Premier League Roundup: Major Talking Points from Matchweek 11
From an end-to-end thriller at the Emirates, to a controversy-laden 90 at the Molyneux, and a demolition at the Etihad, Matchweek 11 in the Premier League did not disappoint the neutral, or many fans of the top 6 clubs. West Ham, Huddersfield, and Newcastle picked up some much needed wins, while Fulham and Cardiff continue to sit rock-bottom, after both fell to tough, 1-0 losses. Here are some of the major talking points from matchweek 11:
Arsenal surprise us with a complete performance, picking up a solid point
If you've watched Arsenal this season, you might have noticed some of the progress they've made under new manager Unai Emery. Some exquisite combination play has been on display all season, along with the 'playing out from the back' style, and a newly compact midfield. However, the Gunners have picked up the reputation of being slow starters, and rightfully so. In nearly every match this season, Arsenal have been carved open by their opposition in the first half, but eventually win comfortably. This narrative completely changed against Liverpool.
Arsenal flew out the gates in both halves on Saturday, and were truthfully quite unlucky not to win. Alexandre Lacazette showed off his composure and his "utter precision" as Peter Drury put it, to win a solid point for the Gunners. Torreira, Xhaka, Mustafi, and Holding were particularly impressive.
Liverpool's front 3 aren't scoring at their normal rate, but the Reds seem more balanced.
If you watched any football last year you will most likely have heard plenty about Liverpool's normally electric front 3 of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah. 3 world-class players that are among the best in the world at what they do.
Yet, this season they've all seemed to be at a level significantly lower than what they're normally at. Don't get me wrong, their numbers are still pretty good and they're playing pretty well as a collective, but why have the numbers dropped? The answer likely lies in Jurgen Klopp's management. In the first half of last season, Liverpool were extremely weak defensively. This caused Klopp to utilize and rely on the scoring abilities of his forwards to win them matches. This worked for the most part at the time, but now that Liverpool have 2 leaders at the back in Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson, along with more quality in midfield, it seems the Reds have matured and balanced out a bit more. Jurgen Klopp has also been very focused on game management.
Manchester City hit lowly Southampton for 6 as the Saints continue to disappoint.
The appointment of Mark Hughes at Southampton was a very underwhelming one. The Saints have thrived in the past with innovative, foreign managers such as Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman. The decision to enter themselves into the revolving door of homegrown managers was a poor one, and Southampton now sit in-and-around the relegation zone, just as they did last season. On Sunday against Manchester City, they looked like nothing more than schoolboys who wanted to run home to their mum. It was that bad.
City on the other hand, flexed their attacking muscles throughout the match. Their combination play and wide overloads completely split the Saints into a hundred pieces. It seems that Pep's team is even better than they were last season.
Leicester City victorious in first-game after chairman Srivaddhanaprabha's tragic death.
It was an emotional win for Leicester over Cardiff on Saturday, as the match came just a week after the tragic death of highly-adored chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
Perhaps the biggest talking point was referee Lee Probert showing goalscorer Demarai Gray a yellow card for taking off his shirt to reveal an undershirt with "For Vichai" printed onto it. This was a widely discussed topic on social media over the weekend, with some claiming it was out of order from Probert, and others claiming that its simply the rules. Neither is incorrect, but at the end of the day, the card made no difference.
Spurs beat Watford in controversy-ladden match at the Molyneux.
It was a tighter win than Spurs were expecting on Saturday. Of course, going away to a team with as much quality as Wolves is no easy task, but Spurs are the better and more experienced team. Wolves were electric to start the match and were largely the better side in the first half, but again, Spurs' experience earned them 2 quick goals in the 27th and 30th minutes through Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
Then, the controversy hit.
Wolves scored a beautiful goal to surely make it 2-1, but the play was then called back for an offside. Replays showed that there was no offside on the sequence, and the goal most certainly should have stood. Another clear-cut example of why VAR is needed in the Premier League. Young Argentine CB Juan Foyth made the win quite a bit more difficult for Spurs, conceding 2 penalties, but they held on for a stressful win regardless.