Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action | Premier League
Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action | Premier League

1) Fearless Howe has Newcastle on the rise

Pep Guardiola’s football is not for everyone – some prefer a more emotional, aggressive style – but what cannot be argued is that it is the hardest style to beat. Though possession is not everything, against a team that has so much of it, an opponent needs to be almost perfect to get a result, and in the hour after they went behind, Newcastle were close to that, producing a scintillating display of power, bravery and imagination – for which Eddie Howe deserves much praise. It’s one thing saying you plan for your team to attack the defending champions with aggression, another to actually mean it, and something else entirely to convince your players that they’re good enough to pull it off. But Howe did all of that, presiding over a performance that will resonate throughout the league, showing other, more fearful – and for now, at least, more expensively assembled teams – what can be done with the right attitude, while also putting them on notice that Newcastle are coming. Daniel Harris

2) Aaronson leaves Chelsea defenders blue

Brenden Aaronson’s brother, Paxten, plays for the Leeds playmaker’s MLS alma mater, Philadelphia Union, and his sister, Jaden, is also a fine footballer but the two US-based siblings will surely only be inspired by how the 21-year-old ran this rout of Chelsea for his new team. From a quasi-No 10 berth, Aaronson took many of the set-pieces and flitted all over the Elland Road turf, giving Thomas Tuchel’s vastly more experienced defenders – particularly Kalidou Koulibaly, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella – a serious runaround. In pickpocketing the hapless Édouard Mendy for the opener he ignited his team and scored his first Leeds goal. “I’ve dreamed about this for a long time and it’s a dream come true,” he said of what was only his second competitive appearance for the club. “It shows how much progress we have made.” Aaronson’s was a performance of maturity and augurs well for his and Leeds’s future. Jamie Jackson

'We lost it in the first 20 minutes': Tuchel rues Chelsea errors in defeat by Leeds – video

3) Saliba makes Arsenal happy

William Saliba’s sweetly struck left-footed finish for Arsenal’s third goal at Bournemouth was a sublime – if slightly unexpected – moment of individual brilliance. But it was the centre-back’s defensive performance that had Mikel Arteta purring. The 21-year-old, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Nice and Marseille, has been an assured presence in central defence since his debut at Crystal Palace on the opening day. Saturday saw a pair of key interceptions, Kieffer Moore’s not inconsiderable physicality nullified and each of Saliba’s 76 passes completed. Arsenal fans’ adaptation of The Champs’ 1958 hit “Tequila” – with Saliba’s name inserted – rang out in the late evening sunshine at Bournemouth, before continuing in the Arsenal dressing room. It may become this season’s anthem. Sam Dalling

4) Conte seeking midfield stability

Tottenham’s midfield has been a problem for two or three years now, and remains their biggest barrier to a title challenge. Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 places a huge burden on the midfield two, who are frequently outnumbered by smart technical sides such as Chelsea last week, and Wolves on Saturday. The issue is not so much personnel – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur are fine players – but control. When the front three and wing-backs can coordinate their press and win the territorial battle, as happened in the second half, it works. When they cannot, Spurs look vulnerable. Jonathan Liew

Antonio Conte has a need for control at Spurs.
Antonio Conte is still searching for control at high-flying Spurs. Photograph: John Walton/PA

5) Manchester City’s comeback cannot hide vulnerability

No team, however brilliant, hits its peak more than a few times a season; City keep winning titles because their modal level is so high, and that was so before they signed Erling Haaland. But having added the game’s first lab-created goalmonster to a side that was already able to dominate any opponent, it’s almost impossible to see how they can be bested over 38 games – and yet. There are more good attackers in the Premier League than before, meaning there are now more teams theoretically able to take points off the best, and the downside of Pep Guardiola’s possession-heavy style is that his goalkeeper and defenders were recruited primarily for their on-ball ability, not their ability to keep goal and defend. So when they meet a side confident enough to go at them – as happens in the later stages of the Champions League – they can be punished and, though the relentless ferocity of their comeback against Newcastle shouldn’t be ignored, their domestic rivals would do well to take note nevertheless. Daniel Harris

