Thursday 23 November 2017

Seven things we learnt from the Premier League this weekend

Stevan Jovetic helped Manchester City make an early statement in the title race
Stevan Jovetic helped Manchester City make an early statement in the title race

Simon Rice

A look at the the lessons learnt after the latest round of Premier League fixture

1) Manchester City rightly the title favourites

Before a ball had even been kicked, last season's champions were the favourites to be lifting the title again next May. Their 3-1 victory over Liverpool showed just why.

Up against last season's runners up, City looked excellent in every department. And the most frightening thing is the players in reserve - Sergio Aguero started on the bench, as did Jesus Navas. Frank Lampard and Fernandinho are also available.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero wheels away to celebrate after scoring his side's third goal against Liverpool during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium. Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Yates

2) There won't be a quick turnaround at Manchester United

Louis van Gaal might have hoped the opening day defeat to Swansea was a freak result.

However, United's laboured display against Sunderland suggests he has a real task on his hands trying to turn Manchester United around.

Juan Mata gave the visitors to the Stadium of Light the lead, but it came against the run of play and the Black Cats deservedly pulled level through Jack Rodwell.

That Adnan Januzaj was used in a holding midfield role highlighted the lack of options available to the new manager - the arrival of Angel Di Maria can't come soon enough - and more recruits beyond that are needed.

Robin van Persie of Manchester United is tackled by Lee Cattermole, left, and Santiago Vergini of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light yesterday. Photo credit: Michael Regan/Getty Images

3) Arsenal have more resolve than last season - but still need a striker

When Arsenal went 2-0 down at Goodison Park last season, all that happened was they conceded another.

But in the late kick-off on Saturday, the Gunners managed to salvage an unlikely point.

Arsenal were far from their best, and in particular the below par performance from Mesut Ozil will have been a concern.

Yet they managed to leave one of the toughest grounds to go to with something.

That Olivier Giroud, who scored the equaliser, needed to come on at half-time for the ineffective Alexis Sanchez indicates a new centre-forward might be needed if the Gunners are to really challenge for the title.

Olivier Giroud suffered an ankle injury against Everton

4) Erik Lamela has turned a corner

After an impressive display in midweek in the Europa League, Tottenham's record signing Erik Lamela again showed he might not turn out to be a very expensive mistake.

The Argentina international might not have scored, but he ran the show at White Hart Lane as Spurs thrashed QPR 4-0.

That result put Tottenham top of the league and suggested new manager Mauricio Pochettino might turn out to be the best signing Tottenham made this summer.

Erik Lamela's season is over, according to Tim Sherwood

5) Life is tough in the Premier League

The three promoted sides - Leicester, QPR and Burnley - have accrued just one point between them this season.

The only reward from the potential 18 on offer came on the opening day when Leicester fought back to draw 2-2 with Everton.

The trio failed to score a single goal between them this weekend and if they don't start picking up points soon, they'll quickly become the favourites for the drop.

QPR defender Richard Dunne is challenged by Nacer Chadli of Spurs during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane. Photo: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

6) West Ham showing attacking intent

West Ham might have lost their opening game of the season, but were perhaps a bit unfortunate in the 1-0 loss to Tottenham.

Not only was it an injury time goal at Upton Park that saw them lose, the Hammers had more attempts at goal than any other side last weekend but still failed to score.

Fans have been demanding better football from Sam Allardyce's side and over the summer Teddy Sheringham was appointed to help improve matters.

Three goals against an admittedly troubled Crystal Palace looks like they might just get what they want.

West Ham United striker Mauro Zarate celebrates with teammate Aaron Cresswell after scoring the opening goal against Crystal Palace during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park. Photo: OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP/Getty Images

7) Everton need to tighten up

After a fantastic first season under Roberto Martinez and the permanent signings of Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry over the summer, there is a mood of optimism at Goodison Park and even talk of a possible top-four finish.

But if that's to happen, they need to learn how to defend a lead. After being pegged back twice against Leicester last weekend, a two-goal lead was given away against Arsenal, with both goals for the Gunners inside the last 10 minutes.

Everton's Seamus Coleman scores a goal against Arsenal

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