Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action | Premier League

1) Mudryk not a major loss but Gunners need new blood

When Arsenal were as rhapsodic as in their first half at Tottenham, it was tempting to wonder just where Mykhaylo Mudryk might have fitted in. In Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, Mikel Arteta already has the Premier League’s most powerful wingers. Would it have been worth lashing out next year’s transfer budget and breaking wage structures for a player not guaranteed to start? Instead, the Ukrainian takes up his lengthy, lucrative new contract at Chelsea. That Gabriel Jesus’s injury will keep him out longer than hoped must also have altered strategic thinking. Finding a player who can replace the Brazilian will be exacting, and while Eddie Nketiah continues to shimmer, working devilishly across the front at Tottenham, a lack of further centre-forward options points to Arsenal’s primacy being a result of their having the best first XI in the Premier League rather than the deepest squad. Quality reinforcements could still come in rather handy. John Brewin

2) Garnacho cameo hints at United’s rosy future

Manchester City paid £100m for their game-changing sub, Jack Grealish, while Manchester United’s teenage left-winger Alejandro Garnacho was acquired for a mere £420,000 from Atlético Madrid. The Argentinian was fearless when he came on, even against the experience of Kyle Walker, repeatedly going back to the England international despite losing out in their early duels. Thanks to his persistence and perfect understanding of where the ball will go, Garnacho was in the right position to set up the winner for Marcus Rashford. The winger’s attitude and professionalism is improving after concerns were aired earlier in the season. Garnacho’s next aim will be to prove himself as an effective starter in the Premier League. United’s next aim will be to tie him down to a long-term contract. The club are often cautious when it comes to offering big sums to young players but warding off competitors is imperative if United want to continue on their upward trajectory. Will Unwin

3) Everton are locked in a spiral of misery

“It’s a brutal sport,” Southampton owner Dragan Solak said to a member of the club’s staff just after a dejected Frank Lampard had walked past in the tunnel at Goodison Park. It was also a brutal day for Everton and one it is hard to see the manager, team and board recovering from. Solak had gone to the tunnel to congratulate every Southampton player in person following their first league win under Nathan Jones. He spoke at length to the manager and inspirational match-winning captain James Ward-Prowse as they basked in a third uplifting win of the week. The Everton hierarchy were conspicuous by their absence, having been instructed to stay away by their security advisers and therefore missing the mass protests against their mismanagement of the club. Everton players were delayed from leaving the ground after the game, also on security advice, and some were abused in their cars when they eventually departed. The atmosphere is as bad as their form and Lampard, still awaiting the striking reinforcements that Everton have needed since Richarlison was sold in July, appears to have no answers. Relegation beckons. Andy Hunter

Everton fans display a banner at full time following their defeat to Southampton to show their upset with the board.
Everton fans display a banner at full time following their defeat to Southampton to show their upset with the board. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

4) How much more Leeway has Moyes got?

At what point do previous achievements begin to count for little? Maybe David Moyes is already long past that point and, in fairness, the West Ham manager insisted he knows it is the here and now that matters. West Ham have taken one point from the last available 21, occupy the final relegation place and are only off the bottom of the table because of their superior goal difference to Everton, their next opponents, and Southampton. For West Ham, successive sixth- and seventh-place finishes feel a long time ago. The same applies to Brendan Rodgers at Leicester, who have gone stale after the highs of winning the FA Cup and successive fifth-placed finishes. “Lots of people are after jobs in this league,” Moyes said. “I’m not daft, I’ve had enough games in it to understand.” Ben Fisher

5) Brighton’s blueprint takes them to new high

“Club philosophy” is a phrase that often raises eyebrows but you only have to look at Brighton to see it means something. The loss of Graham Potter could have proved devastating but a defined set of values ​​meant a clear and targeted process in regards to appointing his successor. Roberto De Zerbi came in and has been an unqualified success, with Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Liverpool the undoubted high point of the Italian’s tenure. According to Solly March, who scored twice, it was Brighton’s best display since they were promoted to the Premier League almost six years ago, and he should know given he’s been at the club throughout that time. March also revealed the unique way De Zerbi has gone about connecting with his players. “He sends some of the lads texts at 1am with clips showing them what they can do better,” he said. “I’ve not had one yet and don’t want one waking me up – my wife wouldn’t be happy!” Sachin Nakrani

