Saints have four points for the season, while United have five points as they head into the international break.
3 things we learned
1. United’s lack of control alarming: The way United failed to grab this game by the scruff of the neck sums up where they are at right now. After scoring early to take the lead, they sat back and Paul Pogba‘s sloppy passing epitomized their disjointed approach. Defensively they were solid enough, but Marcus Rashford didn’t get into the game at all and there is still no real identity to this young United side.
2. Saints’ high press tough to handle: Early on in both halves Southampton forced United back and their intense high-pressing couldn’t be matched. Hasenhuttl’s side look fit after a full preseason under his tutelage and even though they didn’t keep the ball well when they won it back, they got in the faces of United and it worked a treat.
3. Daniel James a menace: Three goals in his first four Premier League games is a great return for the Welsh 21-year-old. Aside from his goals, James’ pace causes so many issues and had he been a little more composed in the second half he could have scored a winner. What a bargain buy he is.
Man of the Match: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Superb one-on-one defending against Boufal, and a threat going forward. Another superb display from United’s new right back, who looked confident after his first-ever England call up.
Saints started well as Sofiane Boufal flashed a shot inches wide, but Man United took the lead against the run of play.
James was found on the edge of the box by Scott McTominay and then cut inside and smashed a shot into the far top corner to make it 1-0.
United were rampant for the rest of the first half as James forced Angus Gunn into a smart save, Wan-Bissaka flashed an effort over and Rashford was growing into the game.
Along with Arsenal-Tottenham, there are plenty of other games to keep an eye on this week. Here are this week’s top Premier League storylines.
North London Derby
Arsenal v. Tottenham, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN
Excitement and expectation will grow all weekend heading into the first Arsenal-Tottenham matchup of the young season. The Gunners come off a 3-0 defeat that was at times indicitave of that scoreline and at times now. However, this week could see the introduction of Alexandre Lacazette playing alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe, which would delight Arsenal’s fans, even though defensively there are still major questions about new signing David Luiz. Mesut Ozil may even feature as well.
On the other hand, Tottenham has had an up and down start to the season, seeming to lack in creativity until Christian Eriksen enters the fray. But a 1-0 loss to Newcastle last week showed manager Mauricio Pochettino there was much to work on. Of course, prior form is always out the window in a match like this one.
Can Man United Bounce Back?
Southampton v. Manchester United, Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN
It’s been two weeks of missed penalty kick drama and a shocking 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace that Man United has had to navigate recently. Now, leaving the friendly confines of Old Trafford may be the best medicine for this side in turmoil. Many veterans have either left or are on their way out the door, and the young squad still appears to be finding its form. Man United then has a good opportunity against a struggling Southampton.
66% – Aaron Wan-Bissaka has won 66% of his 411 duels in the Premier League since the start of 2018-19; a better ratio than any full back to have been involved in 200+ duels in the competition in this time. Solid. pic.twitter.com/eBO2SXP82T
Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side won over Brighton and Hove Albion in a battle between two south coast clubs, but Southampton was overmatched against not only Liverpool earlier this season, but Burnley too. Southampton is going to need Danny Ings to show the form that made him a Liverpool player in the first place if Southampton wants to come away with at least a point on Saturday.
Jumpstarting Everton’s Offense
Everton v. Wolves, Sunday, 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN
One of the most perplexing storylines to follow this year has been the play – or lack thereof – in attacking areas by Everton. After signing Moise Kean and Alex Iwobi – the latter on transfer deadline day – to add to a strong attacking corps on paper, it seemed Everton could possibly take a step forward this season. It’s still early, of course, but the Toffees have recorded just one Premier League goal through three games this season. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Richarlison are all still waiting to make a big impact this season. Perhaps it can come against one of the best of the rest in Wolves.
Raul Jimenez appears to be the center forward Everton wishes it had, strong, powerful, but also expertly technical on the ball. Most importantly, he’s finishing consistently now, both in the league and abroad. As Wolves looks to put space between the mid-tier clubs and break into the top six, this match at Everton could prove a huge result for Nuno Espirito Santos’ side.
Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 3
Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Half of the Premier League’s teams — yes, 10 of them — have 1-1-1 records after three match days, though not all are created equal.
For example, baffling VAR decisions. Manchester United can feel righteously aggrieved to not have at least six points. Spurs got huge VAR help to draw Man City but could’ve snared a point from Newcastle (yeah, that happened) should a penalty decision have went their way.
Sheffield United and Bournemouth drew each other and beat poor sides at home.
And what in the world do you make of Wolves, who have three draws but have been clobbered by early season qualifying rounds of the Europa League.
