Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend action | premier league



1) Tuchel’s tactics disguise his greatest talent

It is true that Thomas Tuchel’s decision to replace Mason Mount with N’Golo Kanté at half-time against Tottenham had a profound impact on the game. But Tuchel’s managerial skills go well beyond training and tactics. Thanks to the strong relationships he forges with players and the team spirit he fosters, he has created an environment in which he can make those decisions with little risk of alienating himself from players like Mount. “Everyone is humble enough to take it,” said captain César Azpilicueta of the half-time conversations. It helps to have players of Kanté’s caliber to call, of course, with his team on their backs. But a willful manager with less emotional intelligence than Tuchel would undoubtedly end up with a dissatisfied and restless group of players, as has happened more than once at Chelsea. Tuchel is a very modern manager, but his old-fashioned expectations of selflessness and teamwork make Chelsea a formidable force. Luke mclaughlin

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2) Greenwood and Sancho pay the price for Ronaldo’s presence

Cristiano Ronaldo scored and Manchester United won. Exceptional news for both. But as United worked their way to a slightly lucky win, you still wonder about their offensive effectiveness. The tactic of stacking crosses in the box may suit Ronaldo and, to a lesser extent, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, who can both deliver well and feast on second balls. But it’s hard to see where Mason Greenwood – who enjoys quick rallies and short passes and has had an upset and frustrating afternoon – fits into this picture. Ditto Jadon Sancho, a late replacement here, or Marcus Rashford on his return. Still, Ronaldo scored and United won. Maybe for now that’s all that matters. Jonathan liew

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3) Konaté offers defensive options to Klopp

When Liverpool beat Crystal Palace in May, they finished the rescue job with rookies Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips as center-backs. In Saturday’s rematch, they could field the incomparable Virgil van Dijk and £ 36million debutant Ibrahima Konaté. “The potential is exceptional,” said Jürgen Klopp. There were glimpses of it: when Konaté followed Wilfried Zaha as they chased a ball diagonally and he forced Christian Benteke to pull away before shooting. Perhaps the only time he was caught was by Odsonne Édouard before Alisson saved Liverpool. “The Premier League teaches you hard lessons,” Klopp explained. “It’s a special league. But in Konate’s maturity and attributes, there were indications that Liverpool’s recruiting squad may have excelled again. “Physics, technique, understanding of the game, it’s all there,” Klopp said. With a full complement of four in-form center-backs, it will be intriguing to see how often he uses Konaté. Richard jolly

Ibrahima Konaté made his Liverpool debut on Saturday. Photograph: Sebastian Frej / MB Media / Getty Images

4) Gabriel gives the Gunners a solid foundation

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal still have a way to go to prove their skeptics wrong after a tough opening month, but back-to-back wins over Norwich and Burnley have at least eased the pressure on the Spaniard somewhat. A big boost for Arteta has been Gabriel’s return, with Arsenal posting consecutive clean sheets since the Brazilian’s return from injury. The 23-year-old was sensational at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon, facing the aerial threat posed by Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes with aplomb. Arsenal have long been looking for a player to command and organize their defensive line, and Arteta certainly hopes they have found the answer in Gabriel, whose partnership with Ben White shows the first signs of real promise. Aaron Bower

5) Bailey could be Villa’s new gamechanger

As Aston Villa prepares to visit Old Trafford next weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjær might be tempted to remind everyone of Manchester United’s game against Nottingham Forest in February 1999, when Solksjær scored four goals in 12 minutes on the bench. This could prevent Villa fans from getting carried away by Leon Bailey’s impact in his 21-minute appearance against Everton on Saturday. Then again, there is a key difference between the two games: United were already leading 4-1 against Forest when Solskjær came on, while Villa was locked in a fierce battle until Bailey turned the game around. In a post-Jack Grealish environment that seems increasingly brilliant, Dean Smith can change the way his team plays from match to match and within matches. Villa are a growing force. United have been warned. Paul Doyle

6) Toney, a contender for England?

