Three things we learned from the Premier League
Dave Sport Writer
Liverpool and Manchester City continue to move away from their ‘top six’ rivals at the top of the Premier League as Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all dropped points this weekend.
Arsenal and Spurs played out a thrilling 2-2 draw, while United and Chelsea threw away leads to take only a point each from games with Southampton and Sheffield United respectively.
Liverpool eased past Burnley 3-0 to continue their 100 percent start and maintain a two-point lead over City at the top of the table.
Here, AFP Sports looks at three things we learned from the Premier League weekend:
LAPORTE A BIG LOSS FOR CITY
Man City cruised to another routine 4-0 victory over Brighton with Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne in fine form, but victory came at a huge cost that could yet have a big bearing on the title race.
Defender Aymeric Laporte was stretchered off with a nasty looking knee injury late in the first-half with City boss Pep Guardiola predicting the Frenchman “will be out for a while.”
Centre-back is arguably the only area of the field where the champions are not blessed with great strength in depth.
City decided against signing more cover there despite the departure of former captain Vincent Kompany at the end of last season.
Laporte has been by a distance City’s outstanding centre-back over the past year with Guardiola calling him the best left-footed player in his position in the world on Friday.
Should he be sidelined for a long period, Guardiola will be forced to rely on the inconsistent Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones, or move holding midfielder Fernandinho into defence as he did for the second-half against Brighton.
SHORT-HANDED MAN UTD STUMBLE AGAIN
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rued missed chances as his side failed to win for the third straight game in a 1-1 draw against 10-man Southampton on Saturday.
The Red Devils have now won just one of their last 10 matches stretching back to a disappointing end to last season and they look ill-equipped to deal with the rigours of a long campaign having sold Romelu Lukaku and loaned out Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan without buying any forwards over the summer.
Solskjaer insisted on Friday he is happy for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to carry the goalscoring burden, but with Martial out injured for the trip to St. Mary’s, Rashford, still just 21, had to bear that responsibility alone.
Mason Greenwood, 17, came off the bench in the search of a winner, but with so few attacking options to call on, a lack of firepower looks likely to be a familiar failing of United’s season.
BALANCING ACT AHEAD FOR ARSENAL
Arsenal, by contrast, are blessed with attacking talent as Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started together for the first time in Sunday’s thrilling 2-2 draw against Tottenham in the north London derby.
However, the difficult task that faces Unai Emery in fielding all three of his star forwards was laid bare as Arsenal were torn apart on the counter-attack by Spurs.
Lacazette started the fightback in first-half stoppage time, but it wasn’t until he was sacrificed for Aubameyang to play in his favoured central role that Arsenal equalised as the Gabon international prodded home his third goal in four games.
Emery was reluctant at times last season just to field Lacazette and Aubameyang together as it left his side a man light in midfield.
But after a club record £72 million fee was splashed on Pepe, the Spaniard must find a way to shore up his midfield and defence behind the talented trio.