Green: New season-high ranking Red: New season-low
20. Watford — The Pozzo family doesn’t mind changing bosses and, fair or not (it isn’t), Javi Gracia may find himself unemployed without a win at Newcastle next week. Fortunately, they are playing Newcastle. Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-3 v. West Ham
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United
19. Newcastle United — Beat Tottenham and only move up one spot? Unfortunately, while the Magpies were gritty against Spurs and the win should not be discounted entirely, they hemorrhaged possession aside from the 15-pass sequence that led to Joelinton‘s first goal for the Toon. A fine moment for embattled Steve Bruce, but still so much work to do. Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford
18. Crystal Palace — Credit that wonderful play at the end of the match for a remarkable and historic win over Manchester United, but Palace is still getting little out of WilfriedZaha and probably should’ve lost by 3 or 4 goals before David De Gea fumbled away a point for the hosts. And we can’t jump them above a Sheffield United side which dominated them in Week 2. Last week: 18 Season high: 18
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-1 at Manchester United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Aston Villa
17. Bournemouth — Probably better than their 17th place status, but the Cherries have a draw against Sheffield United and a win over Aston Villa in which they were controlled after a wobbly opening. Too good to stay this low, but justifiably 17th. Last week: 14
Season high: 14 Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City
16. Sheffield United — The scrappy Blades are following the Sean Dyche at Burnley model, and weren’t able to get a point at home despite a brave effort against Leicester. Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea
15. Norwich City — Daniel Farke‘s men are going to bring us entertainment, and we’ll get another clue of their place in the league when they visit dangerous but another dangerous attack in West Ham. Last week: 12
Season high: 12
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-3 v. Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at West Ham United
14. Brighton and Hove Albion — We gave the Seagulls a mulligan for the West Ham draw, but cannot look past this week’s loss to Southampton. Saints are a good side, but a 2-0 loss at home and a reckless red card do not make friends amongst the power rankers. Last week: 6
Season high: 5 Season low: 14 Last match: Lost 0-2 v. Southampton Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City
13. Southampton — A Danny Ings flick away from giving us 11 teams with a 1-1-1-1 record, Saints earned this week’s win and will relish it coming via a nice showing from Moussa Djenepo. Last week: 16 Season high: 13 Season low: 19 Last match: Won 2-0 at Brighton Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Manchester United
12. West Ham United — Sebastien Haller looked every bit the versatile star center forward, able to set-up, hold-up, and finish. We already knew Felipe Anderson was the truth. Now can Manuel Pellegrini find consistency in this bunch? Last week: 17 Season high: 12 Season low: 18 Last match: Won 3-1 at Watford Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City
11. Everton — The performance at Villa is the kind that has been taking Everton out of the Top Six discussion during the Marco Silva era (and well before it, really). Huge test Sunday before an international break which could find Silva feeling plenty hot under the collar. Last week: 8
Season high: 8 Season low: 11 Last match: Lost 0-2 at Aston Villa Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves
10. Aston Villa — The Villans are looking more like a side which never left the Premier League than a newly-promoted one. Dean Smith deserves PL Manager of the Month honors if he’s able to get a result at Palace and skate into the break at a mid table pace. Last week: 15
Season high: 8 Season low: 15 Last match: Won 2-0 v. Everton Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Crystal Palace
9. Chelsea — Just not buying it yet, are we? Mason Mount looks a legit force, Tammy Abraham is showing flashes, and Christian Pulisic is doing well enough, but who is the star that will consistently make the difference, let alone against the big boys? Last week: 12 Season high: 9 Season low: 12 Last match: Won 3-2 at Norwich City Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United
8. Wolves — Three draws from three matches, and just barely got a point off of Burnley, but the performances have come while waylaid with Europa League duties including an unfriendly match against Torino on Thursday (Who they absolutely handled). Nuno’s got it simmering. Last week: 7
Season high: 7 Season low: 9 Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Burnley Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Everton
7. Spurs — Dominant again against Newcastle despite an injury to key man Tanguy Ndombele, and simply unfortunate to not get a point, but there are so many questions for Mauricio Pochettino. If you’re going to risk Christian Eriksen, why not start him? If you don’t have an answer at right back, why not play a back three instead of keeping Jan flipping Vertonghen on the bench? Last week: 2
Season high: 2 Season low: 7 Last match: Lost 0-1 v. Newcastle United Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal
6. Man Utd — We watched the Palace loss, and still can’t quite believe our eyes. The Red Devils are so much better than 1-1-1, but that and a friendly pour at the pub will give you a headache and a 1-1-1 record. Now start Juan Mata over Jesse Lingard and thank me later. Last week: 5
Season high: 2 Season low: 6 Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Crystal Palace Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Southampton
5. Burnley — They aren’t doing this again, are they? The Clarets struggled last season with Europa League schedule congestion, but finished in the Top Seven the last time they only had to focus on the league. A silly Erik Pieters challenge away from third place in our rankings. Last week: 9 Season high: 5 Season low: 9 Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool
4. Arsenal — Don’t give them too much credit for producing three terrific chances against Liverpool — that’s what’s keeping Liverpool out of 1st this week. The questions about the defense remain real, but Nicolas Pepe is going to be a delight once he finds his finishing boots. Last week: 4
Season high: 4 Season low: 7 Last match: Lost 1-3 at Liverpool Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Tottenham
3. Leicester City — There’s a bit of “by default” to this ranking, but the Foxes have drawn Wolves and picked up a point away to Chelsea. The win at Sheffield United wasn’t a ballot-box stuffer by any means, but Brendan Rodgers‘ men did what Manchester United sand Spurs could not this weekend in beating a probable relegation scrapper.
