Arsenal broke the bank to sign their two star strikers and they appear to be forming a partnership capable of pushing the Gunners up the league table. This 2-0 victory was all about Arsenal’s two frontmen who cost the club almost £100 million; Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. The duo now have six goals in four games between them and continue to look like a duo worthy of leading Emery’s side to a top four finish this season. It might be early on in the campaign, but having Aubameyang – a player with blistering pace who can stretch defences, as well as score goals by the bucket load – gives Arsenal a new dimension. Lacazette’s ability to pressure opposition defenders and create space with his intelligent runs means that the north Londoners have an attacking duo most teams will be very jealous of.
Kane back in form?
If Anthony Knockaert had doubled his stoppage-time haul on Saturday, thoughts would have turned to the moment a few minutes earlier when – with Tottenham 2-0 up – Harry Kane ran clear only to see his effort saved by Matt Ryan. The miss did not prove costly and it is fairer on Kane that he was not rounded upon as a result. He probably still needs a rest but this was a sharper display from the centre-forward. “Of course I could have done better in most games this season,” he said afterwards. “Today was probably the first game I was truly happy with my all-round performance.” His first-half penalty, lashed past Ryan, was certainly not the finish of a player lacking confidence and he will hope the dust has settled on what – by his and Tottenham’s high standards – has been a turbulent spell. Our free football tipster had a cracking run on this game, make sure you get on with the inplay football tips when you can!
Burnley bounce back
This was not the result anyone would have expected after the start each club made. Burnley experiencing a tough run of form some would say negatively affected by their participation in the Europa League. Bournemouth, on the other hand, had just hit Leicester for four. Cherries boss Eddie Howe probably had a shrewd idea the club who were bottom at kick-off would be anxious to stage a revival. Sean Dyche’s side did just that and, though the manager deserves credit for promoting Matej Vydra to score the all-important first goal – Burnley had not previously taken the lead in the league all season – he was also rewarded for his continued faith in Aaron Lennon. End product has not always been the winger’s strong point and his recent form must have put him among the candidates to be rested or dropped, yet with a well-taken goal and two assists the 31-year-old fully justified his continued selection.
City four for four?
Pep Guardiola witnessed his Manchester City return to their ruthless selves and, while thrashing relegation favourites Cardiff is unlikely to hold the key to their hopes of retaining the title, it was another baby step on their mission. On Tuesday, they travel to Oxford United in the Carabao Cup as they continue to fight for silverware on four fronts, that blip in the Champions League seemingly been and gone. “The first priority is the Premier League, that is the nicest one,” Guardiola said. “When I see three teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus, and in 10 years, they have won seven leagues, they show me they are the best teams. We want to be consistent and solid in that competition, and after in the knockout games to improve from the mistakes we have had in the past. We are going to try.”
A Palace for away sides
Failure to see off a struggling Newcastle side meant Crystal Palace have won just four times at Selhurst Park in the Premier League this year, having failed to find the net at home in any of their three fixtures there this campaign. The lack of goalscoring alternatives to Wilfried Zaha was all too evident against Newcastle, with Jordan Ayew standing in for the injured Christian Benteke, and failing to take his opportunity to vie for a starting place. A reported agreement to end the dispute between the club and supporters’ group the Holmesdale Fanatics could help restore the vibrant atmosphere the club has become known for in time for their next home match against Wolves, although Hodgson must also address his side’s obvious lack of creativity.
Fulham playing a dangerous but entertaining game
Fulham came up with a deserved reputation as the best footballing side in the Championship and have not changed their style of play this year. With Ryan Sessegnon bombing on from left-back, Jean-Michaël Seri pulling strings in midfield and Luciano Vietto and André Schürrle supporting Aleksandar Mitrovic, they had Watford reeling for the last 30 minutes. Fulham’s continuing problem is defending that would be unacceptable in the second tier. Jokanovic’s reshuffle of his back four resulted in an error-strewn first half – Watford should have taken far greater advantage.
Leicester ‘Mad’ for it
Few Leicester fans pine for Riyad Mahrez, mainly because James Maddison has brought such joy since his arrival from Norwich in the summer. The 21-year-old plays with inventiveness and audacity that make people smile. Claude Puel deserves praise, too, for helping the 21-year-old flourish while giving him more responsibility. “When I saw him in the Championship he played a lot as No 8,” Puel said. “I decided to prepare him to be a No 10 behind the striker because he has the quality.”
Shaqiri not fazed as Liverpool continue shut out
Jürgen Klopp’s tactical change at half-time against Southampton was understandable. Despite the ease with which Liverpool cruised to a seventh successive win, a club record from the start of the season, the visitors frequently broke behind Klopp’s full-backs in the first half. Reverting to a trusted three-man midfield put an end to that after the break. Still, it was a little harsh that Xherdan Shaqiri was the man to make way for James Milner. The Switzerland international was instrumental in breaking down Mark Hughes’s team on his first Liverpool start and could have moved from a floating role into the forward line in the second half. Klopp explained the thinking behind the substitution to Shaqiri. “I explained it was not because of his performance,” he said. “I’m not worried it will cost his confidence. He is a naturally confident boy, and he will play again.”
Speedy ‘super sub’ Traore continues to impress
Club-record signings do not always appear to be specialist substitutes, but Adama Traoré seems to have gained the perhaps unwanted tag of super sub during his first month at his new club. The statistics highlighted the improbable nature of his contribution at Old Trafford: he had more shots than, and as many dribbles as, passes. No one had more attempts on goal than the player who entered proceedings in the 75th minute; no one averages as many dribbles per 90 minutes in the division, though the Spaniard’s time on the pitch amounts to just 131 minutes. If his role as the impact substitute owes something to Helder Costa and Diogo Jota’s effectiveness as starters, it seems a handy tactic designed to target tiring left-backs. Traoré accelerated beyond the luckless Luke Shaw at will. But for David de Gea, he would have conjured a winner, just as he scored a late decider at West Ham in another explosive cameo.
Signs of promise for West Ham
Almost as much as the four points they very much needed after a fruitless opening month, perhaps the most encouraging thing for West Ham from their last two fixtures is they looked like they had a plan. Against Everton they played with some attacking purpose, striking at just the right times to efficiently bag three points, while on Sunday they looked organised, creating a defensive block that Chelsea could not find a way through – no small feat given their perfect record until that point. All of which is especially welcome, as it was a lack of direction that was nearly as concerning as the defeats. Manuel Pellegrini’s team is still most certainly a work in progress, and a lack of attacking penetration without Marko Arnautovic is a worry, but there are at least some promising signs.
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