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    Monday, August 27, 2018

    Five things we learned from the Premier League


    Liverpool moved into pole position in the Premier League, while champions Manchester City dropped points for the first time.


    Chelsea showed patience to extend their perfect start and Arsenal secured their first win.

    Here are five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:


    Is Kompany creaking?
    Vincent Kompany celebrated a decade at Manchester City this week and is one of the faces of the Sheikh Mansour revolution that has transformed the club. But is Pep Guardiola putting too much faith in the 32-year-old? The Premier League champions showed some alarming defensive lapses during their disappointing 1-1 draw with newly-promoted Wolves on Saturday — their first dropped points of the campaign. Kompany, making his 250th Premier League appearance, was wayward with his passing and was booked in the first half after a lunging challenge. Guardiola is not short of defensive options, with England World Cup star John Stones on the bench. Is it time for him to bite the bullet and look to the future?

    Alisson paying back big fee
    Liverpool dazzled last season with their thrilling attacking play but despite another goal for the prolific Mohamed Salah in a 1-0 win against Brighton, it is their defence that is catching the eye this campaign. Jurgen Klopp’s side — tipped to give Manchester City a run for their money in the title race — are the only team not to have conceded a goal so far in the Premier League. Klopp did not feel the need to focus on his back four in the summer transfer market after splashing a world record £75 million ($96.3 million) for a defender on Virgil van Dijk in January. But the acquisition of Brazilian international goalkeeper Alisson Becker is already paying dividends. Alisson produced a vital save to deny Pascal Gross an equaliser at Anfield two minutes from time on Saturday and looks every bit a £65 million goalkeeper, even if Klopp is still getting used to his abundant confidence with the ball at his feet.

    Chelsea show patience
    Faced with a massed Newcastle defence often featuring all 10 of their out-field players, Chelsea could have been forgiven for feeling it would not be their day as the minutes ticked away at St James’ Park. The Blues enjoyed 80 percent of the possession for long periods without prising open the stubborn Newcastle rearguard. But their perseverance was finally rewarded when Marcos Alonso won a penalty that was converted by Eden Hazard in the 76th minute. Even Newcastle’s equaliser through Joselu minutes later could not rattle Maurizio Sarri’s side, who dug deep to snatch their third successive win with three minutes left when DeAndre Yedlin deflected Alonso’s shot into his own net.

    No Ozil? No problem
    Mesut Ozil was conspicuous by his absence as Arsenal claimed their first win under new boss Unai Emery. Emery was quick to deny reports of a training-ground row with Ozil, stating the Germany international’s absence was due to illness. How quickly Ozil returns to the starting line-up, however, remains to be seen as Emery’s desire for Arsenal to play with energy and press high was evident during a 3-1 win over West Ham, who are still pointless after three games.

    No hope for Huddersfield or Cardiff?
    Huddersfield and Cardiff are favourites to be relegated this season and it is easy to see why after both sides played out a turgid 0-0 draw at the John Smith’s stadium on Saturday. Unlike fellow promoted sides Wolves and Fulham, Cardiff did not splash their newfound TV cash in the transfer market and have failed to score a single goal in their opening three games despite twice playing against 10 men. Huddersfield’s Jonathan Hogg saw red as the hosts held out to at least register their first point of the season. But on this evidence a long, hard campaign awaits.


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    Item Reviewed: Five things we learned from the Premier League Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Olaniyan Tosin
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