Last week: 10 Season high: 3 Season low: 10 Last match: Won 2-1 at Sheffield United Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth
2. Liverpool — The Reds are 3-0, champions of Europe, and a pleasure for the eyes. Their defense remains a problem, and Jurgen Klopp‘s crew has given up more big chances from open play than anyone would deem functional for a title squad. Last week: 3
Season high: 2 Season low: 3 Last match: Won 3-1 v. Arsenal Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Burnley
Manchester City — The only way to score on City is through set pieces, and the only way to stop them is locking them out of the stadium. Last week: 1
Season high: 1 Season low: 1 Last match: Won 3-1 at Bournemouth Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton
The CliffsNotes of Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat of Arsenal says one team was much better than the other, who didn’t choose its lineup well and couldn’t take advantage of a defense that doesn’t look ready to match wits with the best in the world.
Mohamed Salah was amazing, Unai Emery was uninspiring, and Arsenal’s attack joined Norwich City and Southampton in howling, “What if?” in a fun match that never really threatened to go in any direction other than that of the reigning European champions.
Take your few chances versus Liverpool, or die
Over the last two months, Liverpool may have allowed more dynamite scoring chances than they did over the second half of the 2018-19 season.
If you don’t cash in those chips against them, you might as well call it a day.
Aubameyang took too long to shoot when another giveaway put him through on goal, and Matip caught up to the Gabon star. Still, a prime chance.
We’ve seen time and again this early season that Liverpool opens up at the back, but Arsenal’s stars did like Danny Ings in Week Two and pretty much all of Norwich City’s attack on Opening Day, and got the same result as their PL peers.
That said, Liverpool still foiled in bid for long-sought clean sheet
Preseason is preseason, but the Reds usually imperious defense had dragged its sloppy form from summer into the Premier League.
Liverpool kept a clean sheet in its preseason opener against Tranmere Rovers, and went on to concede 12 in the next six friendlies. Norwich City and Southampton both managed a goal in the Reds’ first two PL outings, but there were plenty of misses (See Danny Ings’ attempted flick equalizer in Week Two).
Throw in 1-1 and 2-2 score lines in the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup matches, and Liverpool hadn’t kept a clean sheet in 10 outings.
Now we’ve documented how this was still not a luxurious example of the Reds’ defending prowess but, given Arsenal’s attack, a clean sheet would have still loomed larger than any of their other performances this season. Instead, Torreira’s goal a mild red flag as Liverpool’s failure to hang a ‘0’ on the board for the 11th-straight occasion.
Instead, the questions rightly remain. What will happen when the attack isn’t so prolific?
Mo’ Mo, please
When you’ve got a magnificent team like Liverpool, there’s a temptation to magnify ancillary pieces or second stars over the best attacker on the team.
Please don’t make that mistake, Reds fans.
Mohamed Salah is one of the best players in the world, and he’s a touch above any one on the attacking unit in terms of importance. Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are splendid players who would be the best on any number of teams, but Salah they are not.
He’s stronger than he looks, and will plant his legs into the pitch to hold position. He’s legs whir like the roadrunner, and he’s so clever both will and without the ball. To boot, Salah hasn’t yet had to embellish to win a penalty yet this season, literally the only knock against him (and also an asset for his team, whether you like it or not).
Now whether Salah or Virgil Van Dijk is more important to the team, well, that’s a great debate for your next time watching with friends.
Boy do I love getting yelled at, so let’s invite more criticism with Week 2 of the Premier League Power Rankings.
Let’s also get something out of the way, though: While a round-robin tournament such as the Premier League doesn’t need power rankings by the end of the season given the balanced schedule, the early season is ripe for these sorts of debate because of the performances and opponents.
Additionally, we like having fun. Because this is sports. And sports are supposed to be fun. Even if you support Newcastle and the idea that sports are supposed to be fun sounds like someone telling you something you’re allergic to is goooooood eatin’.
Excited for the furor. Let’s party in the comments section.
