Saturday is in the book for Week 4 of the 2018-19 Premier League season.
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What did we learn?
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Below we focus on the key takeaways from the seven games ahead of the two-week international break.
Chelsea, Liverpool stay perfect but title credentials unclear
Don’t get me wrong. Four wins from four is a fantastic start for Chelsea and Liverpool. But there are a few worrying signs which suggest their title challenges with Manchester City and Tottenham may have a few hiccups along the way. Liverpool almost blew a 2-0 lead at Leicester and apart from the first 15 minutes they struggled to control the tempo of the game. Their goalkeeper Alisson made a huge mistake to allow Leicester to score and hasn’t learned from his lessons of the faster tempo of the game in England with the ball at his feet. Jurgen Klopp won’t be too worried, but there are signs in their last two games that Liverpool are struggling to inject the same energy into their play as they did throughout last season. As for Chelsea, they again looked susceptible on the break at home against Bournemouth and had Nathan Ake not missed a sitter it would’ve been intriguing to see how they reacted. In the end the quality of Pedro and Eden Hazard delivered another win and although Maurizio Sarri talked about their title credentials, you have to feel that Chelsea must improve defensively if they’re going to make a serious challenge. Going forward both Chelsea and Liverpool have everything they need to punish any team in the Premier League. Question marks remain about their defensive unit despite perfect starts to the season.
Southampton, Wolves off and running; European charge next?
Going into Week 4 there had been plenty of promising displays for Southampton and Wolverhampton but neither side had their first victories of the campaign. Now they do. Saints won away at Wilfried Zaha-less Crystal Palace with Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on target. They rode their luck with Alex McCarthy making several fine stops and Christian Benteke having another off day, but Mark Hughes was delighted with a composed display as they could even afford a missed penalty kick from Charlie Austin. As for Wolves, they also had to rely on Rui Patricio making some fine stops too but Nuno Espirito Santo‘s team finally got their first win back in the Premier League via summer signing Adama Traore who scored in stoppage time at West Ham. It is early days in the season but both Saints and Wolves will be hoping to ride the positive momentum these wins take into the international break and then push for at least a top 10 finish this season. With Burnley and West Ham struggling, Everton erratic and even the likes of Arsenal out of sorts early on, could these teams lead the charge for clubs hoping to sneak inside the top seven?
Yedlin recovers after rough week
USMNT right back DeAndre Yedlin will have had a rough week. After he scored a cruel late own goal at home to hand Chelsea a 2-1 win last Sunday, the Newcastle right back reacted perfectly. A searing 70-yard run saw him get on the end of a cross to slot home his first-ever Premier League goal at reigning champions Manchester City on Saturday. Yedlin was the first American to score in the PL since March 2014, and he has shown once again his play is maturing. He sent in an inch-perfect cross for Joselu to score against Chelsea last week and his extreme pace is being nurtured into a valuable weapon for Rafael Benitez in his ultra-defensive system at Newcastle. Yedlin is now 25 years old and his career had threatened to be derailed before a loan move to Sunderland from Tottenham in 2015. Since then his defensive play has improved drastically at Newcastle and now he’s able to pick the perfect moments to devastate opponents with his stunning pace.