Accueil Sports 10 talking points from Premier League weekend as Man City suffer shock...

10 talking points from Premier League weekend as Man City suffer shock defeat

Manchester United’s late win at Brighton in Saturday’s lunchtime game set the tone for a frantic weekend of Premier League action.

The penalty the Red Devils received deep into added time also raised questions of the new handball rules, with Crystal Palace and Tottenham’s results further fanning the flames.

Elsewhere, Leeds condemned last season’s high-fliers Sheffield United to three defeats in a row while West Ham picked up their first points of the season with an eye-catching 4-0 thumping of Wolves.

But the upset of the weekend was no doubt Leicester’s 5-2 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad in which the Foxes punished their hosts for their dismal defending and Jamie Vardy struck a hat-trick.

There’s much more to discuss, so here are 10 talking points from Saturday and Sunday’s action.

1. Handball furore rages on

Eric Dier was adjudged to have handled the ball
(Image: .)

After Brighton and Crystal Palace lost on Saturday to penalties awarded for handball, the Premier League’s stricter approach to the new law came under fire again following Newcastle’s late penalty for an incident involving Eric Dier.

While anger is being directed at the lawmakers IFAB and FIFA, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, who was critical of the decision which benefited his team, raised the question of whether the Premier League and its referees are not being too zealous in the application of the law and even suggested they ignore the changes.

« The handball has been around for a hundred years. If it is deliberate, no problem, but it has to be clear and obvious. We have lost the plot with it and it loses the spectacle of it, » said Bruce.

« Maybe we can do something about it, we seem to have these phases where we take everything literally in the Premier League and maybe we have to say no to it. »

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2. Do Man City need an overhaul?

Guardiola’s side were made to suffer in their first home game of the season
(Image: Pool via .)

Having surrendered the Premier League title to Liverpool last term by finishing a staggering 18 points behind them, Manchester City will struggle to be title contenders this term if their 5-2 home defeat by Leicester City is anything to go by.

Manager Pep Guardiola could plausibly claim that City might struggle up front with both strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus out injured against Leicester, but a porous-looking rear guard were in trouble every time the visitors came forward.

Kyle Walker and Eric Garcia also looked completely at sea as they gave away clumsy penalties won and clinically converted by Jamie Vardy, while City’s once intimidating pressure in midfield fell apart as enforcers Rodri and Fernandinho could not cope.

With the transfer window closing on Oct. 5, City are reportedly close to signing central defender Ruben Dias from Benfica with Guardiola needing reinforcements capable of adding steel to the backbone of his expensively-assembled squad.

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3. West Ham wait to see if Rice will stay

The Irons face a nervous wait as they hope to hold on to Rice
(Image: West Ham United FC via . Ima)

West Ham United notched their first points of the season with a 4-0 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers, and they face an anxious wait to see if they can hang on to influential midfielder Declan Rice.

The 21-year-old England international, who has been linked with a big-money move to a Chelsea side that played atrociously in the first half of a 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion, was instrumental in the victory.

Along with his team mates and coaches, Rice made all the right noises about how happy he is at the club and how much he wants to stay, but the decision may be taken out of his hands if a big-enough bid comes in.

With the transfer window open until Oct. 5, West Ham fans face an anxious wait to see if they can hang on to one of their key players.

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4. Bamford proving a point

Bamford has scored in each of his three games
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Patrick Bamford had managed just one goal in 27 appearances in the Premier League prior to this season but the Leeds United striker has answered his doubters by scoring in all three games so far this campaign, including the winner in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United.

Bamford has faced some unfair questions about his work-rate but those looked wide of the mark after the way he led the line for Marcelo Bielsa’s side during Leeds’ promotion push last season, in which he scored 16 goals.

After the way he has started this season with goals against Liverpool, Fulham and Sunday’s 88th-minute header, those who felt he might only be good enough for the Championship are also having to eat their words.

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5. Lampard must solve defensive puzzle

Lampard endured a torrid night at West Brom
(Image: PA)

Chelsea travelled to West Bromwich Albion expecting three points to keep up with the Premier League pacesetters but found themselves three goals down after an early defensive collapse.

Chelsea fought back to grab a 3-3 draw but all three of West Brom’s goals resulted from glaring defensive errors and, with their new Brazil defender Thiago Silva at fault for the second goal on his league debut, Lampard will have plenty on his mind.

