London : New manager Juande Ramos was given an early indication of the task he has taken on as he watched Tottenham Hotspur suffer yet another defeat in English Premier League football.
The Spaniard, who left Sevilla to replace Martin Jol at White Hart Lane, looked on from alongside Spurs chairman Daniel Levy as Christopher Samba’s late strike secured a 2-1 victory for Blackburn Rovers.
Despite taking the lead through Robbie Keane’s penalty, the home side were pegged back by Benni McCarthy before Samba’s curled winner left Spurs rooted in the bottom three after their sixth reverse in 11 games.
Although many Spurs fans have been angered by the nature of Jol’s departure and the actions of the club’s board in his downfall, Ramos will command the respect of supporters given his record at Sevilla.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Premiership’s other new manager, Gary Megson of Bolton Wanderers.
Bolton fans voted with their feet for Megson’s first game in charge, with the 18,413 attendance for Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa the lowest ever English Premier League crowd at the Reebok Stadium.
The point gained against Villa moved Megson’s side off the foot of the table, but Bolton fans appear to need convincing that the former West Brom, Nottingham Forest and Leicester manager is the man to build on Sam Allardyce’s success after Sammy Lee’s brief and ill-fated reign.
Megson would be well advised to seek out Avram Grant for advice, with the Chelsea coach similarly derided after he was ushered into the Chelsea hot-seat in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s shock departure.
And while it may not yet be a case of ‘Jose who?’ at Stamford Bridge, a few more results and performances in the mould of Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing of Manchester City will help consign the pragmatic Portuguese to the history books.
Sven Goran Eriksson insisted before the trip to Chelsea that the game would be a true indicator of where his currently third-placed side will end the season, and he will have been less than impressed by the way City’s defence capitulated to inflict the heaviest ever defeat of the Swede’s career.
Steve Bruce is another manager to find himself under the spotlight, but prospective new Birmingham owner Carson Yeung finally spoke out after flying in to witness Saturday’s 3-2 win over Wigan Athletic.
Away from the Premier League’s constantly turning managerial merry-go-round, Manchester United moved level on points with Arsenal at the top of the table with yet another four-goal burst against Middlesbrough.
Having made a habit of grinding out 1-0 victories earlier in the campaign, the champions have hit form with the Wayne Rooney-Carlos Tevez strike partnership blossoming beautifully.
Liverpool and Arsenal remain unbeaten, and the London outfit are still top of the pile with a game in hand after their 1-1 draw at Anfield, a result that ended their 12-game winning streak.
Steven Gerrard silenced his critics with a free-kick to put the home side in front, before Cesc Fabregas proved he is human after firing over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
But the Spaniard did grab an equaliser which Arsene Wenger’s men fully deserved, while Liverpool were left to rue injury concerns over Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano.
Harry Redknapp saw Portsmouth’s four-game Premiership winning streak halted by his former club West Ham United, who left Fratton Park with a point from a goalless draw thanks to Robert Green’s last-gasp penalty save.
Shane Long was Reading’s super-sub, scoring with only his second touch of the ball just moments after coming on in the 2-1 win over Newcastle United at the Madejski Stadium.
Newcastle continue to struggle on the road and fell behind to Dave Kitson’s superb opener before Michael Duberry’s comical own goal gave them a route back into the match, only for Long to quash any hopes of a comeback.
Fulham again proved they are incapable of holding onto a lead as they allowed 10-man Sunderland to snatch a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.
David Healy had already missed an open goal before Simon Davies’ free-kick caught out Craig Gordon. The dismissal of the hapless Greg Halford in the 67th minute added to Sunderland’s problems, but Kenwyne Jones headed home a late equaliser.
Had Lawrie Sanchez’s men claimed victories from the six English Premier League games in which they have taken the lead they would be third in the table.
Instead, three defeats and three draws has seen them drop 15 points from winning positions and left them with just one victory this season, when, ironically, they came from behind to beat Bolton.
Over at Pride Park, Derby continue to look out of their depth in the top flight and have slipped back to the bottom of the table after a 0-2 home defeat by Everton.
Mikel Arteta and Yakubu Aiyegbeni were the men to heap further pressure on manager Billy Davies, who is another to have spent too much time this season discussing his own future.