What did we learn from Week 3 of the 2022-23 Premier League season? That the league, top-to-bottom, continues to grow deeper than at any point in its history.
There’s still one more match to go in Week 3 and it’s a doozy. Given the way Manchester United and Liverpool have started their seasons ahead of Monday’s scrap at Old Trafford, we may learn 10 more things (Watch live at 3pm ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).
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Here’s a look at 10 things which stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Andy Edwards (AE), and Nicholas Mendola (NM) share their observations from across the most recent PL games.
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Let’s get to it.
10 things we learned in the Premier League: Week 3
1. Arsenal has the attack to go unbeaten for a while (Bournemouth 0-3 Arsenal): Crystal Palace, Leicester City, and now Bournemouth have looked largely ill-fit to deal with the new-look Arsenal attack, and Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko are looking like players sprung from their cages, chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and stepping out over the line (Zinchenko, to be fair, could’ve used with a bit less freedom at times on Saturday). They were good, of course, as part of Man City’s system. Now given freer reign to show their style in space, the pair make the Gunners the last unbeaten team in the Premier League because their goals need canceling out to put an ‘L’ on the board. Perhaps scariest for many Premier League teams (and Bournemouth supporters)? The Gunners rarely looked like they had to shift into second gear. (NM)
2. Chelsea misses key components vs busy, directed Leeds (Leeds 3-0 Chelsea): The No. 1 thing that seemed set to put Chelsea amongst the top four again was their incredible midfield, led by steady eddies Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, and N’Golo Kante. The latter two were injured on Sunday and that led to a Jorginho and Conor Gallagher pairing that wasn’t terrible but hardly terrifying. Leeds enjoyed their freedom and it’s no surprise Chelsea’s backs found themselves under duress. (NM)
3. Newcastle, Man City show a taste of what’s to come? (Newcastle 3-3 Man City): Just as Chelsea was a blueprint for Man City after its big takeover, Newcastle is looking to Man City (and others) for how to fast-forward a rise to top-four and eventually title contender. The biggest difference between the Magpies and Citizens right now is that City brought Ruben Dias off the bench and had Kalvin Phillips, Riyad Mahrez, and Julian Alvarez waiting if needed. Newcastle brought off Callum Wilson, Joe Willock, and Miguel Almiron for Chris Wood, Sean Longstaff, and Jacob Murphy. No wonder Joao Pedro’s being chased so hard by the Magpies. (NM)
4. Resilient Tottenham ready to take next step (Wolves 0-1 Tottenham): Their spirited draw at Chelsea and this narrow win over Wolves prove that Antonio Conte is ready to take Tottenham to the next level. These are the kind of games you need to win if you’re serious about challenging for the Premier League title and that is the next step for Spurs. They may not be serious contenders this season but they do look to have closed the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City, especially when it comes to their mentality and resilience. We know Spurs have the attacking talents to blow teams away but we now know they have the mental toughness to hang in there and grab points when perhaps they didn’t deserve them. (JPW)
5. Everton still in some trouble without (attacking) signings (Everton 1-1 Nottingham Forest): If the Toffees have to sell Anthony Gordon to bring in two, three, or even four attackers, well, it has to happen. Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was good and you can expect the defense and midfield to stabilize to some degree, but there’s just nothing going on up top outside of Gordon’s engine. And given a stay at Goodison Park he’s gonna wanna show finish befitting his reported Chelsea price tag. (NM)
6.Jesse Marsch’s identity all over Leeds (Leeds 3-0 Chelsea):There are plenty of similarities between this Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, so let’s start by lauding the ownership for hiring a proper replacement. Jesse Marsch’s energetic team may, too, one day burn out like Bielsa’s did, but they are working relentlessly and with purpose. The system asks for pressure but also creativity, and a team that sold Raphinha and has went and scored two, two, and three goals in their first PL games. Not too bad. (NM)
7. Brighton owns the midfield (West Ham 0-2 Brighton): More like Yves Bi-who-ma, right? Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo have kept the Seagulls midfield cruising despite the sale of Yves Bissouma to Tottenham. The duo is keeping Enock Mwepu and Steven Alzate on the sidelines and there’s no arguing against it. Brighton remains a star center forward away from true European contention (and they may be able to do it anyway). To be fair to Danny Welbeck, he’s not been bad at all. But like Callum Wilson at Newcastle, you’re gonna need better or deeper to contend for bigger things. (NM)
8. Leicester City going through the motions (Leicester 1-2 Southampton): The Foxes had plenty of the ball throughout but didn’t really force the issue aside from James Maddison’s cheeky free kick. Leicester’s players weren’t taking responsibility and there is a malaise around the King Power Stadium right now. With Wesley Fofana being left out of the squad after being distracted by Chelsea’s ongoing pursuit of him, plus Youri Tielemans left on the bench, Brendan Rodgers has to reignite the hunger in his team after a summer of frugality and consolidation. (JPW)
9. Fulham win derby by setting tone with tempo, pressure (Fulham 3-2 Brentford): At halftime, Fulham’s three most-forward attackers combined for 79 touches between them, compared to just 37 for Brentford’s front-three. Fulham’s press gave Brentford’s midfield and defense fits anytime they tried to pass out of the back, while playing a very high line to shrink the space in which Ivan Toney could be targeted with outlet balls. Brentford, the Premier League
kings princes of chaos, were simply overwhelmed. It was clever from Marco Silva, taking away the Bees’ two favorite paths forward. It was a real departure from the way Silva’s previous sides (Watford and Everton) ever played in the PL. No doubt about it, there’s more substance and structure to this iteration of Fulham than anything we ever saw from them during their last two stints in the PL. (AE)
10. Eze, Edouard fitting in with everpresent Zaha (Crystal Palace 2-1 Aston Villa): For far too long, the entirety of Crystal Palace’s attacking gameplan consisted of “get Wilfried the ball and just get out of his way” and very little else. In Eberechi Eze, Palace has a wonderful creative complement to Zaha’s pace and direct approach — intentional languid and ponderous but quick with a burst over short distances, a tight-alley dribbler with exceptional timing for passing and immediately moving. When he goes wide and Zaha tucks inside (or vice versa) there’s no end to the danger they pose the right and center backs. Nightmares. Odsonne Edouard will score a fair few goals by proximity to Zaha and Eze, but he serves the side best as a facilitator dropping in between the lines. It all fits together so well. (AE)