Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action | Premier League


1

Howe needs to think hard enough

It’s been a while since Newcastle started a game against Liverpool as favourites, but that was their pre-match situation, a situation in which they attacked with their usual intensity. But with the visitors threatening an equaliser, Eddie Howe had a decision to make: close out the game or go for the winning goal? In the event, he did a little of both, like or made defensive changes, but never ordered his players to stop pressing. Darwin Nunes twice had four behind him and although his side needed a bit of good fortune and a couple of fantastic finishes to take the game away from them, with more pressing instructions, the hosts could have seen victory. Howe may have only got the job at Newcastle as better qualified candidates were busy, but he has done a great job. Given the nature of both football and his bosses, he needs to change his mindset to that of a big club manager – and fast – to survive. Daniel Harris

Match report: Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool


2

He spent the rice wisely

When Declan Rice was bought for £105m in cash, there were fears West Ham would blow the dough. Rio Ferdinand was sent to Leeds for £18m and the likes of Ricobert Song and Titi Camara returned in return, with bad memories lingering. As Roberto de Gerpi pointed out after Brighton’s defeat, selling good players does not guarantee that they will be replaced with more. He also highlighted the Hammers’ strong summer of business, losing Moisés Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and last season’s loanee Levi Colwill. With Rice cashing in, West Ham secured their influential opening goalscorer James Ward-Bross, while Edson Alvarez screened the defense and earned rave reviews from Emerson Palmieri. „He’s an animal, he works a lot and works hard … without the ball he’s incredible.” David Moyes, having managed to keep Lucas Paqueta for the time being, has a better squad to work with, and later admitted that such quality would require better football than Saturday’s practical – if well executed – coup. John Brewin

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Match report: Brighton 1-3 West Ham


3

Grealish needs to take more chances

Does it ever strike you as Jack Grealish’s often square or backward passes from wide left for Manchester City? And when he’s out there, he can come up with the goods, almost as if he’s surprised everyone, as he did for Erling Holland’s cross that allowed the Premier League champions to take the lead at Sheffield United. But often he seems to threaten to take his full back only to play it safe; Being primarily right-footed, it slows down the play. Perhaps that’s why he can wreak havoc late in games when he needs to take more risks. Peter Lansley

Match Report: Sheffield United 1-2 Manchester City

Jack Grealish takes on George Baldock at Bramall Lane. Photo: Rui Vieira/AP

4

Need a Ten Hog ​​Avoni?

Taiwo Awoniyi Nottingham Forest have a central striker Manchester United could use. The Nigeria international is quick, direct and knows how to score in the Premier League: his first goal at Old Trafford was his seventh in seven games. He reached his peak at the age of 26, while United opted to pay £72 million for 20-year-old Dane Rasmus Hojlund, who was unproven in the division. Could the young Denmark international have wanted to share the goalscoring load with Avoni? The latter would have cost in the region of £35m, money that would have been gained by not buying Mason Mount, who is not much needed as a wide attacker or number 8 by manager Erik den Haag. Conversely, Hojlund is yet to make his debut for United due to a back injury and the club’s chaotic transfer policy continues. Jamie Jackson

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Match report: Manchester United 3-2 Nottingham Forest


There has been forensic analysis of Moises Caicedo’s record-breaking £115m move to Chelsea in recent weeks. But not long before Brighton cashed in on Keisedo and profited handsomely from the sales of Mark Gugurella and Alexis MacAllister, they let another central midfielder, who was the lungs of their much-envied operation, leave. Yves Bissouma was Antonio Conte’s first signing at Spurs last summer but has made three forgettable league starts since Christmas. James Maddison grabbed the headlines in the win at Bournemouth, but Pizoma, who has started all three games under Ange Postecoglou this campaign, was once again outstanding. Bournemouth manager, Anthony Irola, picked up on the Mali international’s renewed form ahead of the game and his energy was evident throughout. The all-action midfielder, who Tottenham paid an initial £25m for, was among those rejuvenated by a summer reset at Spurs. Ben Fisher