6) Trossard’s brilliance benefits Brighton

Towards the end of last season, Leandro Trossard was linked with Newcastle, but as the transfer window rolls to a close, he remains at Brighton. “I thought it was a bit longer than that,” shrugged Graham Potter, when reminded that the Belgian has just a year left on his contract. Considering his team’s excellent start to the season without Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella, Potter is entitled to be unruffled by the thought of losing another player. He is a manager who makes frequent reference to the concept of “the collective”. Trossard was hailed as a budget Eden Hazard when he joined Brighton three years ago but it some time since we saw his compatriot – still at Real Madrid, in case you were wondering – show off such quality. Trossard’s finish for Brighton’s second goal, winning a battle of wits with Lukasz Fabianski after breaking through West Ham’s lines, showed just why the likes of Newcastle covet him. John Brewin

7) Pereira finds new home at the Cottage

After spending four of the past six seasons out on loan from Manchester United, Andreas Pereira has finally found a permanent home at Fulham. Marco Silva brought the Belgian-born Brazilian midfielder to Craven Cottage this summer in the hope he could become a key cog on their return to the top flight. Aleksandr Mitrovic is rightly the man in the spotlight after his dramatic winner against Brentford but Pereira was imperative throughout for Fulham. On Saturday, Pereira pulled the strings in midfield and was a constant threat from set-pieces against a side that ripped apart his former employers, Manchester United, the week before. He looks settled and eager to finally prove he is worthy of being a Premier League player following 11 years at Old Trafford that saw him grace the English top flight on 45 occasions. Succeeding out of spite is a tried and tested method, and Pereira looks to be relishing his new prominent role. Will Unwin

8) Eze offers Palace another dimension

Wilfried Zaha rightly earned the plaudits for his double in Crystal Palace’s first win of the season but another forward also merits considerable credit for his supporting role in sweeping aside Aston Villa. Eberechi Eze was a revelation and the former QPR midfielder looks poised to add another dimension to the Palace attack this season. His recovery from a ruptured achilles tendon has taken time but the 24-year-old is now match fit and seemingly playing with the handbrake off. His stunning assist in the draw at Liverpool was an indication of his ability and vision, while his rampaging runs against at Selhurst Park had Villa toiling. Eze, who is playing with more freedom in the midfield after starting all three matches this season, has a great understanding with Zaha. If they both stay fit plenty of other Premier League opponents will be feeling as disorientated as Villa were on Saturday. Simon Mail

Aston Villa's John McGinn (left) tries to get to grips with Eberechi Eze during a fine display from the Crystal Palace playmaker.
Aston Villa's John McGinn (left) tries to get to grips with Eberechi Eze during a fine display from the Crystal Palace playmaker. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

9) Lampard leaps to Gordon’s defence

Frank Lampard was irritated by the focus on Anthony Gordon’s end product after Everton claimed their first point of the season against Nottingham Forest, given responsibility for 19 shots producing one late goal lay among several players. “I don’t want to make this a press conference about Anthony Gordon’s finishing,” said the Everton manager. “We work on it all the time with every attacking player.” The scrutiny was fair, and perfectly understandable at the end of a week in which Everton rejected £45m from Chelsea for the 21-year-old and explored a loan deal for Ajax’s attacking midfielder Mohammed Kudus. Gordon was one of the few Everton players to carry a threat in the final third against Forest but few of his five shots seriously troubled Dean Henderson. Lampard said: “Anthony has a lot of strings to his bow and goalscoring will come. At 20 years of age I wouldn’t have got into a modern-day Chelsea team with the way I was playing. I only felt confident to rack up big numbers when I was 23, 24 and onwards. It is a process.” Andy Hunter

10) Will set-piece coach fix Foxes’ flaws?

No new signings on the horizon, a wantaway star player, a winless start to the season and a familiar defensive vulnerability; these are testing times for Leicester City and Brendan Rodgers. Leicester let in a joint league-high 19 goals from set pieces last season and have already conceded two from dead balls this campaign, with Southampton’s Che Adams profiting from a long throw to equalise on Saturday. Leicester, who took the lead through James Maddison’s precise free-kick, are trying to appoint a specialist set-piece coach, whose arrival has been held up by red tape. “He’s not coming in with a magic wand,” Rodgers said. “He’s going to give us a lot of analysis and he is a very skilled coach of course. But that [goal] is about basics, it’s about getting two contacts on the ball. If you don’t get the first contact, then a set-piece coach won’t make a magic difference to that.” Ben Fisher



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