Ten things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Goal-shy Arsenal giving Mikel Arteta a real cause for concern, Harry Kane is well on his way to catching Alan Shearer’s all-time record, and Hakim Ziyech is finally up to speed in the top-flight… 10 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

  • Arsenal have recorded their joint-lowest goals scored tally after eight matches
  • Manchester United are not fazed by going a goal behind when playing away
  • Tottenham talisman Harry Kane scored his 150th Premier League goal on Sunday

The Premier League is now on a two-week hiatus due to the international break, but that didn’t stop plenty of talking points from happening in the top-flight at the weekend.

Arsenal’s high of beating Manchester United last week is now back to a low after losing to Aston Villa, while things are looking rosier at bitter rivals Tottenham. Meanwhile, VAR courted controversy once again during Leeds’ 4-1 defeat at Crystal Palace.

Here’s 10 things we learned from the Premier League weekend just passed. 

Goal-shy Gunners giving Arteta cause for concern

What a difference a week makes for those connected with Arsenal. Last week the Gunners produced a convincing display to win 1-0 at rivals Manchester United, but seven days later they were outclassed in a 3-0 home defeat by Aston Villa.

Goals have been a problem for Mikel Arteta’s side so far this season in the league. They’ve scored just nine times and only Wolves, Fulham, West Brom, Burnley and Sheffield United have fewer – the latter four currently sitting 17th-20th in the table.

It’s their joint-lowest tally after eight games since 1998-99 (that year they finished second). Arteta will also be concerned that they have not scored a Premier League goal from open play since October 4 (in a 2-1 win over Sheffield United).

Oh and to compound matters, Sunday’s defeat was the first time Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has played 90 minutes in a Premier League home game without attempting a shot. Indeed, Aubameyang was one of only three outfield players who didn’t record an attempt for Arsenal in this game.

If 11th-placed Arsenal are to propel themselves up the table, something needs to change. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to register a single shot during their defeat by Aston Villa

Liverpool no longer leading by example

It’s sometimes harder to defend a title rather than win it – and is that being applied here at Liverpool?

It’s ridiculously early days but the Reds are not swatting aside their top-flight opponents like they did last season.

The coronavirus pandemic and injuries to key personnel – such as to Virgil van Dijk – have played a part in this but since a run of 35 consecutive Premier League wins when opening the scoring between February and July, Liverpool have failed to win four of their last seven games when scoring the opening goal (drawing three and losing once). 

This came into effect once more on Sunday as Jurgen Klopp’s side were breath-taking in the first 25 minutes or so of their 1-1 Premier League encounter at Manchester City and took the lead through a Mohamed Salah penalty. However, they were pegged back soon after by a Gabriel Jesus finish and were fortunate not to be behind at half-time when Kevin De Bruyne uncharacteristically missed a penalty.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have failed to win four of the last seven games in which they’ve gone ahead

Ole’s men finding resolve on the road

Manchester United are bizarrely yet to win at home in the Premier League, but away from Old Trafford they boast a flawless record.

On Saturday this was maintained with a 3-1 win at Everton – in a match that was of particular importance to under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Things were looking shaky for the visitors when they fell behind to a Bernard goal, but a Bruno Fernandes double and Edinson Cavani maiden goal saw United come from behind to win.

The victory shows United do have the mental fortitude and toughness when facing adversity. It’s the third-straight away game in the Premier League that they’ve come from behind to win (won 3-2 at Brighton and 4-1 at Newcastle).

Now somehow they need to replicate this form on home turf – starting with when West Brom come to visit straight after the international break.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw his Manchester United side come from behind at Goodison Park

Common sense must prevail with VAR 

Will there ever be one week in the Premier League without the talk of a controversial VAR decision?

This week that ‘honour’ fell at Selhurst Park when Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford saw a goal against Crystal Palace chalked off as he was deemed to be offside after pointing at where he wanted a through ball to be played by team-mate Mateusz Klich.

Following a change to the interpretation of the handball rule ahead of this season, Bamford could score with that part of his arm so was adjudged to be offside. 

The decision sparked a huge backlash led by Bamford who said: ‘I thought it was just a formality checking it. I thought it would be fine. I’ve been playing seven years and I don’t understand the rule now.

‘Nobody really knows. The ref, when I asked him, didn’t really know. I’m not just saying it because it’s my goal but I’ve seen plenty on the TV. It’s ruining the game I think.’ 

