TEN things we learned from the Premier League

Darwin Nunez needs to be more street smart, there is no quick fix at Manchester United, while Antonio Conte has finally given Tottenham a nasty streak… TEN things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

  • Manchester City carry threats elsewhere when Erling Haaland is not on song
  • Darwin Nunez has to wise up to Premier League defences after red card 
  • Tottenham Hotspur are showing they are up for a fight in their toughest tests
  • Gabriel Jesus may have now found his goal-scoring home at Arsenal 

We are just two weeks into the Premier League season and already there has been plenty of fall-out to reflect on… and that’s just Manchester United!

But with top clubs Liverpool and even Manchester City, despite the champions’ two wins, having some concerns, and Premier League relegation contenders Brentford and Nottingham Forest chalking up early victories – there is plenty to speculate going forward this term.

That being said it’s not too early to start picking up on talking points as we look at ten things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Manchester City cruised to a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday

Darwin Nunez needs to wise up

Liverpool have plenty to look forward to in Darwin Nunez who scored and made an assist on his Premier League debut at Fulham following his £85million move from Benfica this summer.

However, the forward still has much to learn too and he was given a lesson on Monday evening when he was sent off for headbutting Crystal Palace’s Joachim Anderson having grown frustrated with the defender’s close marking during the Anfield clash.

While Nunez looks like he has the ability to fire Liverpool to a title challenge he will need to quickly adjust to the tricks that will be deployed by defenders this term under the pressure of playing in a Reds shirt in the Premier League.

Darwin Nunez was sent off for Liverpool on his home debut against Crystal Palace

His reaction to Anderson came following niggly fouls and slight pushes from the defender and Nunez’s Reds team-mate Virgil van Dijk admits he needs to wise up.

‘He has to control himself, definitely,’ insisted van Dijk. ‘He has to manage himself, knowing that these things can happen, especially in the Premier League.

‘He’s got the backing from us and he knows it should not happen again and hopefully it will be that way.

‘He was disappointed and also probably with himself. But it’s a learning curve and obviously we will always back him. Hopefully it will never happen again.’

There is no quick fix at Manchester United

If Erik ten Hag thought one or two signings could get Manchester United clicking again then it’s taken fewer than two games for that notion to be banished.

United’s 4-0 defeat by Brentford on Saturday was a new low for the Red Devils, even in a chaotic last year at Old Trafford, as they conceded all four of the goals in 35 crazy first half minutes.

Not only have the club’s fortunes not improved much on the pitch, but new arrivals including Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez have endured poor starts on it leading to a worst start in 30 years for the club.

Supporters can accept losing a game providing they can see progress or at least positivity to build on, but the humiliation at the Gtech Community Stadium was worse than anything produced under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Ralf Rangnick last term.

Erik ten Hag has a huge job in turning around Manchester United’s fortunes after his arrival

There were no clear chances for United, no cohesion in attack, barely any understanding in the midfield and certainly no organisation in defence – and it leaves Ten Hag with problems to address in just about every single position. 

Ten Hag then must realise already that it’s going to take more than new faces to turn around United’s fortunes. While new arrivals will be welcome, there is a rot setting in at Old Trafford that the Dutch boss must quickly mitigate.

Turning around team morale will be crucial already at this early stage of the season but given the turmoil of a dressing room that still features a wantaway Cristiano Ronaldo – that will be easier said than done.

Antonio Conte has brought a nasty streak to Spurs

It’s been a problem about Tottenham for years, it’s not been an unidentified one too.

Spurs have for many decades just been ‘too nice’ and easy to play against despite their attractive football and perhaps the first person to openly say it was Sir Alex Ferguson, with the former Manchester United manager’s legendary team-talk when playing the north London club boiled down to three simple words of ‘Lad’s it’s Tottenham.’

It plagued even Mauricio Pochettino’s teams at the height of his reign between 2016 and 2019, and even his successor Jose Mourinho effectively tried to bang a few heads together by telling his players they had to be a ‘bunch of intelligent c****.’ 

Antonio Conte may have finally cracked the code though. Spurs were poor at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but encouragingly they still managed to scrap their way to a 2-2 draw.

Antonio Conte has added grit to a Tottenham team who dug deep at Chelsea to earn a point

Robust challenges and a few darks arts like hair pulling, were led by centre-back Cristian Romero who is quickly becoming a fan favourite after adding a bit of a ruthless streak to Conte’s side. 

With the likes of Richarlison, who also seems to enjoy a confrontation or two, Spurs don’t look like being a easy side to bully this season.

Even Conte himself is leading the battle from the front following his touchline scraps with Thomas Tuchel and Spurs fans will hope this new layer of steel could be the key to finally ending their trophy drought this term. 

Erling Haaland brings more than goals to Man City

Erling Haaland was simply brought to Manchester City to score goals – and a bucket load of them. No amount of spin is going to convince otherwise.

The striker, who was chased by all of Europe’s big hitters over the last year while at Borussia Dortmund, instantly showed his worth on the opening day with both goals in a 2-0 win over West Ham. 

However he was a lot more limited against Bournemouth – touching the ball incredibly only eight times before being withdrawn after 74 minutes.