20. Newcastle United — For all the promise Miguel Almiron showed under Rafa Benitez, the Paraguayan looks absolutely clueless under Steve Bruce. Last week’s ranking: 16
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Norwich City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Spurs
19. Watford — The Pozzo Family is known to change managers on a whim, and Javi Gracia will be wondering if his wonderful 2018-19 is fresh enough in the owners’ minds following an insipid loss to Brighton and a two-shot performance at Everton. Last week’s ranking: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham
18. Crystal Palace — Unlike Newcastle at Norwich, the Eagles probably deserved a point in losing to a newly-promoted side. They still did, however, lose to a newly-promoted side. Will WilfriedZaha torment his old club (Man Utd) and teammate (Aaron Wan-Bissaka) on Saturday? Also, those away jerseys… Last week’s ranking: 14
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Manchester United
17. West Ham United —Manuel Pellegrini will be under deserved pressure if he can’t manufacture a result at Watford. Last week’s ranking: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford
16. Southampton — Thoroughly deserved a home point versus Liverpool, but that does not totally make amends for a terrible Week 1. Last week’s ranking: 19
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton and Hove Albion
15. Aston Villa —Dean Smith knows the mistakes made early against Bournemouth can’t happen in the Premier League, but the Villans were the better team in a loss to Bournemouth. Last week’s ranking: 8
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday v. Everton
14. Bournemouth —Eddie Howe, on the other hand, will be thanking his lucky stars that Tom Heaton decided to put Villa behind the 8-ball after just 45 seconds. We need to see better from the Cherries, and it’s probably not coming when Man City visits on Sunday. Last week’s ranking: 15
Last match: Won 2-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Man City
13. Sheffield United — The Blades have been a pesky problem in collecting four points from Bournemouth and Palace. Saturday’s visit from Leicester City will be a bird of a different feather. Last week’s ranking: 13
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Leicester City
12. Norwich City —Teemu Pukki was lethal against Newcastle, and the Canaries probably could’ve scored thrice on Opening Day at Anfield. That, folks, is what we call encouraging stuff for a newly-promoted group. Last week’s ranking: 17
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea
11. Chelsea — There’s a lot to say about Frank Lampard as a manager, but we can’t stop thinking about how gigantic he looked standing next to Brendan Rodgers after the match. Will we have the chance to see it again when Chelsea visits Leicester City on Feb. 1? Last week’s ranking: 12
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Leicester City
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City
10. Leicester City — So far, so okay for Brendan Rodgers and the Foxes, who took points from two tricky fixtures. Nothing but three points will be acceptable this weekend at Sheffield United. Last week’s ranking: 10
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United
9. Burnley — Don’t bet against Sean Dyche. You’ll either lose, or be terrified at how angry you’ve made Sean Dyche in being right. Last week’s ranking: 6
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Arsenal
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Wolves
8. Everton — After taking four points from two matches, the Toffees’ bring an extremely enticing start to the Premier League weekend on Friday at entertaining Aston Villa. Last week’s ranking: 11
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Watford
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday at Aston Villa
7. Wolves — What they’ve done in drawing Leicester City and Manchester United while bombarded with Europa League fixtures and planning is laudable and acceptable. Last week’s ranking: 9
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Burnley
6. Brighton and Hove Albion —Graham Potter‘s Blue and White Army are unbeaten through two matches and deserved three points against West Ham in a 1-1 draw. Leandro Trossard is a talent, and looks like what the Seagulls thought they bought last summer with Alireza Jahanbakhsh. Last week’s ranking: 5
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. West Ham United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton
5. Manchester United —Paul Pogba: Penalties as Shaquille O’Neal is to free throws. We’ll hang up and listen. The Red Devils should be 2-0 and sitting atop the league. Alas. Last week’s ranking: 2
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Crystal Palace
4. Arsenal — 2-0 is 2-0, even if the wins come against Newcastle and Burnley. There’s no way Arsenal will be able to afford Dani Ceballos at the end of his loan stint if he keeps looking like an absolutely wondrous midfielder of the highest order. Last week’s ranking: 7
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool
3. Liverpool — The bad news is that Liverpool’s poor defensive summer has dragged into August and they are a competent Danny Ings flick away from drawing Saints. The good news is that the Reds are alone in first place despite the defensive foibles. Also, relax, you’re the European champions. It’s okay. Last week’s ranking: 7
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal
2. Spurs — Took the most shots in the league in Week 1, and followed it up by scoring twice and taking a point from the Etihad Stadium. That’s something only one team did over 19 matches last season (Palace’s 3-2 memorable win around Christmas). Last week’s ranking: 3
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Man City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Newcastle United
1. Manchester City — VAR did its job in enforcing a rule that is, at best, against the spirit of the game in supporting defenders unfairly in comparison to attackers. City took 30 shots against the Champions League finalists and deserved all three points. If you think they should be lower on the list, try this mental exercise at the heart of the PL power rankings: Based on what you’ve seen this season, make the case for why you’d rather play City over a single team in the league. You’re lying. Last week’s ranking: 1
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Spurs
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Bournemouth