Many will agree with Leeds planning to write to the Premier League and PGMOL requesting more clarity on VAR and the offside law.

Leeds are set to write to the Premier League and PGMOL for clarity on VAR and the offside rule

Ziyech getting up to speed in the top flight 

Hakim Ziyech’s Chelsea debut was delayed due to injury, but it was worth the wait for the impact he has already made at the club.

The Moroccan has been a joy to watch in four Premier League outings so far, two of which as a substitute, and he already has an argument to be the signing of the summer.

He has scored once and laid on three assists. Against Sheffield United on Saturday evening came two of the latter. Furthermore, no player has created more chances in a Premier League game this season than Ziyech did this evening against the Blades (six chances created and two assists).

It’s just a shame that Chelsea supporters aren’t able to watch him play in the flesh as of yet. Premier League defences better watch out.

Hakim Ziyech excelled for Chelsea on Saturday evening, laying on two goals for team-mates 

Fantastic Foxes eclipsing title feats 

Are Leicester City mounting a title charge? All the focus seems to be on Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea but beware of the Foxes.

Sunday’s 1-0 over Wolves means they go into this international break top of the table with 18 points from eight matches. It is their best ever start to a top-flight campaign and best start to a season since winning 19 points in 2008-09 in League One.

Brendan Rodgers is doing a fantastic job at the King Power Stadium and doesn’t even have a fully-fit squad. Their stunning 5-2 win at Manchester City in September is testament to that. 

Leicester City have bettered their start to the 2015-16 season, when they won the title 

Harry Kane well on his way to toppling Shearer

What more is there to say about Harry Kane? Tottenham’s talisman is a matchwinner and he proved exactly that on Sunday by scoring an 88th-minute header to give Spurs a 1-0 win at West Brom.

That goal was a landmark moment for the England captain as it was his 150th Premier League strike. That places him joint-ninth with Michael Owen in the all-time Premier League goalscoring charts.

Only Alan Shearer (212 games) and Sergio Aguero (217) scored their 150th Premier League goal in fewer appearances than Kane – who did so in his 218th match.

At 27, don’t be surprised if he surpasses Shearer’s all-time tally of 260 goals in seasons to come.

Harry Kane racked up his 150th Premier League goal against West Brom on Sunday afternoon

Newcastle icon Alan Shearer leads the all-time Premier League scoring charts with 260 goals

Fulham are everyone’s favourite rivals 

Local derbies are what clubs should relish but supporters of Fulham could be forgiven for approaching them with dread.

Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at cross-city rivals West Ham now means the Cottagers are winless in their last 16 Premier League London derbies (drawing one, losing 15).

To make matters worse, it is now 12-straight defeats for the west London outfit in such matches – a top-flight record. 

Their next London derby isn’t until late December against Tottenham. Manager Scott Parker will be hoping his side can pick up some wins in between now and then. 

Fulham lost their 12th consecutive London derby in the Premier League against West Ham

Adams can step up in Ings’ absence 

When Danny Ings went down injured during a 4-3 win at Aston Villa last weekend, there were fears this may halt Southampton’s fine start to the season.

On Friday night, those concerns were allayed as they connivingly beat Newcastle 2-0 to briefly move top of the table – with Ings’ strike partner Che Adams filling his void.

Adams fired the Saints ahead with a brilliant effort early on for his third league goal of the campaign in eight games. The 24-year-old seems to gave adapted to the top-flight in his second season after scoring just four times in 30 matches last term. 

Che Adams was on the scoresheet once more for Southampton against Newcastle on Friday 

Blunt Burnley still no closer to winning ways 

They’re only seven games into the season but there will be cause for concern at Burnley.

The Clarets sit second-bottom of the Premier League and remain winless from those matches, having just yielded two points so far. 

A 0-0 draw at Brighton on Friday night ended a run of back-to-back defeats but manager Sean Dyche will be concerned about his side’s attacking output. They’ve scored a league-worst three goals so far this season and Dyche will be using the international break to think how to get the best out of his attacking players.

A home encounter with Crystal Palace straight after the international break may be their best bet to score with fixtures against Manchester City, Everton and Arsenal then to follow.

Sean Dyche’s side have failed to score in each of their last four games, and have yet to win

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