It won’t be long before Ivan Toney enters the conversation with England. There’s even an argument that the forward deserved international recognition last season, having scored a record 31 goals in his debut league season. Toney scored a typically nerve-less penalty in the win over Wolves on Saturday, but was a devastation on the pitch, winning fouls to gain territory and countless aerial duels. The 25-year-old has scored (33) or assisted (11) 44 league goals for Brentford, more than any other player in England’s top four levels since the start of last season. Ollie Watkins, who Toney replaced at Brentford after signing from Peterborough, and Patrick Bamford are among those behind Harry Kane in the pecking order, but if he continues like this, domineering Toney will surely prove impossible to ignore for Gareth Southgate. Ben Fisher

7) Practice makes perfect for Guardiola

Manchester City were in rare form of duds against Southampton, their lack of pace remarkable. Pep Guardiola offered an honest assessment of his team’s failures, explaining that the connection between his five full-backs of Kyle Walker, João Cancelo, Rúben Dias, Nathan Aké and Fernandinho had failed to build the game as he demanded. Then the manager explained how it could be fixed. “Train, train,” he said. “Convince them [the players] that this is how we have been doing it for many years and it is good to do it. When something is wrong with our pressing and the game we are playing, we have to practice. We knew how they [Southampton] were going to press, because we played them last season, but we had a bit of a hard time [combat] this. Our football depends a lot on the quality of the preparation process and when it goes well our forwards and wingers play better. And our attacking midfielders too. We struggled a bit. ” Jamie jackson

Fernandinho goes to ground against Southampton
Fernandinho was not at his best against Southampton. Photograph: Matthew Ashton – AMA / Getty Images

8) high-flying seagulls landed a good deal

In a transfer window dominated by megastars and superclubs, Marc Cucurella’s £ 15million transfer from Getafe to Brighton has gone largely unnoticed, but early signs point to Graham Potter hitting the jackpot. Brighton has been strangely short of specialist left-backs in recent years, with Dan Burn usually being asked to replace him. Burn (6ft 7in, wide shoulders, short back and sides) is a good defender, but his deployment to the back has always seemed at odds with Potter’s front foot approach and it’s fair to say that Cucurella ( 5ft 8in, slender frame, fluid black locks) is a completely different player. On his home debut, the Spaniard played more passes and did so with greater precision than any of his teammates. He also spent more time in the opposition half than his. The shrewd-bearded Spaniard won’t look out of place in the chic cafes of Brighton; in a division filled with first-class full-backs, he already seems at home. Alex hess

9) Sublime Sarr exposes the weaknesses of Norwich

Norwich and Watford may have been promoted together, but the quality of Ismaila Sarr provided a painful Premier League lesson for Daniel Farke’s side. Defensive fragility will be ruthlessly punished in the top flight and Sarr’s pace and skill have plagued the local defense. Ozan Kabak’s weak attempt to challenge Emmanuel Dennis before his header opened did little to help. After Norwich struggled to get back in what seemed like a crucial confidence-building game, Sarr scored twice to take the game away from them. The winger is constantly starting to get the best of himself, the kind of form that can help the Hornets stay in the middle of the table. Perhaps the problem for Watford is retaining a player who was linked to bigger clubs during the summer. Norwich is down and useless, but if there’s anything to hold onto it’s Teemu Pukki’s flawless finish that tied the game at 1-1. His goals may offer hope, but Norwich are certain to be relegated again if they don’t improve at the back. Luke mclaughlin

10) Bruce and Bielsa could both use a win

Tactical lawlessness reigned over the grounds of St James’ Park, as the mood in the stands changed from mutiny to passionate support, sometimes within the same minute. Chaos and confusion reigned. Make no mistake, Steve Bruce is deeply unloved by the majority of Newcastle fans – many of whom have been clamoring for his head – but home fans have appreciated their team’s determination and, in particular, Allan’s attacking talent. Saint-Maximin. The Frenchman’s equalizer left both sides in search of their first Premier League wins of the season and Marcelo Bielsa looked unusually anxious. This is the first time in three years that Leeds have made five league appearances without a win and injuries to Raphinha and Luke Ayling on Friday highlight the downside to the manager’s determination to rely on a relatively small pool of professionals. seniors. The average age of the visitors’ bench was 19 and this lack of experienced cover could prove costly. Louise taylor


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