What did we learn during matchweek 7 of the 2021-22 Premier League?
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Here’s a look at 10 things which stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) share their observations from across the most recent Premier League games.
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Let’s get to it.
1. Salah at his very, very best (Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City): We’ve mentioned that Liverpool’s Egyptian wizard has been overlooked a bit in recent seasons, near the top of the Golden Boot chase last season despite what most pundits would tell you was a down season. Well, if his assist on Mane’s goal delivers plaudits to the scorer, his second surely heaps it on Mohamed Salah — Premier League goal of the season stuff from one of the game’s truly elite creators and finishers.
Furthermore, consider how much joy Joao Cancelo and Manchester City had on its left in the first half. What Salah forced Cancelo to do in the second, skinning him often in the process, changed the game. (NM)
2. Chelsea’s extra options deliver (Chelsea 3-1 Southampton): This is the quality they have. Jorginho came on and helped them wrestle back control of the game, fellow sub Ross Barkley set up the goal to make it 2-1 brilliantly and a rare start for Werner saw him cause havoc. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was superb too. With Chelsea missing N’Golo Kante, Reece James and Christian Pulisic, the strength of their squad was clear to see. Mason Mount coming off the bench late on gave them a boost too, as their extra quality, and options, was the difference. (JPW)
3. Solskjaer’s rotation will be questioned (Manchester United 1-1 Everton): With Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo left out, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be questioned for rotating his lineup. Those two players have been key for Manchester United this season, and it seemed like they should be the last two players that Solskjaer drops right now. He did, and it didn’t work out. (JPW)
4. Better from Kane (Tottenham 2-1 Aston Villa): Maybe his substitute hat trick against weaker opposition in the UECL on Thursday unlocked his shooting boots, but Harry Kane was improved and active against Villa. Six shots, two on target, and probably a brace on another day. Maybe he’s just getting settled into the, “Yeah, I’m really not going anywhere and this can be fun for a bit” role. (NM)
5. Wissa the next big Bee? (West Ham 1-2 Brentford) Ivan Toney is the star. Bryan Mbeumo and Sergi Canos not far behind. But Yoane Wissa simply cannot stop scoring in limited minutes, and his last two came in big, big spots. Wissa has only made four substitute appearances in Premier League play, but has two goals in his last 10 minutes, plus he has three goals in two League Cup matches. Wissa’s been a goal and assist man in Ligue 2 and Ligue 1 before coming to London. It’s possible the 25-year-old Congolese can be Brentford’s next star. (NM)
6. Sleepy Foxes punished (Crystal Palace 2-2 Leicester): Leicester didn’t start the game well, at all, but they were 2-0 up. Brendan Rodgers will not be happy with the overall display and they seem to lack creativity, but also look shaky in defense. They have a lot of injuries at the back, but that doesn’t excuse the general malaise surrounding Leicester right now. For a team that pushed hard for the top four last season, again, and won the FA Cup and Community Shield in recent months, this has been a poor start to the season. (JPW)
7. No Bissouma, no problem? All hail Graham Potter (Brighton 0-0 Arsenal): What does it say that Arsenal’s three-match win streak and a healthy Thomas Partey was going up against a Brighton team whose player of the season so far was missing and for at least 45 minutes you couldn’t tell. Graham Potter accounted for the lack of Yves Bissouma and Arsenal had no idea what was going on. The Gunners were fortunate to hit halftime 0-0. (NM)
8. Jimenez the playmaker (Wolves 2-1 Newcastle): Raul Jimenez is still waiting on his 50th career Wolves goal but he jumped from 18 to 20 assists with his contributions to Hee-chan Hwang’s goals. He’s a classic hold-up midfielder who was often overlooked for his assist skills (and possibly his scoring) due to being on Wolves and later for his long absence following that scary cracked skull suffered versus Arsenal. There are few doubts he’s finding his best level again and right in time for Bruno Lage’s men to push up the table. (NM)
9. Leeds start strong, finish stronger (Leeds 1-0 Watford): Everything aside from the scoreboard demonstrated total control and dominance by Leeds. It was a performance befitting a 3-0 or 4-0 victory, and certainly not one you’d expect to see from a winless side. With the exception of one freak moment late in the second half, Watford never looked like scoring. (AE)
10. Burnley back to keeping clean sheets (Burnley 0-0 Norwich): On the plus side for Burnley, Saturday marked their first clean sheet of the season. Sean Dyche’s side has long been known for its defensive solidity and discipline, yet the Clarets let in 11 goals in their first six games. It’s comforting that a few things in life don’t ever change.