Just 24 hours after collecting a third successive Premier League manager of the month award, the chances of Ange Postecoglou making it four in a row have effectively evaporated.
Suddenly, it feels as if the Tottenham boss’s luck may be deserting him as he had to witness a resolute performance from his hastily-assembled, makeshift side quite unravel in the space of six stoppage-time minutes on Saturday as Wolves came from a goal down to snatch a 2-1 win.
It was a second disheartening loss in the space of a week, meaning that November is already looking the first proper test of the Australian’s mettle after he had achieved the unique feat on Friday of being voted the league’s top manager in August, September and October.
That’s a consecutive hat-trick which only Antonio Conte, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in Premier League annals have ever matched – but Postecoglou’s feat is unique in that he’s the only boss ever to both claim the first three awards of a season and the very first three awards available to him.
Spurs had finished October on top of the table, as the only team to win all of their matches in the month with wins over Luton, Crystal Palace and Fulham – but there’s no chance of Postecoglou now matching Guardiola’s record of four managerial gongs in a row after a trying six-day spell.
First, there was the crazy 4-1 home loss to Chelsea on Monday that brought a host of suspensions and injuries which forced Postecoglou to scramble together a patchwork team for the visit to Wolves.
Then, after Brennan Johnson’s goal in just two minutes and 15 seconds had put Spurs ahead at Molineux, it looked as they would hold out for the points despite Wolves pressure until the late, late double-whammy with goals from Pablo Sarabia – a supreme touch-and-volley effort – and Mario Lemina.
“You learn every day, it’s just part of our growth as a team,” shrugged Postecoglou, talking to the BBC.
“I thought we could have been more positive in the first half. We had some good opportunities to create some good chances.
“Scoring early, we kind of played a little bit conservatively. The second half we had a couple of decent opportunities we could have taken.
“We’ve had an extraordinary series of events that we’ve had to deal with this week, and they handled it well today.
“It’s part of the pain of football when things happen in those circumstances, but we have to use the pain of that to grow.
“You’ve just got to take it. I can’t fault the players’ effort or their character and commitment. There were guys playing their first game of the year and you are changing three of the back four, so it’s fairly disruptive.
“There are plenty of positives to take.”
But as he had noted on Friday with a wry smile after collecting his latest manager of the month trophy: “We don’t get a lot of time to enjoy the moment, do we?”
Brennan Johnson’s early strike – his first Spurs goal – had given the visitors the lead and they looked on course for a smash-and-grab win at Molineux.
Tottenham rode their luck as Wolves constantly let them off the hook until Sarabia – with a quite dazzling 91st minute equaliser featuring instant control and a brilliant volley – and Lemina, in the 97th minute, sparked the sensational finish.
Spurs were heading two points clear at the top of the table but have now suffered successive defeats, in what has proved the toughest week yet for their Australian boss, who had to deal with suspensions and injuries to assemble a patchwork squad.
Ukrainian Oleksandr Zinchenko was Arsenal’s hero, scoring a fine goal as the 10-man Gunners secured a comfortable win, but had to respond to an early setback in the second half.
Leandro Trossard put Arsenal ahead in first-half stoppage time when he turned home Bukayo Saka’s header from close range, but crashed into the frame of the goal in the process.
Vincent Kompany’s struggling Burnley levelled after the break when Josh Brownhill’s deflected shot survived a VAR check, but a header from William Saliba three minutes later restored Arsenal’s lead and Zinchenko’s acrobatic finish from another corner sealed the points, despite a late red card for Fabio Vieira.
Manchester United rallied following their midweek Champions League defeat in Copenhagen with another battling victory after Victor Lindelof struck the only goal against Luton.
The pressure was on Erik ten Hag’s side and after pre-match fan protests against United owners the Glazer family, the visiting Hatters made life difficult for the Red Devils before Lindelof lashed home from close range after a cross by Marcus Rashford.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe endured a night to forget at old club Bournemouth after a brace from Dominic Solanke earned the hosts a priceless 2-0 win.
Cherries manager Andoni Iraola had to wait until his 10th Premier League match for a maiden victory in the division, but back-to-back home successes have now moved them out of the bottom three.
Solanke fired in the opener at Nick Pope’s near post after 59 minutes before making the result safe when he flicked home from a corner with 17 minutes left.
Everton continued their push up the table under Sean Dyche as they edged a thriller 3-2 at Crystal Palace thanks to Idrissa Gueye’s 86th-minute winner.