A Premier League weekend which will be remembered off the pitch for Cristiano Ronaldo’s impending return to Manchester United proved eventful on it too.
Manchester City’s 5-0 drubbing of 10-man Arsenal left Mikel Arteta under intense pressure, while Newcastle counterpart Steve Bruce was booed by sections of the club’s own fans as two points slipped from their grasp in stoppage time against Southampton.
Here, the PA news agency takes a took at what we learned from the latest round of top-flight fixtures.
Goals everywhere you look! ⚽️💥
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 28, 2021
On Friday morning, it appeared that Cristiano Ronaldo was heading for Manchester City, much to the horror of fans in the red half of the city. Those emotions changed markedly just hours later when it emerged that Old Trafford was in fact his destination. City’s assertion that they had opted not to pursue his signature, following closely on from Harry Kane’s announcement that he was staying at Tottenham, might have cast a pall over the Etihad Stadium, but a double from Ferran Torres and further goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus and Rodri saw Pep Guardiola’s men romp to a 5-0 demolition of the hapless Gunners to suggest they can prosper just as they are.
Unlucky Reece James is caught red-handed
Reece James can count himself unfortunate to have received his marching orders during Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool. James saw the ball ricochet off his thigh and hit his arm as he defended on the goal-line and by the letter, if not the spirit, of the law, referee Anthony Taylor had little choice but to award a penalty and send him off. Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, however, had only himself to blame for an airborne two-footed lunge at Joao Cancelo which was the very definition of reckless.
Blues are the real deal
European champions Chelsea enhanced their credentials as genuine title contenders with a gritty display at Anfield despite having to play the entire second half with 10 men. Having taken an early lead through Kai Havertz, Thomas Tuchel’s men were pegged back from the penalty spot by Mohamed Salah in the wake of James’ untimely exit, but showed impressive organisation and character to emerge with a point which could ultimately prove priceless.
Miss of the season?
If it is a little too early to start listing potential goal of the season contenders, this weekend may already have seen the miss of the entire campaign. No-one at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon expected anything other than the net to bulge when Tino Livramento rolled the ball across goal to the unmarked Moussa Djenepo three yards out. However, the Southampton midfielder somehow contrived to steer his attempt over the crossbar when it looked significantly easier to score, much to the astonishment of himself, his team-mates and aghast boss Ralph Hasenhuttl and the relief of all of the Newcastle persuasion.
Nuno knows what he is doing
Three games ✅Three wins ✅Three goals ✅Three clean sheets ✅ pic.twitter.com/Yq21jdinmN
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 29, 2021
It is fair to say the reaction in some quarters to Nuno Espirito Santo’s appointment as Tottenham boss was underwhelming to say the least. A month or so on, the Portuguese has guided his team to the top of the Premier League table with victories over Manchester City, his former club Wolves and on Sunday, Watford in his first three games – a feat last achieved at Spurs by Arthur Rowe in 1949. There will be tougher tests ahead, but with Kane now back in harness, the doubters have at least been given food for thought.