Liverpool on top, Boly’s handball and Rafa’s tactics: 10 talking points from the Premier League weekend

Arsenal Arsenal vs West Ham Game Week Unai Emery

Jurgen Klopp’s side, Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea, Javi Gracia’s Watford and Hotspur now all boast three wins from three.There were 29 goals across the 10 Premier League matches played over the weekend, as the season continues to take shape.Liverpool, Chelsea, Watford and Tottenham still boast 100 per cent records after their respective wins, while champions Manchester City met the champions of the Championship, Wolves, and were held 1-1 at Molineux.
Bournemouth saw their perfect record go at home to Bournemouth, but Eddie Howe’s men showed plenty of character in coming from behind to draw 2-2.Another side who came back was Unai Emery’s Arsenal, conceding first but winning 3-1 against West Ha to get the Spanish coach off the mark; Manuel Pellegrini has lost three out of three and conceded nine as Hammers boss however.

Here’s a look at all the action, with 10 of the weekend’s biggest talking points.Wolves claimed a 1-1 draw with champions Manchester City in part thanks to the hand of Willy Boly.Joao Moutinho’s superb delivery was met by Wolves’ giant French defender, who stooped and saw the ball deflect in off his hand.According to the letter of the law, because it wasn’t deliberate it therefore shouldn’t be penalised.Former FIFA referee Keith Hackett tweeted as much, declaring: “Despite the ball striking the hand and going into goal. It was not deliberate handball therefore cannot be penalised in Law because no offence took place. That’s why the goal was legitimate.” Yeah, he said it was Wolves vs Liverpool, but we knew what he meant.But back to the handball and let’s not kid ourselves here. Had the officials seen it, it would have been disallowed – regardless of how the laws of the game are worded.Wolves got lucky with that one, but given their overall impressive display against a City side that only failed to win maximum points on six occasions in the league last term, they deserved it.The day started with Mesut Ozil as the hot topic but ended with Aaron Ramsey’s as the name on everyone’s lipsRestored to the starting lineup, the Welshman was terrific as the Gunners battled back from a goal down to register a first win under Unai Emery, who was extremely complementary to a man who could still leave the club for nothing next summer.“He worked 90 minutes,” said Emery. “Each moment he played when the team needed him. His speed and experience is very important for us.“They can give him the ball in a difficult moment because he plays with high personality.”It is a personality his team could ill-afford to lose.Don’t sleep on this game.The Cherries’ comeback – scoring two goals in the final 15 minutes – was the latest chapter of a fascinating head-to-head which has featured late drama, red cards and general madness since Bournemouth’s promotion in 2015.We’ve now had a 3-3 featuring two stoppage time goals, a 6-3 that saw Ross Barkley celebrate a goal before he’d scored it and dramatic winners from players who didn’t have squad numbers only days before (Oumar Niasse last season).Any chance of putting the reverse fixture at Goodison in January on the telly?Liverpool didn’t used to win home games like this. Specifically last season they drew them against Burnley, Everton, West Brom and Stoke.They’d either fail to find the clinical breakthrough and be held to a 0-0 draw by a side determined to defend as deep as the River Mersey, or their own defending would let them down and they’d concede a goal to a side’s one and only useful attack.But Mo Salah scored, Alisson made a terrific late save from Pascal Gross and the sense that maybe, just maybe, it could all be different this time around was palpable around Anfield.David Wagner’s Terriers produced one of English football’s biggest achievements last season, staying up against all odds.They did so despite struggling to score goals, ending the campaign with just 29 in 38 Premier League matches.Now, they have failed to score in two of their opening three matches of the new season, and managed a paltry one shot on target at home to Cardiff.Since promotion, Wagner’s men have failed to score in 23 of their 41 games.Unless that changes – and fast – then they are likely to return to the Championship.Harry Maguire’s rise to national hero was one of the stories of the World Cup.And Leicester City fans were left saluting the centre-half earlier this month when he remained at the club, amid