First XI: Eleven Premier League talking points as Manchester United win 4-0 again
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First XI: Eleven Premier League talking points as Manchester United win 4-0 again

TWO down, 36 to go. The Premier League table is yet to take any real shape, but one thing is clear from the opening two weekends: Manchester United are a force once more.

Jose Mourinho has spent around US$407 million (£314 million) in transfer fees across three windows to enhance his squad – and he is reaping the rewards.

Much has been written about United’s strong spine, but what has impressed early on is their attacking verve.

We look at 11 talking points from the second weekend of Premier League action, starting with United.

1) It’s early days but Manchester United look like Manchester United

United’s headline signing last summer was Paul Pogba, whereas this window it was Romelu Lukaku.

Together, the duo are a constant threat to defences, with each scoring – and Pogba providing two assists – in United’s 4-0 win at Swansea City on Saturday.

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The comfortable victory in Wales followed an equally comfortable win over West Ham United six days earlier.

Tougher challenges lie ahead, although United do not meet any of last season’s top six until the middle of October, and Jose Mourinho’s team look very sharp indeed.


Andy Robertson made an impressive debut for Liverpool in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield. Source: Reuters/Phil Noble

2) Andy Robertson could be the answer to an age-old problem for Liverpool

Left-back is an area that has caused Liverpool issues for years. From Paul Konchesky and Andrea Dossena to Djimi Traore and Alberto Moreno, the position has caused the Reds all kinds of problems in the Premier League era.

Andy Robertson was signed from Hull City to provide a solution at left-back. And while it was only one game, and a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in which he was rarely troubled defensively, the Scottish full-back looked as if he could be the answer to many of Liverpool’s problems.

3) Crisis over, Antonio Conte’s champions are back with a bang…

Crisis? What crisis? After losing 3-2 at home to Burnley on the opening weekend, champions Chelsea bounced back in emphatic fashion on Sunday.

They beat London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-1, with Marcos Alonso scoring either side of an own goal by Michy Batshuayi, as Conte delivered a tactical masterclass at Wembley.


Marcos Alonso celebrates scoring his and Chelsea’s second goal against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Source: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

4) … as Spurs’ Wembley woes continue

Poor Spurs. As if it is not bad enough that their record at Wembley is rotten – they have lost eight of their last 11 games there – they have to play at the national stadium all season, while their new stadium is developed.

Conte suggested the venue will inspire Spurs’ opponents, and how well Tottenham fare this season will depend largely on how they overcome their home discomforts at Wembley.

5) Huddersfield Town are the only team in history to win all of their Premier League matches

As BBC and BT Sport presenter Gary Lineker tweeted, Huddersfield are the only team in Premier League history with a 100 percent record in the competition.

That, of course, will change – but for now Huddersfield supporters are rightly basking in their team’s flying start to the season. They followed up their 3-0 win at Crystal Palace with a 1-0 victory over fellow promoted side Newcastle United, and look well equipped for the top flight.


Jese celebrates his match-winning goal for Stoke City against Arsenal. Source: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

6) Oh, Arsenal + Jese a gem for Stoke City

After the drama of their 4-3 opening-day win over Leicester City, Arsenal were beaten 1-0 at Stoke City, instantly throwing into question whether they will be able to compete consistently this season.

But that is the way with Arsenal – there are very few half-measures.

Stoke’s match-winner was Jese Rodriguez, the on-loan Paris St Germain forward, who has enormous talent but is yet to assert himself anywhere.

The 24-year-old has played for Real Madrid, PSG and Las Palmas but is yet to start more than 14 league games for any one top-flight club. He will be looking to make plenty of noise at Stoke.

7) An explosion of goals at St Mary’s…

Southampton’s games were not always noted for their attacking excitement last season, but their 3-2 win over West Ham United was the pick of Saturday’s matches.

Saints went 2-0 up through goals either side of Marko Arnautovic’s needless sending-off for an elbow. West Ham fought back to level at 2-2, with Javier Hernandez scoring twice, before Pablo Zabaleta clumsily bundled into Maya Yoshida in stoppage-time, with Charlie Austin winning the match with a late penalty.

8) … but no home comforts for West Ham United

Due to the work involved in turning their stadium back into a football ground following the World Athletics Championships, West Ham will end up playing their first three Premier League matches away from home.

They have lost their first two, following up their 4-0 loss at Old Trafford with that 3-2 defeat at St Mary’s, and must be pining for September 11, when they take on Huddersfield at the London Stadium.


Bournemouth have yet to take a point, or score a goal, this season. Source: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

9) No need to panic – five teams are yet to take a point…

Bournemouth, Newcastle, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and West Ham have all lost both of their games so far, while Swansea are yet to win. But this is not the time to panic, or even necessarily to make rash transfers.

The transfer deadline is looming and selling clubs will smell the desperation of those yet to win a game.

10) … and for all the talk of bad defending recently, five teams are yet to score

Given the opening two games of the Premier League season yielded 13 goals and many defensive lapses, it may come as a surprise that five sides are yet to score this season.

Bournemouth, Newcastle, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Swansea are yet to find the target, with Swansea in particular strife in front of goal.

The Swans, who are yet to manage a shot on target this season, are desperate for the return of Fernando Llorente, while playmaker-in-chief Gylfi Sigurdsson has departed for Everton.

11) Monday’s game is a big one

The weekend of Premier League is not quite finished yet. On Monday evening, United Kingdom time, Everton take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

With City’s cross-city rivals United setting the early pace, and Everton having revamped their squad during the summer, the match promises to be full of intrigue.