1) Liverpool show steel on top of silky skill

Leicester seriously pushed Liverpool on Saturday, but the fact that Jurgen Klopp’s side were able to grind out a result is testament to the steel they now possess. Broadly speaking, Liverpool haven’t played particularly well so far this season, and yet they find themselves eight points ahead of Manchester City at this early juncture in the Premier League year. It is perhaps cliche to say that the best teams still manage to win when they are playing badly, but it is Liverpool’s grit and grind on such occasions that is quickly propelling them away at the top of the table.

2) De Bruyne absence helps Wolves highlight City’s flaws

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Conversely, Manchester City played badly and lost against Wolves, twice ravaged in transition by Wolves’ speed on the counter-attack, with Raul Jimenez superbly setting up Adama Traore in quick succession. Aymeric Laporte’s injury has robbed City of their most secure and space aware defender, and you wonder if teams will begin to take the game to Manchester City more with Pep Guardiola hurting for defensive stock. More worryingly for Guardiola, perhaps, was how lacking in creativity City looked without Kevin De Bruyne, and Wolves defended superbly to pick up a fine victory.

3) Little light at the end of the tunnel for United

Newcastle United are not a very good football team, with problems myriad in all areas of the pitch plaguing a poor start to the season. And yet here they were, looking rather serene on their way to a 1-0 win over Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has major issues, namely at the top of the pitch, where Marcus Rashford looks increasingly ineffectual and Juan Mata is actively detrimental to his side’s forward movements. United have no creators, nobody capable of progressing the ball in midfield, and no centre forward capable of shouldering the attacking burden. For a side so infused with youth they look remarkably moribund, and it is hard to foresee anything other than further struggles.

4) Chelsea’s transfer ban was a blessing in disguise

Another good victory for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, who are playing with real vibrancy and confidence. Lampard was afforded time at the start of the season with neither clubs nor fans overreacting to a sloppy start, and thus was able to keep faith in his youth movement, and the injection of youthful energy into his side is beginning to bear fruit. Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori are all playing at a high level, and Callum Hudson-Odoi is back to add further potency to what now looks a complete side. One wonders if this precocious quartet would have been afforded such extended opportunities had Chelsea been able to recruit new players in the summer.

5) Arsenal win a game of two halves

It was far from Arsenal’s best win, but Unai Emery will be pleased his side managed to hang on for a  nervy 1-0 victory over Bournemouth. The Gunners were good in the first half, with the midfield of Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos looking semi-competent and rounded, but they let the game slip in the second half, and Bournemouth had their chances to level. Still, a gutsy win of this manner should build belief in the Arsenal squad, which should stand them in good stead going forward.

6) Pochettino needs to leave Spurs – but where would he go?

Brighton utterly dismantled Tottenham, the better side from the word go and deserved winners. But Spurs were again abject, and something needs to change at the club to jolt a drifting squad back into life. Where is that change going to come from, though? Tottenham cannot really afford to sack Mauricio Pochettino with few suitable replacements available, and potential suitors for the Argentine manager seem to have cooled their interest. Real Madrid now favour Jose Mourinho, Niko Kovac appears to be settling Bayern Munich back down, and Pochettino would be a fool to go to Manchester United at this point. Tottenham are in a tricky spot, and you sense that this poor patch may go on for a while longer yet.

7) Villa show their attacking might

Neutral spectators would have found themselves rather entertained at Carrow Road on Saturday, as Norwich and Aston Villa produced a combined 43 shots, split almost down the middle. That Aston Villa were able to score five with just 42% of possession is credit to their attacking might. Wesley scored a brace that will do the Brazilian centre forward a world of good leading the line, and with Anwar El Ghazi and Jack Grealish beginning to buzz about in and around the sizeable striker, Villa suddenly look a side capable of scoring plenty this season after a slow start to the season.  

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/premier-league-seven-things-we-learned-manchester-united-liverpool-spurs-arsenal-chelsea-manchester-a9145646.html