United took too long

Manchester United finally did the right thing yesterday and put a decent man out of his – and their supporters – misery. It is always a painful experience when a club legend fails as a manager in a way that ends up tainting their achievements as a player. Had United acted sooner in sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer their season might have been salvageable (and a club great might not have had to suffer so many indignities) but, as it is, 12 points already looks like an impossible task for whoever Solskjaer's successor turns out to be, especially with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in such formidable form. Worse still, from a business management perspective, the number of credible options available to them has shrunk, too.

New managers play their part

As if to prove the point, new appointees everywhere breathed life into clubs that seemed moribund. Dean Smith had a winning start at Norwich to lift them off the bottom for the first time this season, Steven Gerrard ended a five-game losing streak at Aston Villa while Eddie Howe's Newcastle showed fight and attacking verve as they fought back from behind twice to secure a draw against Brentford. There are no guarantees in sifting through managers like a divorcee sorts through potential partners on Tinder, of course, but sometimes it does actually work.

Arsenal fall apart again

A false dawn is a common zodiacal phenomenon that is normally observed in the eastern sky. And also in a certain corner of north London. Arsenal have been on the comeback trail every year since their last Premier League triumph in 2004. There have been periods of gloom, followed by winning streaks against minnows and strugglers that convince all and sundry that they are a renewed, prime-Wenger force that will sweep all before them. Then, along comes a team, and let's be honest it's usually Liverpool that puts them back in their box until the next winning streak against the bottom feeders comes around. Yes, Liverpool are a formidable side but many of Arsenal's old failings returned to the fore in their 4-0 hiding at Anfield at the weekend.

Hooperman strikes again

This column is never short of a barb to throw at Premier League referees. And, rightly so, at times. You may recall Simon Hooper's egregious performance at Elland Road early last month when the whistler adjudged that Liam Cooper had been fouled in the build up to a goal scored by Watford  when the Leeds man had body-slammed William Troost-Ekong to the ground. Well, Hooperman was at it again on Saturday, failing to penalise Crystal Palace's Joachim Andersen for one of the clearest professional fouls you'll see on Chris Wood for Burnley. Granted, he wasn't helped by his assistant or VAR but then he shouldn't have needed to be. It was that obvious.

Hungry like the Wolves

Bruno Lage is now the 12th longest serving manager in the Premier League at four months and 21 days but it says much about how he has turned Wolves around in that period that it looks as if he has been in charge for a lot longer. From the first game of the season, his side have played at high intensity and with real intent and are fully deserving of their lofty position just outside the Champions League places despite a difficult start under the Portuguese when the football was really good but the results weren't. Sometimes, if the manager is the right man for the job and all evidence says as much, you stick with him.