Premier League talking points: Liverpool survive intense week, Lampard still searching for first win, Manchester City and VAR, no love lost
Liverpool survived an intense week unscathed, Foxes denied Frank Lampard his first competitive win as Chelsea manager, and it was Déjà vu for Manchester City as they were denied a last-minute winner courtesy of VAR.
Here are the big talking points from this week’s Premier League action.
Liverpool get maximum points, and a trophy, from intense week
All eyes were on Liverpool as they traveled to Southampton to see if they would slip up on the back of an exhausting week – but they got the job done despite a late rally from the hosts.
Their long trip to Istanbul for the Super Cup was made even harder by extra time and penalties, and only two days of recovery time for this game meant this would be a big test for them.
And that showed in the first half as they were thoroughly second best. Southampton had constant pressure and numerous attempts on Liverpool’s goal but failed to convert. But the difference in quality showed as when Liverpool finally put together a decent move close to halftime, Mane rifled in his first league goal of the season to put Liverpool ahead.
After that the second half was always going to be easier and Firmino added a second on 71 minutes and Liverpool held on comfortably despite Adrian’s howler giving the Saints hope on 83 minutes.
Chelsea impress, but yet again fail to win
The first 30 minutes of this game had a lot of positives for Frank Lampard’s side. They pressed Leicester high up the pitch, which caused the Foxes a lot of problems and resulted in Mason Mount’s goal and many other chances. They were also impressive on the ball, moving it from back to front with both speed and accuracy.
But as was the case with Liverpool’s players, fatigue played a part in the second half and the Chelsea players’ intensity dropped off as the game went on which allowed Leicester back in the game. Ndidi’s goal on 67 minutes was just reward for the visitors and further disappointment for Lampard who is still without a win after 3 games as Chelsea manager.
Why always us VAR? Say Manchester City
On the balance of play, City completely controlled the game with 30 shots on goal to Tottenham’s 3. But Spurs’ clinical performance meant the game was still level heading into second half stoppage time.
And then Gabriel Jesus scored, and having watched the game live, even the replay didn’t suggest anything wrong with the goal. City fans could finally celebrate a late winner against Spurs. Or so they thought.
VAR spotted that the ball had hit Laporte’s arm on the way through to Jesus, and with the rule change implemented this season that goals would be ruled out even for accidental handballs in the buildup, the goal was ruled out… again.
Many people argue that VAR is killing the excitement in the game, but no one can deny that the correct decision was made due to which Spurs got a valuable point.
Arsenal have a new Spanish midfield maestro
Dani Ceballos was the star of the show in Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Burnley. He produced a memorable performance as Arsenal won their first two league games for the first time since 2009/10.
Ceballos was like a breath of fresh air at the Emirates Stadium. He created the most chances (4) of any Arsenal player, he attempted the most passes and successfully completed all four of his attempted dribbles. He is just the third Arsenal player to register two or more assists on his Premier League debut after Ray Parlour and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Ceballos provided the Gunners with a link between defence and attack and it’s that versatility which has been much needed in the Arsenal side recently.
There are tougher tests to come for Ceballos, starting with a trip to Anfield next Saturday, but it’s a very promising start for the Spaniard.
Pukki impresses again
Teemu Pukki had already scored in the opening game against Liverpool, but his performance against Newcastle on Saturday has made it clear that he is here to stay in the race for the Golden Boot. He scored his first hat trick for Norwich as they made a statement of their intention to stay in the Premier League.
It’s a huge jump from the Championship to the Premier League and not all players make it, but Pukki is playing as if he belongs here. His first was an amazing volley from a cleared corner, before two coolly slotted finishes after some poor Newcastle defending. Since the start of last season, Pukki has scored 33 league goals, which is more than any other player across the top four tiers of English football.
Norwich seem to have hit jackpot with the Finland international, and the rest of the defenders in the league will now be wary of what he could do this season.
Author: AHMAD RAFIQ