8 Things We Learnt From Premier League GW8

Joe Simpson

By Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson

4 Oct 2022

Two massive derbies, another managerial casualty, and trouble for some title challengers, the Premier League did not fail to deliver this weekend. We’ve rounded up some of the key talking points from the weekend’s action.

More Footballing Lessons To Come For This New Man Utd Side

Erik ten Hag had a difficult start to life as Manchester United manager, but just as things appeared to be improving, Man City showed the quality the team in red is missing. This United side has been praised in recent weeks for their much-improved defence, but this game showed they were static and
unable to mark the City players. In terms of forward play, they were sloppy and lacked any real urgency in the first half to fight City.

But, we must talk about this electric and formidable Manchester City team. Erling Haaland scored his third hat-trick in a row and set up two goals as well, leading to a rare 10/10 from the iconic L’Équipe magazine. He’s already setting records, having scored 16 goals and provided 6 assists so far this
season, leading to many believing he may be one of the greats of this league.
We can’t forget about Phil Foden, who breezed through the midfield at ease at points, scoring three easy goals with very little effort made to stop him. Kevin De Bruyne again showed why he’s the best playmaker in the league, with a lovely corner for Haaland’s first before he set up his second with a
magnificent whipped-in ball. He may not have got the headlines, but De Bruyne was just as key to this victory as the other two aforementioned names.

For the Red Devils, there were some things to feel good about with Antony scoring a worldie, and a returning Anthony Martial scoring twice, including a
beautiful penalty in the top corner. United were given a footballing lesson, and while City carries on for what seems like another league title, it’s back to the drawing board for this once great club, and a return to what came before seems so far away. Tom Atkinson

A Referendum on the Right Way to Play?

The build up to the North London derby saw people searching for answers. How legitimate was Arsenal’s table topping start? Could Spurs break their Emirates hoodoo? Will Arsenal win against one of the big boys? All questions the 12:30pm kick off would satisfy in theory. Ultimately, which team played the “right” brand of football felt like the most pertinent of all the conjectures. The clash between the two north London clubs who sat 1st and 3rd in the table had taken new life as one of the UK’s favourite ways to solve things, a referendum. 

For those hoping to confirm their biases, this game did not deliver that for them exactly. Arsenal’s possession-heavy, high line football did prove too much for Spurs as the Gunners largely dominated proceedings. That early domination was rewarded when Thomas Partey swept home a delicious 25 yard shot into the roof of Hugo Lloris’ net and the breakthrough served as just reward. The name of Mikel Arteta’s game is control and control his side did. Excellent performances from defensive stalwart William Saliba and the midfield duo of Partey and Granit Xhaka helped steer the Gunners to their 7th win from 8 games this season. 

However, it briefly looked like Conte’s game plan was the one which would pay dividends, sitting back and absorbing the Arsenal pressure before launching numerous menacing counters. Spurs had failed to turn their devilment into actual chances, missing the required quality with their final ball delivery. Just ten minutes after conceding they were back level. Initially it looked like another false dawn when Son Heung-Min overhit a through ball to Richarlison which should have sent him 1v1 but the Brazilian recovered the ball and after Arsenal failed to clear their lines he was fouled in the box. Who else but Harry Kane would step up to slot his record breaking 100th away Premier League goal? in the derby no less.

When Gabriel Jesus swooped in and bundled home the Gunners second just after the restart, Emerson Royal received a red card, and Granit Xhaka hit a dagger to put the game to bed with 20 minutes to go, there shouldn’t have been much of a surprise that the game turned into a procession. 

With 30 more games to deliver us those definitive answers we all crave, Arsenal will remain content with taking the spoils on the day and winning it their way.  Jesse Williams

De Zerbi Delivers Against Lacklustre Liverpool

Saturday marked a new chapter for Brighton as the Seagulls travelled to Anfield for a thrilling game that finished 3-3 – the start of the brand new De Zerbi era.

Since losing Graham Potter to Chelsea last month, there was a concern that Brighton would not be able to continue their good run of results. However, with Leandro Trossard stepping up to the plate to score a hat trick, the Seagulls still managed to keep up their excellent run, finishing the weekend 4th in the Premier League. Brighton struck early and found themselves 2-0 up within 20 minutes at Anfield, and despite Liverpool scoring the next 3 goals to make the game 2-3, a late equaliser from Trossard secured the first point De Zerbi’s men in the new era.

