Here are some of our learnings from the Premier League weekend.
Arsenal finally crack the City code
For the first time since 2015 Arsenal have beaten Manchester City in the Premier League, having lost the previous 12 meetings consecutively.
It marks a huge psychological leap for the Gunners following their capitulation in the final months of last season, letting the title slip from their grasp as Pep Guardiola’s crew secured a third in a row on their way to The Treble.
This is just the next step on Arsenal’s charge for glory, though. It will mean nothing if they don’t build on this and prove they are a force to be taken seriously. As Mikel Arteta said after the final whistle, “it is just part of the journey”.
City really miss Rodri – but not just him
Man City have now lost all three games for which Rodri has been suspended – Newcastle, Wolves and now Arsenal – while winning the one game in between those for which he was available, against RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
The Spaniard’s importance to City was underlined by a statistic that was doing the rounds ahead of the game. The club had lost five of 15 matches without him in the Premier League, but had lost just five of 67 when he featured. We can now make that six defeats from 16.
But Rodri’s absence arguably hasn’t even been the biggest absence in the squad over this period; that may belong to Kevin De Bruyne.
Julian Alvarez has performed very well in lieu of the Belgian, but their attack simply does not function to nearly the same level. That was compounded by Pep Guardiola’s decision to play much more defensively against Arsenal on Sunday, as they took just four shots for a measly 0.60 expected goals, according to Opta.
It’s also worth pointing out that City have had to travel to four different cities for their last four games, with each of them being away from home. That, too, has undoubtedly put a strain on the team.
Brighton unearth next stars
The legend of Brighton’s recruitment department grows with every passing day as another talented prospect pops up at the club.
On Sunday, Roberto De Zerbi started two players who were born in 2002 and 2004, and his side still more than held their own against Liverpool.
Simon Adingra scored his first Premier League goal against the Reds, but the 21-year-old was impressive beyond that. The Ivorian looked quick and skillful on the ball, causing opposition defenders a lot of problems.
Carlos Baleba, meanwhile, looked superb in midfield and drove at the heart of Liverpool with abandon. The 19-year-old was making just his third league appearance for the Seagulls, but he already looks like a star in the making.
After the final whistle De Zerbi showed gratitude to the club for unearthing such gems. It has made his job a dream.
There’s still life in Man Utd yet
No one would have blamed you for believing this Manchester United side were a dead dog, even this early into the campaign. The results have been bad, the performances worse, and the vibes were catastrophic.
Erik ten Hag was staring down the barrel of a very nervy international break on Sunday as his team trailed Brentford in injury time. They were about to lose three home consecutive home games for the first time since 1979.
The Dutchman’s bacon was saved by Scott McTominay, who scored twice in the space of four minutes to turn the game around in dramatic fashion. Trailing at 92:46, it’s the latest the club have ever been behind in a Premier League game in which they have come back to win.
Man United now have two very winnable games, against Sheffield United and Copenhagen, up next. It’s a perfect opportunity to raise morale and gain momentum ahead of the Manchester Derby at the end of the month – and finally kick start their season.
Tottenham continue to shed Spursy label
In the past, Tottenham going a man down after spurning a whole host of chances against one of the weakest teams in the Premier League would have predictably ended with them falling apart and losing by the odd goal.
That was on the cards on Saturday against Luton; Richarlison missed a great chance early doors, before Son Heung-min and Pedro Porro both missed the target from good positions. Tom Lockyer even put the ball in the net for the Hatters following a semi-comical sequence in the six yard box, but it was ruled offside. The Yves Bissouma was sent off on the stroke of half time.
But after the break Spurs were composed and resolute, finding a goal through Micky van de Ven before long. They continued to play much like you would expected them to play until Ange Postecoglou finally put on defensive reinforcements late in the half, and they saw the game out professionally to go top of the table.
This team are not an easy nut to crack anymore.