Gameweek 3 of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign was another riveting one, to say the least. Controversy, drama, upsets and late winners were just some of the factors that stood out from the last gameweek. Several teams also lost their 100 per cent league record after dropping points for the first time in the campaign. Here, we have a closer look at a few of the talking points that emerged from last week’s Premier League action.
Liverpool’s title to lose
Liverpool seem to have picked up from where they left last season. Jurgen Klopp’s men made it three wins from three to kickstart their league campaign – two of which have come against big-six rivals Chelsea and Arsenal. Their 3-1 win over Arsenal on Monday night further demonstrated why they are champions and suggested that they will be difficult to catch this season as well. With their closest rivals from last season Manchester City already dropping points, chances are that we will see the Reds run away with the title at a canter, much like they did last season.
4 - Sadio Mane has scored in four of his five Premier League home games against Arsenal for Liverpool (4 goals). Nemesis. pic.twitter.com/HNxq8afm12— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 28, 2020
Everton to secure a European spot
The Reds’ Merseyside rivals Everton look like a transformed outfit this season under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti. The addition of James Rodriguez and Allan to their midfield along with the red-hot form with which Dominic Calvert-Lewin has started the season has seen Everton win their first three league matches with relative ease. That said, there is likely to be a slight dip in form at some stage during the season but with Ancelotti at the helm, Everton fans can be safe in the knowledge that they won’t dwell in any slump for too long, making a finish in European places very much of a possibility for the Toffees.
3 - Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the first player to score in each of Everton's first three Premier League games in a single campaign since Steven Naismith in 2014-15. Machine. #CRYEVE pic.twitter.com/mFHKXOvBgM— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 26, 2020
Manchester City’s porous defence not good enough
Pep Guardiola’s City suffered their first defeat of the season following a 2-5 loss against Leicester City at home on Sunday. Despite beginning the game well and taking the lead, City’s defence couldn’t withstand Leicester’s pressure and were caught out five times. Even though Guardiola has spent near to 500 million pounds on just defenders during his time at City, he is yet to find his best backline. John Stones, Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Danilo, Angelino, Joao Cancelo, Nathan Ake and most recently Ruben Dias are a few of the players that Guardiola has roped in to solve City’s defensive frailties. However, the addition of these players hasn’t helped City tighten their defence and that’s what could ultimately be their downfall in terms of a title challenge from them this season.
1 - For the first time in 686 games as a manager, Pep Guardiola has seen his side concede five goals. It is also the first time in 438 games at the Etihad Stadium that Manchester City have shipped five goals in any competition. Famous. #MCILEI https://t.co/M3edianY1v— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 27, 2020
VAR’s handball conundrum
The new handball rule for VAR this season has set off far more fires than it has extinguished and this past gameweek saw plenty of controversial calls. With the new rule now stating that any contact with the hand will be a handball, players are being harshly punished with increasing frequency. Eric Dier, in fact, gave away a last-gasp penalty for handball while he had his back to the ball. His handball wasn’t the only contentious call as the controversy surrounding VAR’s new parameters for handball was the theme across the league. While the new rule may state that any contact with the hand inside the box is a penalty, managers and players will hope that referees can apply a bit more common sense when taking such calls instead of blindly following the rulebook or else everyone’s in for a really long season.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Jason Cairnduff