Manchester United interest.Back in the team the ex-Sheffield United and Hull defender was rock solid in the win over Wolves last week.And this weekend, the man who powered home a header against Sweden in Russia was back on the scoresheet – albeit in far from trademark fashion.As he lumbered forward and pulled back his right leg some 25 yards from goal, few will have expected the net to bulge. However, a daisy-cutter of a shot went through two pairs of legs – flicking off Jannick Vestergaard’s instep – and found the bottom corner.It wasn’t trademark, but neither he or the travelling Foxes could care one jot;Claude Puel’s side may well finish ‘best of the rest’ this season.For the first time in their history, Watford have begun a top-flight campaign with three straight wins.Crystal Palace were seen off at Vicarage Road on Sunday, and after a difficult first period where they were hankful to Ben Foster for two outstanding saves, the Hornets buzzed into action in the second half.Roberto Pereyra has started the season in fabulous form, playing on the left of a midfield four – the spot freed up by Richarlison’s exit.The Argentine international ranks Juventus among his former clubs – a sign of his undoubted quality – and he’s fast becoming a talisman for Watford.Of the club’s last 11 goals in the Premier League, he’s had a hand in seven, scoring six and teeing up another. With Troy Deeney looking fit and bullying defences alongside the speedy Andre Gray, Pereyra is finding space and making the most of it.Jamie Redknapp labelled them “embarrassing”. Social media was largely scathing. But Rafa Benitez defended his side’s tactics in the aftermath of their 2-1 loss to Chelsea, where they managed just 19 per cent of possession.“We had six players out of the team: [Javier] Manquillo, Jamaal [Lascelles] and Jonjo [Shelvey] were injured, Kenedy couldn’t play (as he’s on loan from Chelsea) and [Isaac] Hayden was suspended. You have to do what you have to do. That’s it.”Speculation suggests Lascelles, rather than being injured, was omitted after disagreeing over the decision to play five at the back. Benitez insists he was injured.But at St James’ Park, against a Chelsea side that conceded twice to Arsenal last weekend and could have conceded four or five in a crazy first half, did the Spaniard have a duty to attack?Of course, it’s a results business, and it’s Benitez’s job to get results those. But is it also his job to entertain those on Tyneside?A week on from scoring the winning goal against Arsenal, Chelsea’s Spanish fullback played another pivotal role in them securing three points at Newcastle.Maurizio Sarri’s men were completely dominant at St James’ Park, but struggled to make a breakthrough against the defensively-minded Toon, who had switched to a back five.But Alonso’s buccaneering runs down the left have caught many a side off guard since his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2016 and twice his version of chaos broke down Newcastle’s resistance.Firstly Fabian Schar dived in and gave the official a decision to make after he allowed Alonso to get the wrong side; whether or not it should have been a penalty is a debate that will run on.And after Newcastle had equalised, it was Alonso who found himself on the ball in the box once more, firing goal wards an effort which DeAndre Yedlin turned into his own net.In 66 games for Chelsea, Alonso has 14 goals and seven assists to his name, a fine haul.Aleksandar Mitrovic has proved quite the talisman for this Fulham side since making his debut in February and it was little surprise that he played a pivotal role in the Cottagers’ securing their first Premier League points of the season.The Serbian joined on loan and proved crucial as they secured promotion, Slavisa Jovanovic getting the best out of his compatriot.That move was turned permanent for an initial £22million during the summer transfer window, and after opening his account at Spurs last week, Mitrovic terrorised a usually reliable Burnley rearguard this.The 23-year-old powerhouse was too hot to handle for Messrs. Mee and Tarkowski; he scored twice, hit the post and was outstanding throughout, offering real thrust and punch to Fulham’s pretty passing.He has scored 15 times for the club in 21 starts since making his debut in February and continues to thrive. If Jovanovic can continue to channel Mitrovic’s aggression in the right way – as he has since his arrival in west London, he could find himself netting 15-20 this term.

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