By Neil Leverett
- Liverpool continue 100% Premier League with narrow win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane
- Manchester City see off Everton, as Spurs bounce back from defeat against Southampton, whilst Manchester United and Arsenal share spoils
- Leicester City cement top-six credentials, Norwich lose second game on bounce, whilst Wolves win first league game of season
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – With Liverpool clinging on to their 100% record this season with victory against Sheffield United, what did we learn from the Premier League Gameweek 7?
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Reds have fortune on side
For Liverpool so far this season it is very much a case of so far, so good. After seven games, the Reds have 21 points on the board – the maximum on offer to start the campaign, but Jurgen Klopp‘s men were made to fight for their win, indeed were handed a fair dose of good fortune against Sheffield United.
Whilst the Merseysiders have very much earned their spot at the top of the tree, the visitors needed an uncharacteristic fumble from Blades’ ‘keeper Dean Henderson to see Liverpool home in Yorkshire.
On an early Saturday afternoon, the Reds struggled to get a real foothold against their opponents and on another day, the hosts may have inflicted a shock defeat on the European champions.
Georginio Wijnaldum‘s goal however made the vital difference, and to any doubters that Liverpool may have all the pieces dropping in their favour this term, the hand of grace on the Red’s shoulder in Gameweek 7 will surely convince those voices otherwise.
Foxes on the hunt
Buoyed from their win over Spurs in Gameweek 6, Leicester City confirmed their potential as top six candidates this season in dismantling ten-man Newcastle United in ruthless fashion.
With Jamie Vardy notching another two goals to add to his tally, the Foxes’ tail is now in full wag, indeed Brendan Rodgers‘ men have now won four of the last five Premier League games, with Leicester showing increasing signs their team is gelling together – in all areas.
Having netted five without the services of the injured James Maddison also, Leicester continue the upwardly mobile ventures this season. With a trip to Anfield the weekend however, we will perhaps know more about Rodgers’ men and their position to challenge the top flight elite by Saturday teatime.
Pepe must step up
The very two sides the Foxes are likely to threaten come May played out a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Monday night, as both Manchester United and Arsenal showed visible signs of the their relative struggles to balance out their side.
Whilst the Red Devils were guilty of spurning a number of chances to add to their growing miss catalogue this term, Unai Emery‘s men also lacked a killer instinct in the final third with Nicolas Pepe coming in for further criticism.
Though true the Ivorian international is still yet to truly bed into life in the Premier League, Gameweek 7 saw growing concerns of Pepe not living up to his club-record price-tag – that which in turn has done little to relieve the pressure on the former Lille man’s shoulder.
Having scored just once thus far – from the penalty spot versus Aston Villa – the Gunners burgeoning Buyako Saka is currently eclipsing Pepe on the opposite flank, and with this weekend seeing the final game before the second international break of the season, Arsenal’s pace merchant must soon step up. That begins with a tricky game at home versus AFC Bournemouth on Sunday.
Mahrez giving Pep conundrum
One player not struggling for form is Riyad Mahrez, who in his second season with Manchester City looks to be back to his best and whilst giving the Citizens a huge plus, also adds to the potential headaches of Pep Guardiola.
Making less than 15 top flight starts last term, Mahrez has been named in the champions’ starting XI for three out of seven Gameweeks in this campaign. In those trio of games, Mahrez has either scored of assisted for his side, with a tally two goals and three assists – together with his opening day treble – seeing the winger star.
The options are many for Guardiola in the wide areas, but as Raheem Sterling takes somewhat of a dip, Mahrez’s picture this season looks set to play a far more colourful role. Having cost £60m last summer from Leicester, Mahrez looks to be finally returning to his Premier League-winning form.
Hornets now favourite for drop?
As the bottom two sides meet in the league on Gameweek 7, a Matt Doherty-led Wolves win at Molineux, leaves Watford staring down the barrel even at this early stage of the new season into October.
With just two solitary points from seven outings, the Hornets are already three points separated from 19th-placed Newcastle with already an overly concerning minus 16 goal difference – conceding 20 and scoring just four times.
Into their second manager already in Herfordshire, Quique Sanchez Flores‘ return to Vicarage Road almost looks like a stabilizing job for life in the Championship and at this point, few could realistically argue that scenario.
This weekend, Watford entertain a side who few expected to compete this season in the Blades. Instead, Chris Wilder‘s side could put an early nail in the coffin for the Hornets, or can they yet put the sting back in their wings?
Premier League Gameweek 8 begins on Saturday, as Brighton & Hove Albion host Tottenham Hotspur, kick-off 12:30pm.
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