De Zerbi looks to be a good appointment for Brighton, however it is still very early to tell. He definitely isn’t proven at Premier League level, however with some Champions League experience and an attractive possession based game-style, he fits the vacant shoes at the Amex the best out of all the candidates. Liverpool don’t look anything like the force they did last season, however it was definitely a point gained from Brighton despite potentially deserving to win the game. Harvey Marwood

Gallagher Brilliance Helps Potter Sink Palace

Connor Gallagher came off the bench to score a stunner against his former side and secure the first win of the Graham Potter era. The game was not without controversy as Chelsea could have been down to ten men after a deliberate handball from veteran defender Thiago Silva, but VAR did not overturn the decision, and the Brazilian made the most of his time on the pitch by providing an assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

It will take a while for Potter to implement his style at Chelsea but this is a positive result in a tricky away fixture. Blues fans will take a lot of comfort from Reece James’ excellent performance at the back, keeping Wilfried Zaha quiet on his home turf. The former Brighton manager has done well to solidify what has been a shaky back line since the start of the season. While the result could have gone either way, Chelsea’s quality in personnel across the pitch proved the deciding factor. Joe Simpson

Lampard Sowing the Seed of Resilience at Everton

Everton vs Southampton was a haphazard, error-strewn game neither team truly deserved to win. The first half was largely uneventful, with both sides making a mediocre effort to break the deadlock. Joe Aribo’s strike early in the second half offered the game’s first real moment of quality, striking low into the bottom corner from the top of the box before Dwight McNeil and Conor Coady clawed the game back by scoring their first Everton goals across three second-half minutes. 

The result makes it seven matches unbeaten in all competitions for Everton, who scored twice in a game for the first time this season to rack up successive wins for only the second time since Lampard took charge. For all his flaws, the former Chelsea man has managed to instil some resilience into a team many would have tipped as relegation favourites at the start of the campaign. It must be mentioned that the emergence of Alex Iwobi as a midfield linchpin, providing the Toffees with a consistent progressive outlet, has been a masterstroke of man management. 

In terms of Southampton, the Saints have picked up just 12 points from the last 60 available in the Premier League, finding themselves slowly sliding down the table. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men just can’t seem to make it click in either defence or attack so far this season, serving up  another largely listless performance. There are now big questions over the direction the club is heading under his guidance. Jesse Williams

Scamacca The Last Straw For Bruno Lage’s Wolves

West Ham hosted Wolves on Saturday evening, with the Hammers picking up their second win of the season in a comfortable fashion. This fixture proved to be the final curtain for Bruno Lage, with the Portuguese manager being sacked after the game.

A first West Ham goal in the Premier League for Scamacca in the 29th minute saw the Hammers go 1–0 up, with David Moyes’ men doubling their advantage through Jarrod Bowen in the 54th minute – despite having only 39% possession throughout the game. Wolves lacked a cutting edge in the final third – they just couldn’t seem to break down the West Ham defence and open up good chances for themselves. In essence, this was a must win game for both teams, with both parties struggling so far in this season. It felt as if whichever manager came out on the wrong side of this game would be in trouble and at risk of the sack, and that’s exactly what happened.

A change of manager seems quite a fitting time now for Wolves’ and necessary if they want to see some kind of improvement – however West Ham will hope to kick on with momentum from this 2-0 win, and take it into their next games. Harvey Marwood

Spoils Shared on the South Coast as Cherries Once Again Rue VAR

In what was a largely uneventful game down on the South Coast, VAR once again proved to be the major talking point in a fixture that lacked real quality. There was a lack of offensive potency from both sides, with Chris Mepham and Marco Senesi playing excellently at the back for Bournemouth and keeping Ivan Toney in check for 90 minutes. 

The Cherries however will feel aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty when marauding left-back Jordan Zemura was brought down in the first half. I am sure most will agree that when the referee is sent over to the monitor to have another look, that normally results in a decision being overturned. However, twice now this season this has not been the case for Bournemouth, and while some may praise the refs for standing up to the video assistants, I struggle to believe that these decisions would not have been changed if Bournemouth were a ‘Big 6’ club. The lack of consistency in refereeing decisions in the Premier League at the moment is astounding, and for a side like Bournemouth these moments could make the difference between staying up or returning to the Championship.

Thomas Frank will be frustrated with his sides’ lack of firepower, considering their free flowing start to the season. Gary O’Neil however has staked his claim for the permanent role as Bournemouth manager, solidifying a leaky defence and continuing his unbeaten run in the hotseat. Joe Simpson

The Sack Beckons For Stevie G With Villa Not Delivering

Steven Gerrard’s time as Aston Villa manager looks to be coming to an end, with points dropped yet again against Leeds United. A dominant Villa display did not lead to goals, in a game they should have really won. The play was good with Jacob Ramsey and Philippe Coutinho impressing in the midfield, and Ezri Konsa made a goal-saving challenge from a parried effort.

Villa were even given a helping hand when Luis Sinisterra was sent off for some silly decisions the player may have lived to regret. Yet Ollie Watkins failed to deliver once again, showing the pace of a top centre-forward but not the finishing, as Illan Meslier denied him every time. Villa came close from Coutinho’s beautifully hit bicycle kick which hit the post and Emiliano Buendia’s looping effort just narrowly going wide.

Leeds had a few chances themselves with a returning Patrick Bamford denied by Emiliano Martinez, but they will feel lucky to grab a point. While Jesse Marsch can regroup and continue what has been a decent start to the season, Steven Gerrard must know he’s in trouble. With 8 points from 8 games and a squad that was expected to reach the top half, the end of the road is near for the former Liverpool great. Tom Atkinson