Erling Haaland only touched the ball eight times in Manchester City’s win over Bournemouth

But crucially City didn’t lose out. If shutting Haaland down was the Cherries’ primary motive then they forgot about the rest of the City squad who otherwise helped the team stroll to an easy 4-0 win.

One of Haaland’s touches even turned out to be an assist in the opening goal for Ilkay Gundogan. It was a daunting message City had sent out to the rest of the Premier League.

Keep Haaland quiet and you still a team of stars to contain elsewhere. Leave the Norwegian star to his own devices and you can ask West Ham to see how that works out.

No downturn at Chelsea

There has been a lot of concern over Chelsea this summer as a team who could struggle without Roman Abramovich’s chequebook, key players moving on and of course no real No 9 leading the line.

A scrappy 1-0 win away at Everton did little to lift the mood and while they did blow the lead twice against rivals Tottenham on Sunday, they dominated the game to show that even this new look Blues side might have something about them.

New additions Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Raheem Sterling already appear to be settling and who knows what levels the west London side can reach if they finally land that elusive striker that continues to elude them.

They are a proven goalscorer away from being serious contenders for the Premier League title. Write them off at your peril. 

Raheem Sterling is among the Chelsea signings who have quickly settled into the club

There is more to come from Gabriel Jesus

Here is something that will read sweetly to an Arsenal fan – there still looks like even more to come from Gabriel Jesus.

That’s quite something coming off the back of a performance where he scored twice and set up the other two goals in a 4-2 win over Leicester City on Saturday.

The former Man City striker arrived at the Emirates Stadium for £45m but with doubts surrounding his ability in front of goal having only netted eight times for the champions last term.

Yet, even with his goals and assists blitz against the Foxes, the Brazil star was not even at his best having missed a load of chances to add to his tally.

Against Leicester, the striker was twice denied by keeper Danny Ward before firing into the side-netting late on in the clash.

It seems now being the trusted focal point of the attack is bringing the best out of the 25-year-old who has started well and yet shown signs that he could still yet be even more clinical.

Gabriel Jesus already looks at home in the Arsenal attack with a star display on Saturday

New look Forest could quickly gel

Assessing how the promoted clubs could get on in a Premier League season has always been an interesting subplot, and it’s fair to say there have been concerns over how Nottingham Forest would fare in the top flight after 23 years away.

The squad that got promoted was a light one and a couple of its key players were loan signings who have since gone back to their parent clubs – so it was obvious that they needed to open the chequebook.

Yet no one quite expected effectively a brand new squad arriving through the door, with Steve Cooper making 15 new signings – and who is to say they are done?

Nottingham Forest’s band of new signings carried them to a 1-0 win over West Ham United

There have been examples in the past of too many signings destroying team cohesion, yet so far the jury is still well out at the City Ground, thanks in part to an impressive 1-0 win over West Ham courtesy of £17m record signing Taiwo Awoniyi finding the net.

We are not quite silly enough to draw conclusions after two games, but at the very least there are positive signs for Forest fans to draw on as they look to stay clear of a fight against relegation this term. 

Saints still battling for Ralph Hasenhuttl

The pressure is on Ralph Hasenhuttl who was fortunate to avoid the axe after a poor end to last season that saw the club win just one of their final 13 gams.

A 4-1 thumping at Spurs on the opening day did little to lift the mood, and pressure looked like it was going to ramp up when they were 2-0 down at home to Leeds with under 20 minutes to play.

Many teams in this position have downed tools at this point, but whether it was for professional pride or a willingness to still put in a shift for the Austrian, Southampton’s stars hit back with late goals from Joe Aribo and Kyle Walker-Peters to secure a handy draw.

Even if Hasenhuttl is unpopular with his players, there was nothing in their performance on Saturday to hint they were ready to throw him under the bus just yet. 

Under pressure Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl saw his side fight from 2-0 down to draw

No Eriksen no problem for Brentford

Off the radar as Manchester United crumbled was another impressive display from Brentford who have started the season on the front foot with four points from two games.

As poor as United were on Saturday evening, Brentford were mightily impressive, producing a performance that fans will talk about for years following their famous win.

There were questions over how they would cope without Christian Eriksen given they were in free-fall before his arrival in the second half of last season.

But so far, the Bees appear to have fill his creative gap as Thomas Frank’s team target another excellent campaign. 

Brentford stunned Manchester United, proving they don’t need Christian Eriksen to compete

Leaky Leicester could be in trouble

With the caveat that it has of course been only two games, it still doesn’t look encouraging for Leicester City at the start of this season from a defensive point of view.

Veteran shot stopper and key figure Kasper Schmeichel has gone to be replaced by the vastly inexperienced Danny Ward in goal who made a big error in dropping the ball to allow Arsenal to score their third goal on Saturday. 

Even if not all the goals have been directly his fault, already the Foxes have conceded six against Brentford and Arsenal. No team has conceded more than them across the opening two games.

But it could get worse. Key defender Wesley Fofana is a Chelsea target and his departure could lead to even more problems at the back for Brendan Rodgers’ side who at the Emirates Stadium gifted the Gunners a hatful of chances.

Leicester have enough talent going forward to find the net, but can they keep the goals out this term? 

Leicester have been a shambles at the back in their first two games of the Premier League

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