Manchester United were lucky in the end… again
It says a lot about a team when you have as many games as Manchester United have had where they seem to get through based solely on the quality of individual players.
Despite all the buzz around Old Trafford at the start of the season following the signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, and a somewhat satisfactory League position early on, you would struggle to see that reflected in performances and in the fanbase.
It is no secret that Old Trafford has lost its fear factor. That has been the case for a while. But United continue to struggle for form at home and were lucky that one poor decision in front of goal from Tom Davies allowed United the luxury of being bailed out by the linesman.
Thanks to that, the age-old statistic that United have never lost a Premier League home game when leading at half-time remains intact for the time being, but at this rate that will not last long.
There is no cohesion in attack, a lack of organisation in transitional defence and a manager who seems to be making up any excuse in the book considering the disjointed performances his side are producing.
The one saving grace is that United started slowly like this last year, but they will be unlikely to go unbeaten away from home again, and they played more like a unit last year rather than a group of individuals.
Arsenal miss some bite so far this season
Arsenal, like United in some ways, were lucky to come away with a point, albeit that point was probably more deserved considering the defensive performance they put in.
Brighton have been one of Arsenal’s bogey teams for some time now, and Graham Potter once again had Mikel Arteta’s number in the game.
The Seagulls managed to create a lot of half-chances for themselves, but failed to create anything clear cut thanks to Arsenals resilience at the back.
However, typically a side on the back foot for most of a game would be able to spring out with more consistency, but Arsenal were not afforded the opportunity to do so. Whether that’s down to the genius of Graham Potter or Arsenal’s inability to break the Brighton press consistently is a question for the managers to answer in their post-match analysis.
Regardless, Arsenal lacked bite once again. And having only scored in three of the seven games played, that should be somewhat concerning for the North London club.
Chelsea were right to keep Werner
There won’t have been a shortage of Chelsea fans questioning the decision to keep Timo Werner this summer, especially when Tammy Abraham was allowed to leave and has now made a superb start to life at Roma.
But against Southampton Werner helped to vindicate their decision, bagging a goal and arguably being the Blues’ best player against Southampton.
Werner’s runs into the channel are some of the best you are likely to find anywhere in world football, and as such, this makes him such as useful asset in getting his team up the pitch and being effective when on the attack.
He also had a goal ruled out for a foul in the build, making that 16 times he has had a goal ruled off by VAR in some capacity since joining Chelsea.
Werner has probably earned himself a spot in the starting 11 for the first game after the International break, with Mason Mount just returning from injury and Kai Havertz struggling for form, he should have an opportunity to show what he can do in Chelsea’s most well-rounded attacking trio.
The Anfield fear factor is not as strong as two years ago
Liverpool versus Manchester City produced what could already go down as one of the games of the season. And with the quality on display there was little doubt that this could be the case.
However, Liverpool have now dropped four points at home to direct rivals in the Premier League. While they remain unbeaten, there is cause for concern that Liverpool continue to throw away leads at home.
Much like Man United, Liverpool’s ground historically has an aura of impenetrability. But while the former’s has long since dissipated, the latter’s remains strong, but not as strong as many perceive it to be.
All weekend, the pre-match build-up across the media spoke about the Anfield factor that would give Liverpool the edge over their title rivals. While this did no doubt play some part in helping Liverpool perform better, teams feel that Liverpool are beatable at home again.
Two years ago, any thought of Liverpool losing at home would have been unthinkable. But now some teams are taking the game to Liverpool, and The Reds have been somewhat fortunate to come away with anything against Chelsea and Man City. But they can thank the brilliant Mohamed Salah for that.
? Mo Salah has either scored or assisted in 8/9 games this season
? Salah has scored in 7 matches in a row in all competitions for Liverpool pic.twitter.com/yBr6gnQvMI
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 4, 2021
Lacklustre Leicester need to get in gear fast
Leicester City are a club that have been desperately pushing for the top four in the last two seasons. In fact, no team has spent longer in the top four than The Foxes in that time.
However, poor results to end the season have condemned them to Europa League football two years running, and this year it is not looking likely they will achieve even that unless they get their act together.
Leicester were cruising against Crystal Palace thanks to goals from Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy. But Palace fought back to equalise and then came close to snatching all three points with a brilliant second-half turnaround.
The 2015/16 title winners can’t afford to be this careless if they genuinely want top four. There are four teams of course who some would say are clearly superior, but injuries and poor form could allow a gap to open up and for them to capitalise, as Man United did to them on the final day two seasons ago.
Ironically Leicester host United after the International break. Both teams are in erratic form, and both need a win and a good performance to get their season’s back on track. It could well turn out to be make or break for both of the teams seasons.
Just saw on MOTD that despite playing a tough opening 7 games, Palace’s average possession is up from 41% to 55%. Touches in opposition box from 17 to 23. These are big differences.
— Tweeter (@tweetingnav) October 3, 2021
There is plenty more that could have been said about the weekend, such as Bretford’s impressive win over West Ham or Leeds United picking up a much needed first win of the season, or even the officiating returning to its lows of last season with some of the questionable decisions made.
Alas, the Premier League always has too much to talk about before the next week comes and goes. But that is what makes it so endearing to viewers the world over.