Marcos Alonso and Silva were guilty of being careless on the ball and Kyle Bartley was left unmarked to score, suggesting there are issues of concentration that need to be dealt with.

Chelsea’s attacking talents appear to be gelling but unless they get to grips with their defensive frailties, the Blues could quickly find themselves among the league’s also-rans.

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6. Solskjaer sticks with Pogba despite slow post-Covid recovery

Pogba has been off the pace and may risk losing his spot to Van de Beek
(Image: Manchester United via . Imag)

Paul Pogba spent much of Manchester United’s short pre-season recovering from coronavirus so it was surprising to see him in the starting lineup against Brighton & Hove Albion after struggling in last week’s 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.

The France midfielder once again looked woefully off the pace, failing to break up Brighton’s play or do much to help the attack, with Bruno Fernandes doing all the heavy lifting.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to stick with Pogba was all the more baffling given that United have a fit Donny van de Beek who is keen to impress and gave the team more energy and purpose when he did replace Pogba in the dramatic 3-2 win.

The manager admitted Pogba was still far from 100%, saying the minutes he got will help him regain full fitness, but right now the Norwegian’s willingness to get the player up to speed appears to be at the expense of his team’s fluidity.

Should Solskjaer persevere with Pogba or hand Van de Beek a start? Have your say here.

7. Handball law changing the game

Hodgson says the handball rule is « ruining the game of football »
(Image: .)

There was more controversy surrounding the interpretation of the handball law in two of Saturday’s games — with both decisions deciding the outcomes.

Everton were awarded a penalty, which secured a 2-1 away victory, after the ball struck Crystal Palace defender Joel Ward, who appeared to be pulling his arm away from its flight.

Brighton lost after a stoppage-time penalty given to Manchester United when Neal Maupay was also ruled to have handled – a less controversial call under the current interpretation of the law but one which would probably would not have been given had the emphasis on intent remained in place.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson is not the only one in the game wondering if the lawmakers at soccer’s rule-making IFAB are creating more problems than they are solving.

« I predict what will happen is players will start flicking the ball on to a hand and screaming handball!, » he said.

« I think the rule is a nonsense… It is ruining the game of football, no question of that ».

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8. Calvert-Lewin continues prolific start

Calvert-Lewin has started the season with a bang
(Image: .)

A 13-goal return after 36 Premier League games last season raised questions over Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s ability to lead the line for Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton.

But the 23-year-old ace has answered those questions emphatically by finding the back of the net five times in the opening three matches.

Calvert-Lewin followed up his expertly-taken winner against Tottenham on the opening day with a hat-trick against West Brom last weekend.

And he continued his fine form with an opener against Crystal Palace which showed his increasingly eye-catching striker’s movement and instincts.

Calvert-Lewin is the league’s joint-top scorer and his goals have fired Everton to a 100 per cent start and cemented their place as contenders for European football.

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9. Dyche calls for recruitment

Dyche says his injury-struck side needs strengthening
(Image: CameraSport via .)

« We need players, » was the message from Sean Dyche after Burnley suffered a first home top-flight defeat to Southampton since 1971.

The Clarets were sunk by Danny Ings’ early opener as the Saints returned to winning ways and condemned Burnley to back-to-back defeats.

With seven senior players absent through injury, Dyche urged the board to invest in new personnel before the end of the transfer window.

« The chairman knows what is required. Action. We need players. It is a challenge though, here, it always has been, » the Burnley boss told Sky Sports .

« We have two experienced defenders on the bench and that is it. We are reliant on what we have. It is a challenge but we will have players back fit. »

10. Vardy’s remarkable run

Vardy grabbed a hat-trick to make it five goals in three games
(Image: Leicester City FC via . Imag)

Three games, five shots, five goals – it doesn’t get more clinical than that.

Jamie Vardy continues to show no sign of letting up and was at his unplayable best during the 5-2 thumping of Manchester City.

The 33-year-old is ice cold from 12 yards but also showed his trickery and finishing is as sharp as ever by winning two of his side’s three spot kicks and scoring the Foxes’ second of the evening with a deft flick.

While it’s unlikely his 100 per cent shot accuracy or conversion rate will last much longer, the Golden Boot holder is set for another prolific campaign.

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