Following the latest round of Premier League action we look at five things we learned from the weekend fixtures.
Table-topping Tottenham setting tone from the front
Tottenham are top of the Premier League table after the north Londoners continued their unbeaten start to the campaign with a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace. Spurs have had their best start to a top-flight season since 1960/61, when the club were last crowned champions.
A Joel Ward own goal and Son Heung-min’s eighth goal of the Premier League season earned three points at Selhurst Park, with Ange Postecoglou’s revolution having shown no signs of slowing down.
Spurs lead the Premier League on a number of metrics which indicate their fine form could last, emerging as one of the division’s most intense sides when it comes to pressing from the front. Son’s reinvention into a central striker has helped Spurs assemble one of the best high-energy frontlines in the Premier League.
Good morning pic.twitter.com/HWX6fj6Nip
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 28, 2023
When it comes to high turnovers, Spurs lead the league for presses per defensive action (8.9), total high turnovers (109), turnovers that lead to a shot on goal (22) and turnovers that lead of a goal (5). It is the sort of intensity that opposition sides have struggled to cope with so far this season.
Brentford becoming a bogey team for Chelsea
Chelsea headed into this weekend’s clash with west London neighbours Brentford in confident mood, with a four-game unbeaten run in all competitions having seen optimism increase under Mauricio Pochettino. The ‘momentum’ that Pochettino had discussed this week with the intention of continuing came to a halt this weekend, as Brentford earned a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
Familiar flaws cost Chelsea in a disappointing defeat, one which saw Cole Palmer’s stock rise with another inventive showing, but little else of positive note in a wasteful performance.
Brentford have won more games at Stamford Bridge in the last six months than Chelsea 😳 pic.twitter.com/TfLAF36BDV
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) October 29, 2023
The win continued Chelsea’s poor home record this season with the Blues having won just one of six Premier League fixtures on home soil. The result also continued Brentford’s recent dominance in this fixture with the Bees having now won all three away fixtures at Chelsea since promotion to the Premier League.
Nketiah takes his chance
Gabriel Jesus’ match-winning performance in midweek aided Arsenal’s push for Champions League progression, but the Brazilian suffered a hamstring issue at Sevilla that will sideline him for several weeks.
Eddie Nketiah was drafted back into the team in Jesus’ absence this weekend, with the 24-year-old set or an extended run in the side. Nketiah had failed to score in six Premier League games for the Gunners, but seized his chance against Sheffield United with a first top-flight hat-trick.
Nketiah was a livewire in the final third as Arsenal thrashed the winless Blades 5-0 at the Emirates, with the forward scoring the opening three goals in an emphatic performance from Mikel Arteta’s side.
3ddie Nketiah 📞 pic.twitter.com/9uiyR8Gl6V
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 29, 2023
After two instinctive efforts to put the hosts in control, Nketiah smashed home his hat-trick goal from distance to claim the match ball. He now has five goals in 10 Premier League appearances this season, matching the best return of his career.
Villa Park a Premier League fortress
Aston Villa’s formidable home record continued as the club recorded a 12th consecutive Premier League home win this weekend. Not since February have Villa dropped points on home soil, after Unai Emery’s side eased past Luton Town to maintain their push for Champions League football.
It’s now five from five during the current campaign, with Villa one of four teams in the Premier League – alongside Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham – to hold a 100% record in home games. Moussa Diaby was the start of the show for Villa, who have shown no signs of struggling with the dual demand of playing European football this season.
Aston Villa have now won 12 consecutive Premier League home games:
◉ Goals: 34
◉ Conceded: 6
◉ Clean sheets: 6
Welcome to Willa Park. 🏟 pic.twitter.com/IyDbj08yXk
— Squawka (@Squawka) October 29, 2023
The win was a fifth in six games for the hosts, who have opened up a five-point buffer between them and Newcastle in sixth. In a campaign where the top five in the Premier League could all earn Champions League places next season, Villa look capable of earning entry to Europe’s elite.
Man City right to fight for Bernardo
For several summers it has appeared that Bernardo Silva wants out at Manchester City. Despite the abundance of medals won at the Etihad, the midfielder has, quite politely, agitated for an exit.
Pep Guardiola has insisted that he is not prepared to keep any player who hints at unhappiness, but that stance has been softened when it comes to Bernardo.
Against Manchester United this weekend, the Portugal midfielder showed exactly why City have fought to keep him at the club. Silva was untouchable for much of a one-sided Manchester Derby, as the playmaker pulled the strings in a comfortable City win at Old Trafford.
Bernardo Silva’s game by numbers vs. Man Utd:
90% pass accuracy
5 long balls completed
5 ground duels won
3 key passes
3 big chances created
2 tackles won
2/2 dribbles completed
Maestro. 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/IW4gQM8maT
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 29, 2023
United’s game plan included a man marking tactic, but with City boasting the superior talent it failed to have the desired effect. Bernardo was brilliant in a creative role alongside Rodri, with the 29-year-old a unique talent in the way he combines elite industry with evasive footwork and technical brilliance.
Bernardo’s assist was his fifth against Manchester United in the Premier League – no player has more against the Red Devils since his arrival into the division of 2017 – but his performance was far more than just that created goal.
All-action excellence once again from the Manchester City midfielder.