Thursday 26 April 2018

5 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Dele Alli helped Tottenham end Manchester City's perfect start
Dele Alli helped Tottenham end Manchester City's perfect start

Tottenham shook up the early Premier League form guide by ending Manchester City's 100 per cent record while Arsenal conjured a controversial late winner at Burnley.

Here, Press Association Sport examines five key lessons from the weekend's Premier League action.

1. Tottenham point the way by unsettling Manchester City

Tottenham provided the blueprint for beating Pep Guardiola's high-flying Manchester City - harassment. Spurs saw off City 2-0 thanks to Aleksandar Kolarov's own goal and a neat finish from Dele Alli. But it was Mauricio Pochettino's side's off-the-ball pressing that provided the bedrock for their superlative victory. Spurs robbed City of their perfect Premier League record and in the process moved second in the table themselves. In underscoring just how to stop Guardiola's much-vaunted gameplan, Spurs also offered a reminder of their own potential to emerge as league title contenders.

2. Dimitri Payet's still a scorer of great goals

France forward Payet skinned five defenders, leaving four on their backsides, as he rolled home West Ham's goal in the 1-1 home draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday. The 29-year-old playmaker spent last season whipping home free-kick after free-kick but here highlighted his dribbling ability. Payet's mazy run will undoubtedly feature in the shake-up for the Premier League's goal of the season.

3. Even after 20 years Arsenal are still trying to walk the ball into the net

Arsene Wenger this week celebrated 20 years in charge of the Gunners, and headed to Burnley off the back of fine victories over Chelsea and Basle. But just when Arsenal thought they could exploit that momentum and carve Burnley apart, a whole host of long-term foibles crept back in. Laurent Koscielny's controversial stoppage-time winner hauled Arsenal out of jail, as the Gunners escaped with a 1-0 victory. Burnley were frustrated Koscielny's effort was not ruled out for handball, but Arsenal will have been relieved to sneak away with the points after struggling to break down Burnley's robust twin defensive banks. As with so many times during the Wenger years, the visitors spent the majority of the clash trying to produce the perfect passing sequence, and with no joy.

4. Nacer Chadli continues to prove his worth to West Brom

Belgium winger Chadli has already fired three goals in four games since his £13million summer move from Tottenham. If the 27-year-old sustains his early-season form, then he will represent one of the signings of the campaign. Chadli's strike ensured West Brom claimed a share of the spoils with their 1-1 draw at Sunderland on Saturday. While the Baggies will have been frustrated not to win on Wearside, boss Tony Pulis must surely be pleased with Chadli's start.

5. Lukaku won't need to chase if he keeps on scoring

New Everton boss Ronald Koeman last week challenged striker Romelu Lukaku to get to grips with his high-pressing strategy. The Belgium hitman promptly went and scored a fine free-kick as the Toffees drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace at home on Friday night. With five goals for Everton already this season, Lukaku will hold on to his starting spot, whatever his work rate, as long as he keeps banging in the goals.

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport