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5 things we learned from this weekend’s Premier League action
Manchester City could be without a recognised striker for a crucial period.
Sergio Aguero injured his hamstring as Manchester City were held to a draw at West Ham while Diogo Jota scored the winner for Liverpool as they came from behind to defeat struggling Sheffield United.
The last unbeaten Premier League record disappeared on Sunday as a lacklustre Everton lost at Southampton while Manchester United and Chelsea played out a dour goalless draw on Saturday.
Here, the PA news agency looks at what we learned from the top flight this weekend.
City set to be without front-line striker heading into crucial period
Sergio Aguero’s hamstring injury in the draw at West Ham is likely to lead to another stint on the sidelines for Manchester City’s record goal-scorer, who only returned last week after four months out with a knee problem. It is unclear when Gabriel Jesus will be available again, so Pep Guardiola may be without a recognised striker for the next couple of weeks. With three Champions League fixtures and games against rivals Liverpool and Tottenham to come in the next month, Aguero’s injury has come at the wrong time.
Jota making an early impression
There may have been misgivings among some Liverpool fans about the £45million fee the club paid to sign Jota from Wolves over the summer but the Portuguese is taking strides towards justifying the hefty price tag. It remains very early days but he now has two goals in four appearances after scoring the winner against Sheffield United while he seemed very much at ease after being deployed as a right-sided forward in a 4-2-3-1 system. It cannot be argued that Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have struggled since Philippe Coutinho’s departure two years ago but might Jota’s arrival herald a ‘Fab Four’ 2.0?
Blunted Blades need points to back up good performances
It is admittedly a long way away from panic stations at Sheffield United, who have dismissed whispers of the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ despite collecting just one point from their first six matches. Chris Wilder’s side have been beaten by the odd goal in four of those fixtures, the latest coming after a dogged display at Anfield, where they took the lead before the champions hit back. Wilder had no qualms with the Blades’ display but the stark reality is they need something tangible for their efforts. With Manchester City and Chelsea to play in the next couple of weeks, the situation does not look like improving soon.
Lampard avoids Old Trafford repeat
Frank Lampard’s tenure as Chelsea head coach started with a 4-0 defeat at Manchester United in August last year, despite the Blues having 54 per cent possession and 18 shots to the Red Devils’ 11. It is therefore quite understandable the former England midfielder would do anything to avoid a repeat on his return to Old Trafford. The end product was a stultifying goalless draw in the driving rain, so mission accomplished. Chelsea could even feel hard done by that they did not claim all three points after their appeals for a penalty when Harry Maguire grabbed Cesar Azpilicueta in the box fell on deaf ears.
All good things must come to an end
Everton have been the surprise front-runners in this most unpredictable of starts to a season, but their unbeaten run was brought to a screeching halt on the south coast when they were beaten 2-0 at Southampton. A week after the controversial Merseyside derby draw, Everton looked surprisingly flat at St Mary’s, and were brushed aside by their opponents. Every title-chasing side has the odd bad day at the office but, if the Toffees’ aim is to finally gatecrash the top six, then they need to get back to winning ways sharpish.