Premier League talking points
Talking points from the weekend’s Premier League matches:
Have Everton found their new great number nine?
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s first hat-trick in professional football showed all his predatory qualities — a clever backheel, a lunge at the back post and a header that eased Everton to a 5-2 home win over West Bromwich Albion.
Everton have enjoyed many great number nines down the years, from Dixie Dean to Duncan Ferguson, and it is a position that holds huge importance at Goodison Park.
Calvert-Lewin’s form in the first two matches of the season, which has seen him net four times already, suggests he could add to that list, especially with the midfield creativity behind him that has seen the Merseysiders create 32 scoring chances so far.
The 23-year-old is the youngest Englishman to net a senior hat-trick for the club, and has started every Premier League game under manager Carlo Ancelotti, who has faith in the forward to fire ambitious Everton to the next level.
Defensive reinforcements needed to galvanise Man Utd:
With three weeks of the transfer window left, the need for Manchester United to recruit defensive reinforcements is painfully clear after their backline was exposed by Crystal Palace in a 3-1 home defeat on Saturday.
Victor Lindelof in particular endured a difficult afternoon, as he allowed Jeffrey Schlupp to get a cross into the box for Palace’s opener, before conceding a second-half penalty.
Palace went the entirety of last season without scoring more than twice in a match and could have scored more.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer blamed a lack of a proper pre-season but that cannot be used to excuse so many defensive mistakes against Palace.
Gareth who? Super Spurs strikers firing on all cylinders
With the returning Gareth Bale waiting in the wings, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min proved Tottenham Hotspur’s forward line is already potent in a 5-2 win on Sunday.
Son scored four times from four shots, all set up by Kane — who became the first Englishman to provide four assists in the same Premier League match. Kane also scored his side’s fifth.
Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham were lambasted after a 1-0 home defeat by Everton but the prospect of Bale, who will not be fit until October, linking up with Kane and Son, has suddenly elevated the mood in north London.
Time running out for Arrizabalaga?
Kepa Arrizabalaga’s chances of remaining Chelsea’s first-choice keeper look slim after the Spaniard’s dreadful error allowed Sadio Mane to double Liverpool’s lead as the champions won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Arrizabalaga has been under the spotlight for his lack of form and with Rennes keeper Edouard Mendy reportedly close to joining, he could soon find himself on bench duty.
While Arrizabalaga is a problem, Chelsea’s backline is hardly pulling up trees and the introduction of new signing Thiago Silva cannot come soon enough.
Much-Maligned VAR shows signs of improvement
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system continued to have its share of the spotlight in the second week of the Premier League season but there were signs the much-maligned system is getting over some of its teething trouble.
On-field officials are increasingly using pitchside monitors to review incidents and take corrective action.
Brighton & Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma was shown a yellow for his challenge on Newcastle United’s Jamal Lewis but the referee upgraded it to a red after a second look. Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen was similarly sent off after hauling down Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may, however, reserve judgement after the VAR prompted referee Martin Atkinson to award Crystal Palace a penalty which was kept out by David de Gea before VAR stepped in again to inform that the keeper came off his line, with Wilfried Zaha scoring on the re-take.