From Arsenal and Manchester United’s comebacks to the star performances of Darwin Nunez and James Maddison, here are five things we learned from an exciting third gameweek of the Premier League season…
Arteta’s new system causing headaches
After last season, many expected Arsenal to build on their success in the opening games of this Premier League campaign, and even though they are unbeaten so far with two wins and a draw, there are some concerning problems developing at the Emirates. It mainly concerns the new tactics Mikel Arteta has introduced, which has involved moving Thomas Partey to right-back in order to play an extra attacker.
It’s a move that has had some teething problems, especially down the right-hand side, where there is now rarely an overlapping presence because Partey moves into the middle when Arsenal go forward. It feels an unnecessary and confusing move by Arteta with many now calling for the Spaniard to go back to his old system, the one that brought them so much success last season. Whatever he decides to do, it needs to be quick because dropping points to Fulham is something you can’t do when in a title race with Manchester City.
Could West Ham be dark horses this season?Embed from Getty Images
With a frustrating summer transfer window, the loss of star player Declan Rice, and a late finish to last season, West Ham’s pre-season was far from perfect. Coming into this campaign some even tipped them for relegation, but an unbeaten start has left many surprised. The opening day draw with Bournemouth has been followed by two stellar wins against Chelsea and Brighton which have left West Ham second in the Premier League table with seven points.
The Declan Rice money from Arsenal seems to have been spent well through the additions of James Ward Prowse, Edson Álvarez, Konstantinos Mavropanos, and Mohammed Kudus, providing a boost around the squad and a potential change in fortune for the Hammers this year after a disappointing last Premier League season. It has only been three games, but perhaps West Ham could have European ambitions of their own.
Nunez finally shows his quality
It’s been a tough 12 months on Merseyside for Darwin Nunez, showing flashes of quality in most of the games he’s played in but ultimately being undermined by his lack of ability in the finishing department. Often guilty of snatching at chances, he left Liverpool fans frustrated last season, but this year has presented a new opportunity for Nunez to prove himself.
On Sunday, the Uruguayan did just that, scoring two late goals and bringing a 10-man Liverpool from behind to win 2-1 against Newcastle. It was the way Nunez took his goals that impressed fans the most, taking his time before calmly slotting away in a distinct contrast to last season. It’s only two goals and there is still plenty left for Nunez to prove but the early signs this season look promising.
Is Maddison the signing of the season?
After two assists at Brentford and a pivotal performance against Manchester United, the England international went into the game at Bournemouth with a spring in his step and the plaudits fully behind him. That spring only got stronger and the applause louder after his man of the match display on Saturday afternoon. Another dominating performance in the midfield was topped off with a goal for Maddison, leaving everyone in awe of the quality he has shown so early in the season.
Sometimes, there are players that perfectly fit the clubs they play for, like a jigsaw puzzle, and this time It feel like Tottenham have found their missing piece. But has it left the jigsaw complete? Only time will tell with that one.
Problems still persist for Manchester UnitedEmbed from Getty Images
A huge sigh of relief met the full-time whistle at Old Trafford on Saturday as Manchester United scraped past Nottingham Forest. The away side were 2-0 up inside the opening five minutes before United hauled themselves back to win 3-2 with a Bruno Fernandes penalty securing the win. Despite the thrilling comeback, the problems that have plagued their opening two games still remain.
After being dominated by Tottenham last week, the midfield and the ability for opposition teams to run straight through them remains a glaring issue for United – causing them problems once again. Only minutes into the match, Marcus Rashford and Antony were left chasing Taiwo Awoniyi to score the opener. If this is not addressed then United’s season could fall apart very quickly.