First XI: Eleven Premier League talking points as rampant Liverpool stun Arsenal at Anfield
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First XI: Eleven Premier League talking points as rampant Liverpool stun Arsenal at Anfield

LIVERPOOL were as good as Arsenal were bad in a one-sided Premier League game at Anfield that stole many of the headlines on the third weekend of the season.

Arsenal’s deficiencies were exposed by Liverpool’s rampant forwards, who delivered a stunning 4-0 victory in the final game before the international break.

Elsewhere, Manchester United stayed on top of the table, Huddersfield Town produced a third straight clean sheet, and there were first wins of the season for Swansea City and Newcastle United.

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For Tottenham Hotspur, though, Wembley continued to be anything but home sweet home.

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

1) Philippe who? Liverpool are mesmerising in attack – with or without Brazilian ace Coutinho

We’ll get to Arsenal, and their impotent, gutless performance shortly, before to focus on the positives at Anfield on Sunday, Liverpool’s attacking brilliance must be highlighted.

All of their starting front three – Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – scored, as did substitute Daniel Sturridge.

Going forward, they are mesmerising and almost impossible to shackle, with their pace, movement and invention.

In their five Premier League and Champions League games this season, Jurgen Klopp’s side have scored 14 goals – and Barcelona target Coutinho and the injured Adam Lallana are yet to get on the pitch.

Coutinho’s immediate future will be decided by Thursday’s transfer deadline. But on the evidence we have seen so far, he is perhaps not as indispensable as he seemed when Barcelona first came sniffing.


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger shows his feelings during his team’s 4-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield. Source: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

2) Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal rejuvenation falls apart three games into the season

Last season was tough for Wenger, whose team may have won the FA Cup but finished outside the top four for the first time in the Frenchman’s 21-year reign.

But after winning the FA Cup and the Community Shield, both against Chelsea, Wenger appeared to receive a new lease of life at the Emirates.

However, after scraping a 4-3 win against Leicester City on the opening day, Arsenal were then beaten at Stoke – and embarrassed at Anfield.

Much of the focus pre-match was on how Liverpool had left out regular goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, instead selecting Loris Karius. But the German did not have to make a single save as Arsenal produced an insipid display.

3) Alexis Sanchez given little reason to want to stay on at Arsenal

While Liverpool have brushed speculation over Coutinho’s future to one side, the issue of Sanchez looms over Arsenal.

On this display, the Chilean ace – who appeared to be struggling to stifle a smile as he watched the final stages of the game from the bench after being withdrawn – will see few reasons to stick around.


Dejection for Harry Kane and his Tottenham Hotspur team-mates after Burnley steal a late draw at Wembley. Source: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

4) Spurs’ struggles at Wembley – and Harry Kane’s issues in August – continue against Burnley

Harry Kane’s overall Premier League record: 116 games, 78 goals

Harry Kane’s Premier League record in August: 13 games, 0 goals

It’s a quirk as baffling as Spurs’ ongoing struggles at Wembley, where they have now won only two of their 12 matches after a 1-1 draw with Burnley.

In fact, after two games of the 2017-18 season, it is already impossible for Spurs to beat their home points tally from last season, when they won 17 and drew two at White Hart Lane.

5) The Manchester United machine marches on

Two teams are yet concede a Premier League goal this season: Huddersfield Town and Manchester United.

The former are enjoying a stunning start to their first season in the big time since 1972, while the latter are already in ominous form.

They could even afford to miss a penalty against Leicester, Romelu Lukaku having his effort saved by Kasper Schmeichel, before goals from Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini sealed a deserved 2-0 win.


Sergio Aguero of Manchester City appears to remonstrate with stewards and police in the aftermath of Raheem Sterling’s winning goal at Bournemouth. Source: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

6) Manchester City leave it late – and prompt ugly scenes at Bournemouth

A chaotic finale at Bournemouth saw Manchester City claim victory with a goal from Raheem Sterling deep into stoppage-time, which led to the goalscorer being sent off for a second yellow card after jumping into the crowd to celebrate with the travelling fans.

In the ensuing melee, City fan was wrestled to the ground by stewards, one of whom later claimed Sergio Aguero had struck him – before retracting the allegation.

The game was also notable for Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels scoring an early contender for goal of the season.

7) Three games in, Slaven Bilic and Frank de Boer are under pressure

Premier League football offers little respite for managers – and Frank de Boer, new to the job at Crystal Palace, is already under pressure.

His team have no points and no goals after three matches – and, while the absence of Wilfried Zaha has undeniably hurt them, Palace are struggling all over the field. De Boer criticised his players for showing “a lack of courage” in their 2-0 home defeat against Swansea City.

Bilic has similar issues at West Ham United, who prop up the Premier League and are lacking an on-field identity. They lost 3-0 as Newcastle United secured their first points of the season.

8) It’s refreshing to see some unfamiliar faces in the top six

Manchester United and Liverpool lead the way at the top of the table but Huddersfield (two wins, one draw, no goals conceded) and West Bromwich Albion (two wins, one draw, one goal conceded) have been hugely impressive.

Watford in seventh and Burnley in tenth have also started the season in excellent form.


Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata celebrates his goal in the victory over Everton. Source: Reuters/Hannah McKay

9) Champions Chelsea are back to normal

It seems like a long time since Chelsea were beaten 3-2 at home by Burnley on the opening weekend. They have responded superbly, beating Spurs at Wembley and following it up with a 2-0 win over Everton.

For Everton, the game was a step too far after a pulsating 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Monday and a Europa League trip to Croatia three days later.

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10) Peter Crouch is still a very useful option for Stoke

Crouch – who made his Premier League debut in 2002 – will be 37 this season and is perhaps better known for his strong Twitter game than for being an active top-flight footballer these days.

But he capitalised on a mix-up between West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazi and Ben Foster to salvage a 1-1 draw for Stoke – and has now scored three goals in his last four Premier League games.

11) Brighton need to find goals soon – or this season will be a long slog

Brighton are yet to score a goal this season, and are averaging two shots on target per game.

Those are concerning statistics for all associated with the newly-promoted side, who will be in for a long season if they cannot fix this issue – and soon.