December 9, 2019 / 12:16 PM / 3 months ago

Premier League talking points

(Reuters) - The following are talking points from the Premier League weekend:

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - December 7, 2019 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne in action with Manchester United's Fred Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

FRED HELPING MAKE DIFFERENCE FOR UNITED

Until a few weeks ago, Manchester United's Brazilian midfielder Fred looked destined for featuring in lists such as the 'biggest transfer flops in Premier League history'.

Signed last year from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk for a reported fee of around 47 million pounds ($60.30 million), Fred had looked well short of the standard such a fee should provide.

But he has been utterly transformed in recent games, none more so than in the 2-1 derby win over Manchester City, where he buzzed around the field, breaking up opposition attacks and proving to be an effective link to the speedy United front line.

United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested he had been man of the match and credited his growth on a consistent spell in the team where he has formed a good understanding with another maturing midfielder - Scott McTominay.

“I thought he was excellent. It’s great to see it; the boy deserves it. But when you get a run and keep the team together... Scott and Fred have made a great partnership,” said the Norwegian.

FERGUSON REIGNITES EVERTON’S PASSION

The sight and sound of Goodison Park in full proud, celebration mode before, during and after Saturday's 3-1 victory over Chelsea raises the old issue of how far club owners should go in listening to the voices of their fans.

It has been many years since the sort of emotion on show was commonplace on the blue side of Merseyside and it all stemmed from having one of their own in charge. But not just any old ex-player, one who always gave his all for the cause, Duncan Ferguson – and how the fans and the players responded.

Everton made more tackles in the match than they had managed in any other league game in the past 11 years and the fans loved it, just as they did in the glory years of the 1980s under another beloved former player, Howard Kendall.

Ferguson’s exuberant touchline celebrations and ballboy hugging also helped to lift the gloom of the Marco Silva era.

Already the talk is of Everton following Manchester United’s example with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and keeping Ferguson in the job.

That may be a case of 'heart ruling head', given Ferguson's lack of management experience, but if Everton emerge victorious from their clash with Solskjaer's side at Old Trafford on Sunday, the temptation will be there.

‘SONALDO’ DESERVES ALL THE PLAUDITS

The brilliant solo goal by Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min in the 5-0 win over Burnley, promoted Spurs manager Jose Mourinho to dub the player, 'Sonaldo, Sonaldo Nazario', a reference to the former Brazil striker Ronaldo.

The weaving, high-speed dribble certainly did recall the ex-Barcelona and Inter Milan forward and raises the question as to whether the South Korean is not a little under-rated.

His technique, speed and constant threat to the goal certainly put him among the very best forwards in the game.

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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