6) Badiashile grows into game on Chelsea debut

Benoît Badiashile looked a little nervous on his Chelsea debut. There were a couple of shanked clearances from the former Monaco defender, who has moved to Stamford Bridge for £33.8m, and a worrying moment when he lost track of Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha. However Badiashile, who came in for the disappointing Kalidou Koulibaly, grew as the game progressed. He earned applause from the crowd when he shrugged off Zaha at one point and formed a solid partnership with Thiago Silva when Palace were trying to cancel out Chelsea’s 1-0 lead during the dying stages. “I thought Benoît did well,” Graham Potter said. “It was a good game for him. You can see his qualities of him. He passes the ball well. When he needed to head the ball out he did. He’s obviously adapting to the Premier League and that’s going to take a bit of time and he’s a young player, so I think he’ll get better and better.” Jacob Steinberg

Chelsea debutant Benoît Badiashile battles for possession with Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace.
Chelsea debutant Benoît Badiashile battles for possession with Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

7) Time for Leeds fans to grow up

Almost all of Leeds’s good work in defeat at Aston Villa on Friday came via Wilfried Gnonto, the bustling 19-year-old Italy winger. Afterwards Jesse Marsch said Gnonto is playing “like he’s 7ft tall” but unfortunately the Leeds manager also had to answer questions about the supporters’ chant for Gnonto, which refers to the size of his penis. The anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has said the chant, which Leeds fans sing throughout defeat at Villa Park, perpetuates harmful and offensive racial stereotypes. Marsch suggested the player has also had enough of it. “Willy is such a good young man and he won’t come out and say he doesn’t like it,” Marsch said. “But the reality is I think he thinks it’s time to move on from that lyric.” bf

8) Bees outperforming more glamorous rivals

Brentford for Europe? It’s not an especially fanciful suggestion for a side whose unbeaten run now stretches to seven games and who have put both Manchester clubs and Liverpool to the sword already this season. Thomas Frank’s team are one of several more modestly sized top-flight teams who are putting their more moneyed peers to shame this season. While Liverpool and Chelsea labor under the weight of overbearing expectations and underwhelming signings, and Everton and West Ham slump from one turgid defeat to the next, Thomas Frank’s men – along with Fulham and Brighton sat above them in sixth and seventh – are showing how a lean and motivated squad can punch above its weight. A little luck helps too, of course, which Brentford duly got with the penalty decision that gave them their opener. But few would argue that they hadn’t earned it – over the course of the game and throughout a season when they faced each challenge with the sort of zestful fearlessness that is a world away from the division’s beleaguered heavyweights. Alex Hess

9) Returning duo provide boost to Magpies

Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Fulham will almost certainly come to be remembered for Aleksandar Mitrovic’s extraordinary disallowed penalty, chalked off for the Fulham striker’s inadvertent, fully accidental, double touch after he slipped during the run up. Marco Silva’s strong criticism of the referee, Robert Jones, for only awarding that penalty after a VAR intervention may also merit a footnote but the lasting legacy may be the return to form and fitness of both Newcastle’s Alexander Isak and Allan Saint-Maximin. While the former, a £60m Sweden striker marked his first Premier League appearance since September by scoring the 89th minute winner from point blank range after stepping off the bench, Saint-Maximin’s own performance by him as a second-half substitute suggested he may finally be back to his best of him. The French winger’s slow convalescence from hamstring problems has seen him start recent games on the bench with Joelinton moved forward from midfield to the left wing but, on this evidence, Saint-Maximin finally looks ready to return to Eddie Howe’s starting XI. If Newcastle are to qualify for the Champions League they will surely need Saint-Maximin and Isak. Louise Taylor

Allan Saint-Maximin was back in the Newcastle team following injury.
Allan Saint-Maximin was back in the Newcastle team following injury. Photograph: Richard Callis/MB Media/Getty Images

10) Rodgers needs new faces at Leicester

Brendan Rodgers knows he needs to trigger the kind of response he inspired after Leicester City’s disastrous start to the season, when they gathered one point from seven games. After their pre-World Cup resurgence – a narrow defeat at Manchester City interspersed six wins in all competitions – has been followed by four straight defeats in the Premier League. The Leicester manager, missing nine first-team squad players through injury and with no new signings this month, seems to consider squad depth the main way they will advance away from the relegation zone. “The board and the people behind the scenes,” he said, “are trying to get in the players we want to help us improve, and I’ve always felt that support. That’s continued.” Leicester have targeted Fiorentina winger Nico González and FC Copenhagen left-back Victor Kristiansen but if Rodgers can once again turn around the Titanic that is Leicester’s oscillating fortunes, it may be the biggest achievement of his managerial career by him to date. Peter Lansley

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