Monday 30 December 2013
One manager came in as another one left in October while Arsenal continued to lead the pack by maintaining their strong start to the campaign.
Sunderland, who began the month bottom of the table and without a head coach following the departure of Paolo Di Canio, appointed Gus Poyet following the club's 2-1 home defeat against Manchester United, a fixture which bore witness to the emergence of a new star at Manchester United as 18-year-old midfielder Adnan Januzaj marked his first Barclays Premier League start with a match-winning brace.
Poyet's reign began with disappointment as Sunderland fell to a heavy defeat away at Swansea City but the Uruguayan made an immediate impression at the Stadium of Light, guiding his team to a 2-1 Tyneside derby victory against Newcastle United in his first home match in charge, courtesy of a fine Fabio Borini winner.
That result lifted Sunderland off the bottom of the Barclays Premier League. They were replaced by newly promoted Crystal Palace, who ended the month with one win from nine League fixtures and without a manager after Ian Holloway walked away from the club following a 4-1 home defeat by rivals Fulham.
At the opposite end of the table, Arsenal stayed top after following up a draw at West Bromwich Albion with victories against Norwich City and Crystal Palace. However, Liverpool stayed on their heels by also claiming seven points in November, with their strike partners continuing their impressive partnership. Daniel Sturridge scored three in as many matches while Luis Suarez added four, including his first Anfield hat-trick in a 4-1 win against West Brom.
After a late goal from Fernando Torres helped Chelsea beat Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, the Blues picked up maximum points during the month to close in on Arsenal at the top of the table. Meanwhile there was frustration at Manchester United as David Moyes's side were held to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford by Southampton thanks to an 89th minute equaliser from Adam Lallana, and the reigning champions had to come from behind to beat Stoke City 3-2 on home soil later in the month.
Everton and Southampton both maintained their solid starts to the season by picking up six and seven points respectively in October, leaving both clubs in the top six at the end of the month.
Tottenham Hotspur remained in the top four but suffered a shock home defeat against London rivals West Ham United, who got back to winning ways at White Hart Lane through goals from Winston Reid, Ricardo Vaz Te and a superb solo effort from England Under-21 midfielder Ravel Morrison.
Off the field, a number of clubs rewarded players with new contracts. Januzaj, on the back of his display against Sunderland, signed a five-year deal with Manchester United while Serge Gnabry penned a new long-term contract at Arsenal and England defender Kyle Walker extended his stay at Spurs until 2019.
Manager of the Month: Mauricio Pochettino
Player of the Month: Sergio Aguero
"It's a big, big challenge. I thought that I would have an opportunity in the Premier League and now I've got it I need to make sure I prove that they picked the right man to get us from the situation that we are." - Gus Poyet after being appointed Sunderland head coach
"I have to hold my hand up and say we didn't keep the spirit that got us up. We changed too much too quickly. Someone new coming in now with a tad more experience at this level will have 30 games left. Seven defeats out of eight is not good enough." - Ian Holloway after parting company with Crystal Palace
"I remember giving Wayne [Rooney] his debut and Adnan Januzaj's certainly in that quality. He's going to be a great talent, a really special talent. He's got goals, he’s got ability on the ball, but we’ll keep his feet on the ground here and makes sure he gets on with it." - Manchester United manager David Moyes after Adnan Januzaj's brace against Sunderland