By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from Premier League match-week three
- Full results
Manchester United continued their perfect start to the season whilst Arsenal’s problems came to the forefront. That plus more in our five lessons learned from match-week three.
Manchester United pass their first big test
Manchester United had made an imperious start to the season with back to back 4-0 victories, but there were still question marks surrounding them given the quality of the opposition. Leicester were the first real test many said prior to kick off. Their counter attacking ability would make them the first to really test the United defence, or so we thought.
Jose Mourinho’s side kept the Foxes fairly quiet in an attacking sense, and goals from Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini, both of which came off the bench, secured a 2-0 home win for the Red Devils.
Heading into the first International break, United have most certainly been the best team in the first three games. Of course, there are still questions regarding how they match up against the top six, but for now they look like a team that can go all the way.
Leicester have shown enough to safely say they will have a solid season. Yes, they have two defeats already, but both of them were against top six opposition. It will be interesting to see if Riyad Mahrez will stay at the club, or has he played his last game for the Foxes?
There are still big problems at Arsenal
When Arsenal took to the field to face Liverpool on Sunday, many expected a high scoring competitive contest, much like their most recent meetings. What we got was a massacre. Liverpool ran out 4-0 victors in a very one sided match which could have easily finish six or seven nil if not for Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal. Roberto Firmino opened the scoring before Sadio Mane made it two. Further goals from Mohamed Salah and substitute Daniel Sturridge completed an easy victory.
The scoreline and nature of the defeat is bad enough for Arsene Wenger, but what was really concerning was the performance. Liverpool are known as quick starters, yet there was nothing done to counter that. The defence was non-existent, and the midfield was unwilling to help them out.
Going forward, the Gunners were hardly firing too- they did not hit a single shot on target the whole game. They were poor all round and wee lucky Liverpool did not score more. Question marks remain over the future of some of the players at Arsenal, including Alexis Sanchez. Investment may be needed to cover any leavers.
Liverpool will be gutted there is an International break as they have built up some good momentum after a poor opening game. Once again they looked very sharp going forward, and if they can bring in a top class defender, then they could challenge for the title.
Celebrating with the fans should not get a player sent off
It was a thrilling climax at the Vitality on Saturday. It looked like Bournemouth had secured a point at home to Manchester City, but deep into stoppage time, two minutes after the allocated five, Raheem Sterling netted a winner. It was gutting for Bournemouth, but the thrill of a last minute goal was ripe was the Citizens and their supporters. Sterling ran to celebrate with the travelling City fans, a celebration that resulted in him seeing a second yellow card and being banned for the match against Liverpool in two weeks time.
Football first and foremost is a form of entertainment and the fans are vital to that. Without supporters, the sport would not exist and that has to be remembered. Moments like a last minute winner should be celebrated with the faithful and loyal people who follow the team week in and week out, through the highs and lows.
In my opinion, this should not be punished. There is already a degree of separation between the sport and the fans with the increased ticket prices being a huge factor. Moments bridging that gap should be encouraged, not punished.
Wembley may be a problem for Spurs
Tottenham dropped points at home again on Sunday as Chris Wood’s late equaliser secured a point for Burnley at Wembley. Spurs had taken the lead through Dele Alli earlier in the second half, but the new signing from Leeds scored in stoppage time to rescue a point for the Clarets. Burnley now have four points from their opening three games, all of which came away at the top two from last season.
It is becoming evident that Wembley may be a problem for Tottenham this season. They struggled here at the Champions League last year, and evidence suggests they have yet top fully adjust in their temporary home. They will need to adapt fast if they are to challenge for the title again this year. White Hart Lane was such a fortress last season and they need to find that form inside Wembley and soon or they could get left behind.
Man United looks excellent, Man City look like challengers, and Chelsea have gotten their act together after a poor result on the first match-week. Spurs have yet to show they are on that level so far. The good news for them is, there is still plenty of time.
It will be a dog fight to avoid relegation
It is too early on in the season to say who will be fighting to avoid relegation, but if the first three games are an indication, it will most certainly be a dog fight. Crystal Palace’s woes continued after another defeat at home to Swansea. Frank de Boer was brought in to make them play like his Ajax side, but so far his philosophy has not taken with his new side.
West Ham are also pointless after three games after a crushing defeat at Newcastle. It was a big boost for Rafael Benitez to get his first win of the season on the board, but what is going on at West Ham? On paper they have a very good side, but so far they have not clicked at all.
Brighton got their first Premier League point at Watford. Miguel Britos was sent off in the first half, so the Seagulls may feel they should have gotten more out of a game against ten men.
Niall extended his lead in the prediction standings by another point this week with a score of seven on match-week three to Neil’s six. The difference in the end was just a single result. If only Huddersfield scored then the week’s result would be the other way round.
Neil grabbed his first correct score of the season with his bold prediction of Tottenham 1-1 Burnley being the pick of the week. Niall got one of his own with a less gutsy Chelsea 2-0 Everton. Overall Niall has 25 points with Neil on 13 after three games. There are still 35 more match-weeks to go, so plenty of time for Neil to turn it around.
|Bournemouth 1-3 Man City||1||Bournemouth 0-3 Man City||1|
|Crystal Palace 0-0 Swansea||0||Crystal Palace 1-1 Swansea||0|
|Huddersfield 1-1 Southampton||1||Huddersfield 2-1 Southampton||0|
|Newcastle 0-1 West Ham||0||Newcastle 1-2 West Ham||0|
|Watford 2-0 Brighton||0||Watford 3-1 Brighton||0|
|Man United 2-1 Leicester||1||Man United 3-1 Leicester||1|
|Chelsea 2-0 Everton||3||Chelsea 2-1 Everton||1|
|West Brom 1-0 Stoke||0||West Brom 1-0 Stoke||0|
|Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal||1||Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal||0|
|Tottenham 2-1 Burnley||0||Tottenham 1-1 Burnley||3|
|Week 3 total
||7||Week 3 total||6|
Full Premier League results
Bournemouth 1-2 Man City
Crystal Palace 0-2 Swansea
Huddersfield 0-0 Southampton
Newcastle 3-0 West Ham
Watford 0-0 Brighton
Man United 2-0 Leicester
Chelsea 2-0 Everton
West Brom 1-1 Stoke
Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
Tottenham 1-1 Burnley
The Premier League returns on September 9th
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