What did we learn during matchweek 8 of the 2021-22 Premier League?
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
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.
[ VIDEO: PL highlights ]
Let’s get to it.
1. Liverpool going under the radar (Watford 0-5 Liverpool): Somehow they are still flying under the radar when it comes to the Premier League title race. Jurgen Klopp is totally fine with that and with Firmino coming in for Jota and scoring a hat trick, plus Milner and Keita looking solid in midfield, this squad looks a lot stronger this season. If injuries are kind to Liverpool, they will be right up there at the end of this season. (JPW)
2. Job done, but little more from Manchester City (Manchester City 2-0 Burnley): On the one hand, many of Man City’s players only returned to Manchester within the last 48 hours after traveling all over the world and playing two (or three) games in seven days’ time (not to mention the Premier League fixtures three days prior and three days after), so it’s to be expected that the first game back after an international break won’t ever showcase any side’s best self. On the other hand, it’s Burnley. We’ll just say the schedule makers were exceptionally kind to Manchester City and allow them this one semi-subpar performance in a victory that was never, ever in doubt. (AE)
3. Mendy saves Chelsea (Brentford 0-1 Chelsea): The Senegalese goalkeeper made multiple brilliant saves in the second half and the last one was stunning as he tipped Norgaard’s overhead kick onto the bar. Everybody inside the stadium could not believe it. It was a true hands on head moment and this was one of the best goalkeeping displays in recent memory. (JPW)
4. Harry’s very bad day (Leicester 4-2 Manchester United): Harry Maguire’s return from injury was the opposite of Marcus Rashford’s (more on that in a minute). The England center back’s absent-minded time on the ball let Kelechi Iheanacho set up Tielemans’ opener, then Maguire kept Leicester’s attackers onside while calling for offside instead of worrying about scorer Caglar Soyuncu. Finally, Maguire got a terrific view of Patson Daka’s finish. He passed the ball well, especially long, but the defending part is truly more important, isn’t it? Maybe his day underscores how critical Raphael Varane has become, but Lindelof had an assist was genuinely the better center back. (NM)
5. Brentford will always go for it (Brentford 0-1 Chelsea): Thomas Frank and his side are brilliant to watch. They always deliver drama and they will always go for it. It is not in their DNA to play it safe. Sometimes they will lose, like they did against Chelsea, but they were in this the whole game and only an amazing goalkeeping display denied them at least a point. The Bees are superb to have in the PL. (JPW)
6. Spurs ruthless, but still room for improvement (Newcastle 2-3 Tottenham): Kane, Son and Ndobmele all scored and Spurs were ruthless in this game, as they scored three times from four shots on target. They had struggled to score for most of this season and even though they scored three here, they should have scored a load more and put this game beyond doubt. Being more ruthless is the next step for this Spurs side. (JPW)
7. Moyes can do it again (Everton 0-1 West Ham): He turned Everton into a team that consistently pushed for a top four finish, and he can do that at West Ham too. This West Ham side is eerily similar to the one he had at Everton. West Ham are well-organized, excellent from set pieces and horrible to play against. There’s no reason why the Hammers cannot push for another top six finish, at the very least, this season. They have a small squad, but that is exactly the way Moyes likes it. Every player knows their role perfectly. (JPW)
8. Wolves staying Lage’s course (Aston Villa 2-3 Wolves): As demoralizing as the results were in the first month of the season, Wolves felt like a side on the brink of putting all the pieces together and changing their fortunes rather swiftly (it’s something we talked about at the time on PST’s weekly video series). Since then, 4W-0D-1L with eight goals scored and just three conceded by Bruno Lage’s Wolves. (AE)
9. Broja seems like the answer for Saints (Southampton 1-0 Leeds): His first started yielded his first Premier League goal and Broja was a handful. He flicked dangerous headers on from corners, held the ball up well and took his goal bravely. The Albanian international is only 20 years old and with Che Adams out injured and Adam Armstrong dropped, he took his chance to lead the line for Saints. The Chelsea loanee looks to have a really bright future. (JPW)
10. Sargent struggles, Pukki disappoints (Norwich 0-0 Brighton): The misses from Sargent were almost unfathomable, especially the first. The USMNT man harried goalkeeper Robert Sanchez into a huge error and tried to slot into a yawning goal from the corner of the 18, but his shot had little mustard and may’ve not crossed the line even if the intervening defender didn’t stop it. He’d mishit another when slotted through by Teemu Pukki, who missed two near-post chances of his own. (NM)