What a weekend it has been following the latest round of Premier League action that saw the first major upset of the season. Champions Man City suffered a major blow in their quest to win the title for the third successive season as they went down 2-0 at home to Wolves which leaves them eight points behind Liverpool.
Their neighbours Manchester United also suffered the same fate on their travel to the North-East as they were beaten by Newcastle, a result that leaves them just two points above the relegation zone.
In other games, Chelsea and Arsenal continued their resurgence as they saw off the challenge of South Coast sides, Southampton and Bournemouth respectively.
With the season starting to take shape, Soccernet.ng takes a look at some of the talking points from last weekend’s round of action.
Liverpool’s Title To Lose: With just 90 seconds remaining, Liverpool were just moments away from dropping their first point of the season and potentially see their five-point lead at the top reduce to three. But a James Milner’s penalty coupled with Wolves stunning victory at the Etihad meant the Reds are now favourites for the Premier League title.
FULL-TIME Liverpool 2-1 Leicester
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 5, 2019
Klopp’s side are now eight points clear of Man City eight games into the season, although critics and City fans will point to the seven-point lead the Reds blew last season.
However, it will be hard to see history repeating itself because the Reds must have learned their lesson, and also City will still drop points. Obviously, Liverpool will drop points too, but history has suggested that eventual champions don’t lose more than four matches throughout a season and it is hard to even see Klopp’s team losing four matches given last season’s antecedents and the way they have played so far this season.
Liverpool lost just one game all season last campaign and are yet to lose a game this season despite not hitting full gear yet.
Although December will be a critical period for the Reds as they will have to combine the World Club Cup and the busy festive period, they should be able to navigate it successfully provided they are able to keep all their key players fit.
While some will say it is too early to say it is Liverpool’s time this season, it looks like the stars are aligning in their favour and this season should be the year they finally break the drought.
City’s Defence Likely To Be Their Undoing: Eight games into the season and City title defence is already in big danger no thanks to their unstable defence.
The Citizens have lost two games this season (Norwich and Wolves) and both losses were as a result of their defensive struggles. In the loss to the Canaries, both Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones were all over the place as they failed to cope with the counter-attacking threat of Norwich.
The duo also literally set up Pukki’s third goal which turned out to be the winner. In Sunday’s loss to Wolves, the erratic Otamendi was also culpable as he failed to win a one on one situation against Raul Jimenez.
With Laporte’s injury and Kompany’s departure, Guardiola has been forced to reshuffle his defence, but it appears it is not working.
The former Barcelona manager must now be wondering if he made a mistake by not going into the transfer market for a centre back.
City are now eight points behind Liverpool and do not have their destiny in their own hands anymore. However, only eight games have been played, so there will still be twist and turns. But City winning the league for the third year running will depend on Liverpool dropping enough points, while they will also probably have to go on a winning streak similar to that of their two previous winning campaigns under Guardiola.
Time’s Up For Solskjaer: It’s funny how things change in football especially when one takes a look at Solskjaer current predicament. The Norwegian was called all sort of names including “United’s Pep Guardiola”.
And in fairness, he did live up to that tag in his first ten games which he won. But since then, United’s form has been on a downward spiral with many critics now questioning his permanent appointment.
United have not won an away game since March and have just won two matches in the Premier League this season. Sunday’s loss to Newcastle leaves the team in 12th place, just two points above Everton who sit in 18th place.
The former Cardiff manager now faces a battle save his job and what makes it worse is that United’s next game is against arch-rivals and leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford.
An embarrassing defeat at the hands of their greatest rivals, then Solskjaer could suffer the same fate his predecessor experienced who was also dismissed after a loss to Liverpool.
Pochettino and Spurs Struggles: Like United and Solsjkaer, Tottenham and Pochettino are another team going through a rough patch. The Lillywhites were resoundingly beaten by Brighton last weekend which compounded a miserable week for them after they were thrashed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Defeat against the Seagulls means Spurs last away win in the Premier League came in January against Fulham. While United’s struggles date back to the beginning of last season, Spurs disappointing performances this season is hard to grasp given they were Champions League finalists.
Prior to the start of the season, Spurs were tipped to at least run the top two close, but judging from the first eight games, Pochettino’s side are set to be embroiled in a battle to save their top-four status.
Chelsea Hit Top Gear: The Blues started their season with a 4-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford but the fortunes of both teams have changed since that sunny day at North-West of England.
While United have picked up just a win since that opening day victory, Chelsea have picked up four victories to sit just a place behind Leicester who occupy the final top four spot.
Pundits predicted doom for Chelsea after they did not sign new players due to a transfer ban, but it’s ironic that a club known for not giving young players the chance is now benefitting from this same youngsters.
The likes Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have all played a major role in Chelsea’s success so far this season. Under the guidance of club legend Frank Lampard, the Blues have now found their rhythm and are now one of the most exciting teams in the Premier League this season.