IT was yet another action packed weekend of football in the best league in the world.
But now it’s time for us at SunSport to look back give our verdict on the biggest talking points from the nine games.
ONE RULE FOR ONE…
Do you remember when Sam Allardyce took West Ham to Stamford Bridge in 2014, stuck everyone behind the ball and escaped with a goalless draw and a point?
“This is football from the 19th Century,” moaned then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.
Fast forward three years and despite facing a notoriously nervy Liverpool defence, Jose’s United managed just one shot on target in a game when Mourinho’s men did little or nothing to try and win the game, playing the kind of unsightly, anti-football that’s completely at odds with the way they tend to do things at Old Trafford.
In days gone by such a performance would have been sold as a ‘Mourinho masterclass’ but they simply won’t buy that at United. It’s just not what they do. He has been warned.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN…
Kevin De Bruyne was, of course, a player that Mourinho moved on when he was Chelsea boss and how he could have done with the Belgian’s vision, creativity and tireless running yesterday.
The Belgian had a hand in four of City’s seven goals against Stoke and you simply won’t see a better pass than the crossfield one he provided for Leroy Sane’s goal.
But, more than that, he picked City up when Stoke got back to 3-2, driving them on to even greater heights and on to a crushing victory. Paul Pogba should be using his time off to watch KDB’s showreel.
OUT OF THE BLUES
Yes, he had a decent game on his return to the Palace line-up and yes, he scored the winner to give the Eagles their first points of the season but come on, this is Wilfried Zaha we’re talking about, not Pele.
He’s not the Messiah. He’s a Manchester United reject.
More interesting at Selhurst Park was how Chelsea coped (or failed to cope) without N’Golo Kante doing what he does best in that holding midfield role. Makes the decision to offload Nemanja Matic even more questionable.
That’s back-to-back defeats for the Blues, the injuries are piling up for Antonio Conte now – Victor Moses is the latest on the sidelines, joining Kante and Alvaro Morata – and they’re losing ground on City and United at the top.
It’s a pivotal moment in Chelsea’s season and the first real test of Conte’s managerial mettle.
HOWE LONG FOR EDDIE?
Ah, little Bournemouth. Tiny ground. Rags to riches. What a story, etc, etc.
Well, that can take you only so far and this season it does seem like time might be running out on the Cherries’ top-flight party.
Manager Eddie Howe says his team are “delivering the gameplan” but not getting the results their performances warrant.
We’re not so convinced.
They’re 19th in the table with just one win so far this season and now four away defeats on the spin to compound matters.
Eddie Howe has taken this club from the gutter to the stars but has he taken them as far as he can?
GUNNER ROUGH YOU UP
Fact. Arsenal’s title challenge is over before it even began. The 2-1 defeat at Watford leaves them in sixth place with just 13 points from eight games, nine adrift of leaders Manchester City.
They’re going nowhere. Again.
Watford’s Troy Deeney, who came off the bench to score, put his finger on just why Arsenal will never challenge for the title with their current squad.
He said: “Whenever I play Arsenal, I’ll go up and think, ‘Let me whack the first one and see who wants it’.
“I came on today and jumped with Mertesacker. I didn’t even have to jump, actually – I nodded it down.
“The crowd gets up – ‘Yeah, we’ve got somebody who can win it’ – and they all just backed off.
“For me as a player I just think, ‘Happy days’… It’s (having) a bit of cojones, a bit of nuts.”
And therein lies the problem for Arsene and Arsenal.
Troy Deeney’s roughhouse tactics don’t always pay dividends.
Just ask Andy Carroll who found himself booked twice in the space of 90 seconds (for the same offence) in West Ham’s 1-1 draw against Burnley and was duly sent off.
“He is what he is,” shrugged Hammers boss Slaven Bilic. “His aggressive style doesn’t suit what the referees want to do and what we want to see today.”
But if you’re Troy Deeney, it’s just fine.
Funny old game.
BOX TO BOX
Assuming you didn’t watch the game via an illegal online stream (we trust you), the only place you could have watched the Brighton v Everton game on Sunday was on Star Sports – in India.
The reason the match was changed to Sunday at 1.30pm, rather than it being a 3pm Saturday kick-off, was that the Premier League assumed it would be picked up by Sky or BT Sport too, only they decided not to bother.
Which, presumably, is what most of the sub-continent wished they’d done too.