Football: Five English Premier League talking points

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. PHOTO: REUTERS

1. WARNING SIGNS INCREASE FOR BOURNEMOUTH

Eddie Howe has worked wonders in overseeing Bournemouth's exhilarating rise but his present task looks rather less attractive. They have yet to win a point and, while a 3-0 away defeat by Arsenal is not cause for concern on its own, the warning signs are stacking up.

On Saturday they lacked initiative, invention, power and presence; it was a non-event of a display against Arsenal and it clearly bothered Howe, whose team have looked flat in all bar the late reverse against Manchester City.

2. TARKOWSKI REPAYS DYCHE'S FAITH IN HIM

When a player is sold for a club-record fee, the assumption is that expensive reinforcements are required. Not at Burnley.

Michael Keane was their outstanding figure yet manager Sean Dyche banked £25 million (S$44.4 million) from Everton for the England international and did not buy a centre-back. Dyche was confident he had the answer within.

James Tarkowski had spent 18 months understudying Keane. Since taking over from him, he has excelled. Tarkowski had acquitted himself well away at Chelsea and Tottenham. A goal-line clearance was the highlight of a fine afternoon's work in the 1-0 win over Palace.

3. EVERTON STILL NEED TO FILL LUKAKU VOID

This was that Premier League rarity, an embarrassingly one-sided contest. And, despite their top-six aspirations, Everton were the ones embarrassed in the 0-3 loss. Tottenham were simply too strong, too mobile and too clever on and off the ball to be resisted.

Ten of Ronald Koeman's signings started and this time they mustered one spurious attempt on goal to follow up the zero they managed at Chelsea in the previous defeat. It was clear as long ago as February that Romelu Lukaku would be leaving and the manager's failure to sign an adequate replacement is a case bordering on gross negligence.

4. MORATA GIVES CONTE A REASON TO LAUGH

When Antonio Conte was asked after the 2-1 win at Leicester City whether he had any news on the situation involving Diego Costa, the Italian replied "no" and then dissolved into giggles. The Chelsea manager could afford to see a funny side in that question after watching Alvaro Morata score another fine goal, the Spaniard's third since arriving to replace Costa.

Leicester's captain and centre-back, Wes Morgan, who lost track of Morata for his goal on Saturday, offered an objective comparison of the strikers. "(Morata) is a different character to Costa, who is more aggressive and more direct. But maybe Morata's movement is more dangerous and he's a bit cuter in his play."

5. LIVERPOOL HAVE PROBLEMS IN BOTH DEFENCE & ATTACK

Liverpool's defence, not to mention their stomach for a fight, was rightly called into question after their 5-0 defeat by Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp's side were also flawed in attack and in a way that appears to be becoming a long-term problem for the Reds.

Given Liverpool do not play with a conventional centre-forward, and their midfield is hardly prolific, it is essential their wide attackers - Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah - take their chances. Salah has scored three times already but he simply must become more ruthless.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2017, with the headline 'English Premier League talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe