After the early interlude of a largely unloved international break, the Premier League made a welcome return this weekend.
An action-packed round of fixtures kept everyone interested. Here’s a look at five things we learned from the best of the drama.
Roberto Firmino keeps the Reds ticking over against Newcastle
Jurgen Klopp gave a typically candid response when asked about his side’s display on Saturday. Speaking to the media post-match the German said: “I started enjoying it after 35 minutes when we arrived in the game.”
The comments alluded to Liverpool’s sluggish start which saw them slip behind to Newcastle after just seven minutes. However, the league leaders clicked into gear once Roberto Firmino replaced the injured Divock Origi late in the first half. The Brazilian has been in top-class form so far this season and played another starring role in orchestrating a record equaling 14th consecutive top flight win for the Reds.
His link-up play with Sadio Mane and Mo Salah was outstanding as he registered his second and third assists of the season with beautiful through balls to his grateful teammates. The second of those was a truly astonishing, instinctive flick with his back to goal, to play Salah in behind Newcastle’s deep sitting lines. On current form, he is arguably Liverpool’s most important attacking player.
Let's just watch it again, shall we? 🤩pic.twitter.com/c4vt7aH3AJ
— Goal (@goal) September 15, 2019
Manchester City already missing Aymeric Laporte after costly defensive lapses at Norwich
Norwich produced the shock result of the season with a thoroughly deserved 3-2 victory over Manchester City during Saturday’s late kick-off. The champions were pushed onto the back foot by a brave, pressing display by the home side, which yielded a number of worrying defensive lapses for Pep Guardiola’s side.
The news that Aymeric Laporte is likely to be out injured until January at the earliest will be of real concern to City fans as their defensive unit looked vulnerable without the presence of the steely Frenchmen at its heart. John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi started together for just the sixth time in City’s previous 80 competitive matches and it showed.
Neither was in-sync with the other as they struggled to contend with an aggressive press from the home side. It was ultimately Otamendi’s careless error in possession that allowed Teemu Pukki in for the decisive goal on the day. Overall this was a defensive display that should give some encouragement to the rest of the chasing pack in the Premier League.
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) September 15, 2019
Abraham shines for Chelsea during impressive win at Wolves
2019/20 could be the year of Tammy Abraham as the young centre-forward continues to shine for the Blues. At Molineux on Saturday afternoon the England international was near unplayable as he relentlessly tormented Conor Coady in the Wolves back four.
The 21-year-old became the youngest ever Chelsea player to score a Premier League hat-trick during a memorable afternoon 2-5 win for Frank Lampard’s men. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Abraham’s display was that all three of his goals were very different; a close-range powerful effort, was followed by a towering header, which was proceeded by an excellent far post finish from the youngster after skinning Coady in a one-on-one situation. He will face sterner opponents this season, although seven goals from five games is certainly nothing to be sniffed at.
A good day at the office! pic.twitter.com/FjFeYv2HUX
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 15, 2019
Aubameyang papering over some big cracks for Arsenal
Where would Arsenal be without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? The Gabon international was in the mood for goals once again at Watford on Sunday as he hit a brace, the first of which was a fine instinctive effort. He is more than doing his bit for this side at the moment and will have been left disappointed once again by his teammates at the opposite end of the pitch.
In many ways, this game was pure Arsenal. Some scintillating forward play completely undermined by brainless defending and an overall lack of defensive character. Watford were excellent and deserved more than a 2-2 draw. Once they got wind of their opponents obvious panic they laid siege to the visitor’s goal and very nearly pinched all three points.
David Luiz had not given a penalty away in the Premier League since 2011, but since switching his London allegiances this summer, he has duly given away two in four games. His trip on Roberto Pereyra late on cost his side more precious points. There are some big problems at the back for Unai Emery to fix and he won’t solve them by pinning his hopes on Aubameyang bailing them out at the other end of the pitch.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 15, 2019
Callum Wilson issues a reminder to Gareth Southgate after brace for Bournemouth
Callum Wilson may have been left out of England’s latest squad by Gareth Southgate but he served a timely reminder to the England manager of his more than useful abilities in front of goal during Bournemouth’s convincing 3-1 over Everton on Sunday.
The 27-year-old bagged an impressive brace at the Vitality Stadium with his second coming by virtue of a lovely chip over his England teammate Jordan Pickford. Everton’s defence may have been lax throughout but Wilson was on hand to punish them twice. With such a reliable striker to lead his line, Eddie Howe’s side should have enough to improve on their flaky start to 2019/20.
New lock screen… 📲 pic.twitter.com/1JdoyJxcyc
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) September 15, 2019
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