilt, something will be named after him. He would have been a hero for his time there as a player, never mind being the manager behind the greatest period in the club's history.
But it's surely time to at least start thinking the unthinkable. Is Howe the man to dig Bournemouth out of the mess they're currently in? And it is quite a mess: They're in the bottom three after another defeat, this one arguably the most calamitous, against a West Ham side riding the new-manager wave but having lost nine of their previous 12 games. The 4-0 victory was West Ham's biggest league win since April 2012, when they were in the Championship -- the last time they won a Premier League game by four or more goals was when they beat the historically abysmal Derby team 5-0 in 2007-08.
Bournemouth might not be Derby-bad yet, but they're sinking, and we must at least entertain the possibility that while there are many factors governing their results, Howe might have come to the end of the road at the club he has essentially built.
The redemption of Jahanbakhsh
The only place Alireza Jahanbakhsh's name was being mentioned regularly a week ago was in the transfer gossip columns. After a goalless 18 months since his club-record move from AZ Alkmaar in 2018, the Iran forward looked likely to leave on loan this month, but perhaps there will be a rethink now he has scored twice in a week.
He didn't burst into tears after his superb overhead kick in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea, as he did when breaking his duck against Bournemouth, but he did sink to his knees, perhaps contemplating the brilliance of his strike, perhaps thinking that these last few days could represent a turning point in his Brighton career.
Afterward manager Graham Potter spoke thoughtfully about how he is managing Jahanbakhsh, about maintaining his confidence after such a poor first season and a half, and by the looks of things, it's working.
"No B.S." working at Watford
In five games, Nigel Pearson's Watford have gained as many points as they did in the previous 21 under Javi Gracia and Quique Sanchez Flores. This is back-to-basics management, nothing especially complicated, but who cares as long as it's working? And boy oh boy, is it working.
Troy Deeney attributed the turnaround to a "no B.S. culture" by Pearson, which isn't the sort of thing that works everywhere, but after a couple of managers whose methods seemingly featured plenty of B.S., it's working brilliantly here.
The system works again for Leicester
A reasonable sign that the system is working perfectly and is the main thing behind a team's success is that it hardly matters who is actually in the team. Brendan Rodgers made 19 changes to his Leicester team in the last two games and was without Jamie Vardy in both of them but came away with two away wins. They won't win the league title because Liverpool are too good, but another Champions League jaunt is looking increasingly certain.
VAR has already changed the game
After Aston Villa's first "goal" was disallowed for what is surely the closest VAR-spotted offside yet, Dean Smith's side scored two more legitimate goals. Neither was celebrated properly, because players and fans were waiting to discover some other small infraction that they had no idea was there. A similar thing happened after Cesar Azpilicueta's goal for Chelsea.
It might feel relatively minor in the wider scheme of things, but the experience of watching football, particularly in the stadium, has been unanswerably altered by VAR. If you accept that's the trade-off for flawless decision-making (which doesn't exist, but let's just humour the idea for the moment), then fair enough. But for plenty it simply isn't a price worth paying.
It was a good win for Manchester City, but this was another game that reinforced the importance of Ederson to them, if that importance wasn't pretty clear anyway. You would instinctively ask "what was Claudio Bravo thinking?" when he did a Cruyff turn in his own box then promptly gave the ball away, donating a goal to Everton, but we all already know: That's what he always does, and he was just fortunate that moment of calamity didn't cost his team a result.