It was a day of high-class attack on Saturday as 26 goals were scored in the eight games but one also of decent defence from the sides who won as six teams kept clean sheets. Arsenal also took the bragging rights in North London and Manchester United went back to smashing teams at home with the return of Paul Pogba. So what have we learned from these eight games?
Arsenal can show up for the big games
With undoubtedly their performance of the season, Arsenal completely bossed the North London Derby at home to Tottenham with a 2-0 win. Both goals were scored in quick succession late in the first-half as Shkrodan Mustafi replicated the Kevin Wimmer own goal that started off Arsenal last season in the derby and then just four minutes later Alexis Sanchez got on the score sheet after great work from Alexandre Lacazette.
Not only could Arsenal have scored more, their defence was completely solid, even better when you think that they shut out the likes of Kane, Alli and Eriksen. Tottenham really didn’t show up for this one but don’t take it away from Arsenal as they were superb!
Pogba is United’s main man
After being out with an injury for the best part of two months, Paul Pogba returned to the United starting line-up with a goal and an assist in a 4-1 victory over Newcastle. There was a brief scare when Dwight Gayle gave the visitors an unlikely lead but their hopes were short-lived as four United players got on the scoresheet.
At the start of the season, United were winning games by large margins and Pogba was at the heart of this, now playing a role further up the pitch to demonstrate his real attacking talent. But without him, United were winning by scrappy 1-0 margins, losing to Huddersfield and Chelsea and looking more lethargic upfront.
Yes, you could argue that they still beat Everton 4-0 without him and have managed to hold on to second place in the league and have guaranteed their spot in the Champions League Round of 16 with two games to spare but Pogba adds that extra bit of spice to the team, especially when going forward.
Unsworth may be the best man to take the Everton job
After being in charge for five games in all competitions, David Unsworth has kept the Everton job for longer than expected without an official announcement on who Ronald Koeman’s full-time successor will be. After an incredibly poor start to the season, it was always going to be a difficult job to get Everton back on track but Unsworth seems to be improving the mentality among the Toffees.
Scoring five goals in the last two games, Everton’s attack has been improved but throughout Unsworth’s temporary management Everton have shipped 11 goals, over two per game. I don’t understand what is taking the Everton board so long to find an appointment, especially if that appointment isn’t the permanent appointment of U21 coach Unsworth. Right now, he may be the best man for the job as five games plus an international break is a long time to be a temporary manager for.
Mo Salah is the signing of the season
In Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Southampton, Egyptian winger Salah took his Premier League goal tally to nine, making him the league’s new top-scorer. Costing £35m in the summer, which is a bargain in today’s terms, Salah is quickly becoming everyone’s vote for signing of the season. With goals and assists galore, Salah looks unstoppable and, with a number of other great attacking options, Liverpool really are looking as dangerous as ever when going forward.
West Brom are in trouble
With what I would say the best squad I remember them ever having, West Brom find themselves in difficult predicament. Still under the management of Tony Pulis, the Baggies have only won twice this season, and they were the first two games.
Most recently they were smashed 4-0 at home to Chelsea; yes Chelsea are a great side but a home defeat like that is embarrassing on all fronts. They now sit just one point above the relegation zone with West Ham yet to play, a win for the Hammers against Watford will see West Brom drop. The players are being drilled to defend and get scrappy results but now I think most Albion fans want to see a bit more entertaining football, especially with the squad that they’ve built up over the summer.
Written by Dan Hargraves. Follow him on twitter @danhargravessfc
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