Following the conclusion of September’s international break, the Premier League resumed at the weekend and we witnessed a set of exciting games. A total of 24 goals were scored across 10 games, with Chelsea and Manchester United continuing their torrid starts to the season.
Without further ado, let’s look at the talking points from Premier League matchweek 5.
#Man City burst West Ham bubbles
Manchester City maintained their flawless start to the season with a 3-1 win over West Ham United at the London Stadium. However, it wasn’t a straightforward victory for the Sky Blues, as West Ham—who were unbeaten prior to Saturday’s contest, took the lead through a fine header from James Ward-Prowse in the first half.
City came out of the blocks in the second half and responded immediately through Jeremy Doku before Bernardo Silva put them ahead 2-1 with a quarter of an hour remaining. Pep Guardiola’s side had an incredible 29 shots but a combination of missed opportunities, brilliant goalkeeping from Alphonse Areola and brave defending kept the game in the balance until the dying minutes. Erling Haaland wasted a glut of gilt-edged chances but finally got his goal in the final minutes to burst West Ham’s bubbles.
#Ward-Prowse and value of experience
Everyone would like to buy the next bright young talent, or discover an unknown, shiny gem playing for a foreign club, but there is something to be said for experience. Take James Ward-Prowse into consideration; the English midfielder has made a superb start to life as a West Ham player following his switch from relegated Southampton.
There were many who were underwhelmed by David Moyes’s persistence on signing Ward-Prowse, using it to bolster the argument that the Scot’s ideas are outdated and too passive. In signing the 28-year-old, though, Moyes has brought in a Premier League-proven commodity who hasn’t taken any time to adjust to the pace of top-flight football.
And it is no surprise the England international has slotted in so easily. Ward-Prowse has two goals and three assists in four league games—of which one goal was a diving header on Saturday against Man City but not enough to help the Hammers continue their unbeaten start to the season.
#Brighton dismantle Man United
Brighton continue to show the rest of the Premier League how it is done. A scintillating display saw them beat Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford, and had Andre Onana not made four excellent saves—the best of which came in injury time to deny on-loan Barcelona man Ansu Fati a debut goal—it would have been a proper rout.
It was Man United’s first home defeat in 13 months, when Brighton again triumphed here. The manner in which the Seagulls dismantled Erik ten Hag’s side is an indication of the way the club are developing into a force to be reckoned with under Roberto De Zerbi.
#Erik ten Hag’s problems deepen
After all that has gone on this season—on the pitch and off it—Manchester United needed to get a victory under their belts to appease disgruntled supporters against Brighton. But they were humbled by De Zerbi’s side, leaving the Red Devils with three defeats in their first five matches of a league campaign for the first time since 1989-90.
The loss to Brighton brought boos from the Old Trafford faithful at the final whistle, deepening Ten Hag’s problems. United are languishing down in 13th in the standings, already nine points behind treble winners Man City, and the scrutiny over the Dutchman’s position is only going to increase if he fails to turn things around quickly.
#Chelsea all possession but no cutting edge
Chelsea’s struggles in front of goal continued against Bournemouth on Sunday as Mauricio Pochettino’s side created many chances but failed to convert any of those, thus, firing a blank for the second game in a row.
It wasn’t as embarrassing as the 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest before the international break, but it was still not good enough. Nicolas Jackson hit the post, Conor Gallagher wasted a great chance at the cusp of half time and Raheem Sterling rattled the woodwork with a free kick, but in truth, Pochettino’s men created nowhere near enough scoring chances with the possession and dominance they enjoyed at the Vitality Stadium.
#Wolves fail to turn promise into points
Lots of promise, but zero points to show for it. It is a theme that is becoming all too familiar for Gary O’Neil’s Wolves.
In their season opener, Wolves left Old Trafford empty-handed despite being far superior to Manchester United and it was a similar story at home to Liverpool on Saturday. O’Neil’s side were fantastic in the first half at Molineux but were only 1-0 up when in reality, they should have been out of sight with the number of clear opportunities they carved out. However, they faded after the break and Liverpool brutally put them to the sword, leaving Wolves alarmingly with only three points from the opening five games.
#Some relief for Eddie Howe
Newcastle United snapped their three-game losing run with a narrow 1-0 win over Brentford at St James’ Park. Callum Wilson calmly slotted the spot kick in the second half to make it 10/10 for penalties taken and converted as a Newcastle player.
The win offers some relief for Eddie Howe, who has come under immense pressure in recent weeks. His joy after Wilson converted the penalty told the entire story. This win was crucial in terms of generating belief and confidence ahead of Newcastle’s first Champions League engagement in two decades tonight against AC Milan.
#Richarlison receives much-needed encouragement
Tottenham’s rollicking start to the Premier League season under new manager Ange Postecoglou has earned rave reviews but until Saturday, Brazil forward Richarlison had cut a frustrated figure. Short of confidence and dropped from Tottenham’s first XI, Richarlison even spoke of needing some psychological support as he was reduced to tears after being substituted for Brazil against Peru in the past international break.
However, the 26-year-old joined the carnival as a substitute against Sheffield United, scoring the crucial equaliser deep in stoppage time before setting up a dramatic winner for Dejan Kulusevski. Tottenham are enjoying their best start to a Premier League season after five games, and if Postecoglou can start to get a tune of Richarlison, then Spurs could be genuine contenders for a top-four spot, for starters.
#Arsenal show mettle in gritty win at Everton
Arsenal trudged along to a 1-0 victory against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday. It wasn’t a dazzling performance but Mikel Arteta’s side got the job done to continue their unbeaten start to the season.
The Gunners dominated Everton for large parts of the game and had also gone 1-0 up in the first half through Gabriel Martinelli, only for the VAR to chalk off the goal for a controversial offside decision. It took until the 69th minute for Arsenal to break the deadlock, with substitute Leandro Trossard rifling home a left-footed shot from inside the box.
It was a moment of magic from Trossard, who replaced the injured Martinelli in the first half, to produce the difference between the teams in a game of few clear-cut opportunities—especially for Everton. Three points earned in a gritty way should’ve pleased Arteta but more importantly Arsenal’s first victory at Goodison Park since 2017.
#Carlos Vinicius boosts Fulham
Carlos Vinicius didn’t make an appearance in any of Fulham’s opening four Premier League games before coming off the bench against newcomers Luton Town on Saturday. The striker made a telling impact coming off the bench in the second half, scoring the only goal of the game to give Fulham the points.
Vinicius is far from being a permanent fixture in the team just yet. In scoring his first goal of the season, however, and helping Fulham clinch a valuable three points in the process, the Brazilian striker provided a focal point that Marco Silva’s side needed after the summer departure of Aleksandr Mitrovic and another laboured display of Raul Jimenez.
The quality of deliveries from Andreas Pereira, Harry Wilson and Willian look tailor-made for a centre-forward of Vinicius’ stature. The 28-year-old also deserves more backing and chances to flourish in a Fulham shirt from Marco Silva.