Match report: Bournemouth 0-2 Tottenham


Sasa Kalajcic is still working his way back to full fitness after suffering a cruciate ligament injury on his Wolves debut last September, so the striker may not be a permanent fixture as their manager Gary O’Neill suggested at Goodison Park. Still. In scoring his first goal for the club at Everton, and giving Wolves their first points of the season, the Austria international provided O’Neill’s side with a much-needed focal point following the summer move of Raul Jimenez. Absent before his late introduction. The quality of deliveries from Pedro Neto and Hugo Bueno is tailored to Kalajdzic’s height. The 6ft 7 striker deserves a change of fortune after his first season in the Premier League was blighted by injury. „It’s fitting that Sasa gets a big moment after going through a tough spell and fighting back,” O’Neill said. „But it’s all about the team and it’s nice to get the win to let them know we’re on the right track.” Andy Hunter

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Match report: Everton 0-1 Wolves

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Sasa Kalajjic celebrates his late winner at Goodison Park.
Sasa Kalajjic celebrates his late winner at Goodison Park. Photo: Jack Thomas/Wolves/Getty Images

7

Fernandez started shooting

All eyes were on Chelsea’s British record signing Caicedo in their £115m signing on Friday night. Yet Raheem Sterling stole the spotlight, while Nicholas Jackson opened his Chelsea account. So, Enzo Fernandez mostly passed under the radar. It won’t last. Last season Fernandez saw a profitable deployment as part of a separate „six” or double centre, one station above the pitch befitting a World Cup winner. Fortunately, the arrival of Caecido and Romeo Lavia will give it to Fernandez once he’s up to speed. Twice, Fernandez grazed the woodwork in an efficient disposal of Luton. But it was his touch and volley pass for Sterling to race down the right for Chelsea’s third that truly showed his class. Perfectly weighted; Subtly placed. Sam Dalling

Match report: Chelsea 3-0 Luton


He makes all the right runs – not necessarily in the right order. Eric Morecambe had a bit of a rant about Michael Arteta’s defense over Kai Havers’ lackluster performance against Fulham, floating the idea that Haywards was always in the right place and never received the right pass. But Arteta must defend his player in public. Whatever the content of his Arsenal career to date, Howards has looked confused and meek, not commanding the inside left channel, clearing his throat and hoping it gets him noticed, and getting him to work has to be a priority, because Howards has plenty. To deliver, a player of rare talent who is still remembered in the Bundesliga as a brilliantly skilled ball-carrier. There’s a self-induced Larry lack about Arsenal right now. It may or may not resolve itself in the hoof. But making the most of Howard’s talent should be a key sign of success for the program this season. All he needs is time, patience and, for the first time in a long time, some consistent practice. Barney Roane

Match report: Arsenal 2-2 Fulham

Guy Howards, Arsenal v Fulham
Kai Havertz (centre), has made an indifferent start to his Arsenal career. Photographer: Frank Ochstein/AP

9

Shade is another clever signature

Most Premier League teams have one formation, whereas Brentford can play 5-3-2, 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 depending on the opposition. This testifies to the coaching of Thomas Frank, whose ability to simplify the game means his players know exactly what is expected of them, but what underpins any tactical work is passion, attitude, unity and effort – crucial when deciding on new signings. Saturday’s game means he and his team have done it again. Handed his first start of the campaign, Kevin Shade seized the opportunity by scoring a beautifully inspired goal that suggested there was more to come. Meanwhile, while Mark Flecken is – perhaps – partly to blame for Palace’s lack of balance, he has been otherwise solid. Frank’s men are poised for another great season. Daniel Harris

Match report: Brentford 1-1 Crystal Palace


10

Diaby adds a new dimension

There are some early contenders for off-season signings and Aston Villa’s Moussa Diaby has put his name in the conversation. The £51.9m arrival from Bayer Leverkusen added another dimension to Villa’s attack and he was sensational as Unai Emery’s side lifted Burnley on Sunday. The 24-year-old scored one goal and had a hand in Villa’s other two as their impressive start to the season continued. Too often last season, Villa seemed to rely on Ollie Watkins’ goals. Now, Emery has a real partner in attack in Watkins and another focal point to shape his side around. This season, he and Watkins have all the hallmarks of a front pairing that could reap serious rewards for Villa in the league and Europe. Aaron Bower

Match report: Burnley 1-3 Aston Villa

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