Manchester United are the MOST in-form team in the league despite their struggles, Villa Park is becoming a fortress under Unai Emery and Cole Palmer shows Man City what they’re missing… 10 THINGS WE LEARNED from the Premier League weekend
- The Premier League produced a high-scoring weekend of top-flight action
- Man City and Chelsea played out an enthralling 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge
- City had their pants pulled down by a development team – It’s All Kicking Off
The final Premier League weekend before the international break provided more brilliant entertainment and surprising results.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag momentarily eased the the club’s turbulent form by beating Luton 1-0 at Old Trafford to move within three points of the top four.
Chelsea and Man City played out a classic English top-flight encounter with Cole Palmer scoring in stoppage time at Stamford Bridge to salvage a 4-4 draw for the hosts.
While, Tottenham were beaten for just the second time this season as Wolves came from behind to clinch a famous victory over Ange Postecoglou’s side at Molineux.
Mail Sport looks at the big talking points from another action-packed weekend of Premier League action.
Manchester City and Chelsea played out an exciting 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday
Manchester United moved closer to the Premier League’s top four by beating Luton at Old Trafford
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1. Are Manchester United really in crisis?
Manchester United have been in a bleak situation since virtually the start of the season. They are bottom of their Champions League group and at risk of crashing out, while also being eliminated from the Carabao Cup and currently outside the Premier League’s top four.
To make matters worse, their forward line is not firing with just one Premier League goal between forwards Marcus Rashford, Antony, Alejandro Garnacho, Rasmus Hojlund and Anthony Martial.
Yet, after beating Luton 1-0, Erik Ten Hag’s side are the most in-form over the last five Premier League games with four wins and one loss.
Although these wins came against bottom-half opposition, their run shows an ability to get over the line – with United being the only remaining team to not draw a match this season.
2. Villa Park is turning into a fortress
Aston Villa extended their home winning streak to 13 games after beating Fulham 3-1. Unai Emery has guided his side to 14 Premier League victories at Villa Park this year which is as many as they managed in their previous two seasons combined.
John McGinn produced a man of the match performance against Fulham after a well-taken goal and won the most duels of any Villa player this season in the game (15).
England manager Gareth Southgate, who was present to watch Villa beat Brighton 6-1 earlier in the season, has given a nod to the club’s form by rewarding centre-back Ezri Konsa with his first senior England call-up.
Aston Villa extended their home winning streak to 13 games after beating Fulham 3-1
Villa’s brilliant home form has placed them fifth in the league standings heading into the international break
3. Cole Palmer shows City what they’re missing
For only the fifth time in Premier League history and the first time since 2009, fans at Stamford Bridge witnessed four equalising goals in a thrilling 4-4 draw.
Man City academy product Cole Palmer – who joined Chelsea in the summer for £43million – showed the utmost composure to score the game’s final goal from the penalty spot in stoppage time and has also been rewarded with a first senior England call-up.
However, despite youth running through the Chelsea squad, Thiago Silva became the club’s oldest goal-scorer at the age of 39.
Cole Palmer scored a stoppage time equaliser for Chelsea against his former side in an end-to-end match
4. The Nunez/Salah link-up is unmatched
Step aside Son Heung-min and James Maddison because Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah have created the most chances when combining (19) and assisted more times than any other duo in the league this season.
Throughout his Liverpool career so far, all seven of Nunez’s league assists have been for his forward partner Salah.
The Egyptian reached the 200-goal mark in English football with a brace in the 3-0 win over Brentford and joined Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer by either scoring or assisting in 15 consecutive Premier League home games.
5. Sheffield United’s lucky goals record
Only Burnley have scored fewer goals than Sheffield United this season and as a side struggling to score, it always helps if the opposition do it for you.
The Blades earned a solid point at Brighton at the weekend and were helped by an Adam Webster own goal, shortly after Mahmoud Dahoud was sent off for the hosts.
This is the third time this season Sheffield United have benefitted from an own goal, accounting for 30 per cent of their goals in total and placing them as the Premier League’s greatest beneficiaries of own goals.
Sheffield United claimed a point against Brighton via Adam Webster’s own goal which is the third time they have benefitted from an own goal this season
6. Good set piece delivery still earns Premier League points
The modern game is dominated by an ever-growing emphasis for slick open-play football.
But, strong dead-ball delivery remains an evergreen talent, capable of turning a game on its head.
In West Ham’s 3-2 victory over Nottingham Forest, their comeback from 2-1 down was completed courtesy of two James Ward-Prowse corners that were converted by headers from Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek.
Since the start of the 2020/21 Premier League season, Ward-Prowse has a remarkable 17 dead-ball assists and is joined by only one other player, Aaron Cresswell, in achieving over 10.
West Ham’s weekend win against Nottingham Forest was completed courtesy of two James Ward-Prowse corners
7. Bukayo Saka is incredibly difficult to stop
After assisting in Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Burnley, Bukayo Saka has now scored or assisted against all 24 teams he has faced in the Premier League.
The winger’s header assisted Leandro Trossard, who nodded in whilst colliding with the back-post to score the 1000th goal at the Emirates in all competitions.
Arsenal’s star-boy has developed a strong connection with Trossard and has assisted all of the Belgian’s three league goals this season. Their chemistry may prove key with the Gunners first choice striker Gabriel Jesus out with a hamstring problem.
8. Super sub Sarabia shows how it’s done
Coming off the bench is a skill and substitutes everywhere can watch the tapes of Pablo Sarabia this weekend after he starred in Wolves’ 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur to see how it’s done.
The Spaniard was introduced in the 87th minute and scored four minutes later. If the equaliser wasn’t enough, Sarabia then sent Mario Lemina through for the winner.
He becomes the latest introduced substitute to register a goal and assist in a single Premier League game.
Pablo Sarabia starred for Wolves at the weekend after coming off the bench to score and assist in home win over Spurs
9. Dominic Solanke’s hotshot form
After scoring twice at the weekend to earn Bournemouth a 2-0 win over injury-riddled Newcastle, Solanke brought his league tally to six goals with Erling Haaland and Callum Wilson being the only strikers to have outscored the Cherries star.
His double was the first time he has scored two in a league game since facing Leicester in 2020, while Solanke has already matched his league tally from last year.
Dominic Solanke scored twice against Newcastle to match his league goals tally from last season
10. Sean Dyche has improved Everton
Everton recorded an impressive 3-2 victory at Crystal Palace, with a late winner from Idrissa Gueye, which left them four points better off than this time last season.
Wins over Brentford, West Ham and Bournemouth have also helped improve their record as well as points earned against Sheffield United and Brighton.
The Toffees have also benefited from an increased attacking threat with Abdoulaye Doucoure having scored four, Dominic Calvert-Lewin in a good vein of form and summer-signing Jack Harrison providing a goal and three assists in six games.
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.
It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.
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