TALKING POINTS: FIVE THINGS WE LEARNT FROM SATURDAY'S PREMIER LEAGUE ACTION
Sheffield United vs Manchester City - two talking points
Beautiful build-up to flat finishes
Manchester City moved up to 8th in the Premier League table with a slender 1-0 victory over winless Sheffield United but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Pep Guardiola’s team.
Ferran Torres could’ve had a hat-trick in the first half, with two unconvincing headers and a point-blank shot that was well saved by Aaron Ramsdale, after Raheem Sterling worked his magic to launch a cross into the box.
Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri also had strikes from distance, but it was actually former Blades boy Kyle Walker who broke the deadlock with a fierce drive from the edge of the box.
In the second half, De Bruyne squandered another good opportunity, while Bernardo Silva did the hard part in getting past three Sheffield United defenders, following a smart one-two with Riyad Mahrez, only to shoot straight at Ramsdale.
Despite Sheffield United’s lack of urgency in the final third, City blew a lot of good opportunities to double the lead and on another day the Blades could’ve easily earnt a point.
Good performances? Yes – Points? No
One point from seven games for Chris Wilder’s side has them sitting in the relegation zone, but three of their opening fixtures have come against traditional big six teams, so is it no cause for concern or is it time to worry for last season’s surprise package?
The Blades looked relatively strong against City after their improved performance at Anfield last weekend, but again they come away with no points.
Sander Berge was the best player in red and white on the day and the Norwegian midfielder should’ve had an assist to his name when he bombed down the right and put it on a plate for second half substitute John Lundstram, who could only fire over.
Fulham are the only team who have not earnt maximum points against Sheffield United and that may need to be the blueprint for their season, picking up as many points as they can from the teams around them.
Before the November International break, Chris Wilder’s side face more tough opposition in the form of Chelsea, but following the two-week break in November they face West Ham and West Brom, two games where they can certainly earn some points.
Burnley vs Chelsea
Architects of their own downfall - One huge talking point
Burnley put in a typical performance against Spurs but came away with no points, against Chelsea though, they were unrecognisable.
For two of Chelsea’s three goals, Burnley brought it on themselves with two misplaced passes, Hakim Ziyech’s opener came from a Charlie Taylor shunted clearance.
Ashley Westwood can claim the assist for Chelsea’s third when Reece James intercepted his pass with the ball eventually ending with Timo Werner and his strike sealed the points for Frank Lampard’s side.
After an impressive display from the Clarets on Monday evening Sean Dyche will be disappointed with this performance, especially as they caused their own problems.
Chelsea looked much stronger defensively and two of the three big money signings stepped up with important goals which can only be a positive for the Blues.
Liverpool vs West Ham - two talking points
Déjà vu for Liverpool
Going behind early on, equalising in the first half, having a goal disallowed, but eventually scoring a legitimate winner through Diogo Jota. That sounds awfully familiar for a Liverpool game on a Saturday evening.
Yet again Liverpool had to force their way back into a game at Anfield, falling behind to Pablo Fornals strike before Mo Salah and Diogo Jota earnt the points for Jurgen Klopp’s reds.
The football Liverpool are currently playing may not be as glamourous and entertaining to watch as last season but they are still getting three points on the board.
Liverpool possibly relied too much on bombarding their opposition early on and having the game wrapped-up way before the full-time whistle.
But now Liverpool are having to grind to results, with two back-to-back 2-1 wins at Anfield, an even truer testament to how they’re evolving and developing as a team in search of retaining their Premier League title.
A day Nathaniel Phillips will never forget
Virgil Van Dijk’s long-term injury had given Liverpool a big problem at the back, luckily for the Reds Fabinho has stepped in and performed superbly, but now he’s absent for at least few weeks and Jurgen Klopp faces even more problems.
23-year-old Nathaniel Phillips, who made his league debut for the club, came in alongside Joe Gomez and didn’t look out of his depth at all.
He dominated in the air and firmly took his opportunity to show Klopp that he can be an important part of Liverpool’s defence during the injury crisis they have at the back.
A loan spell last season with Stuttgart in Germany allowed Phillips to gain some first team football, in which he kept six clean sheets from 19 games.
The busy schedule ahead for Liverpool may have proved costly for their hopes of regaining the Champions League or retaining the Premier League, but the performances from Phillips and also Rhys Williams have shown Klopp that he can rely on the less experienced younger players.