Football: Premier League talking points

Arsenal defender William Saliba (centre) celebrates after scoring his team's third goal against Bournemouth on Aug 20, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Talking points from the Premier League weekend.

Arsenal finally discover ruthless edge

After years of fragility, Arsenal finally appear to have rediscovered a ruthless edge as they claimed a third successive win to start a season for the first time in 18 years.

A 3-0 romp at Bournemouth on Saturday (Aug 20) sent the Gunners to the top of the table before Manchester City's game on Sunday, and evidence is growing that they might be able to sustain a challenge.

The addition of forward Gabriel Jesus and wing back Oleksandr Zinchenko from champions Manchester City appears to have helped spread a winning mentality throughout the team.

A year after losing their opening three games, Arsenal are flying and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale explained the difference to last season, when they finished fifth.

"It's crazy how our mentality has changed from the end of last season. We're more ruthless," he said. "We saw how close we came last season (to a Champions League place).

"Zinchenko and Jesus know how to win."

Everton must face up to lack of firepower

Everton lack a penalty-box predator and drew 1-1 against Nottingham Forest. PHOTO: REUTERS

They may have grabbed their first point of the new Premier League season at the third attempt, but if anything Everton's lack of firepower was even more glaring in the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park.

The home side dominated for long spells and created plenty of chances, but all too often they relied on shots from distance as they lack a penalty-box predator who is ready to pounce at the whiff of a half-chance.

With their defence looking solid and their midfield beginning to motor, all that is missing is a reliable goal-scorer. If coach Frank Lampard can sort that out, Everton's fortunes could quickly make a turn for the better.

Newcastle show how to shock City

Manchester City goalkeeper Edereson concedes a goal during the match against Newcastle. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Newcastle United's 3-3 draw with Manchester City perfectly illustrated how to get at the champions, but few teams in the Premier League have a winger like Allan Saint-Maximin that will help them do so.

The French winger tormented City full-back Kyle Walker for much of the game at St James' Park on Sunday, isolating him and either crossing the ball or slashing inside to cause chaos at the heart of the City defence.

City had enough firepower to deal with the danger and grab a point, but coaches of wingers around the league will take heart from Saint-Maximin's success at exploiting one of City's few obvious weaknesses.

Tottenham not firing, but earning points

Tottenham's Harry Kane (left) in action against Wolverhampton on Aug 20, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

For the second successive week, Tottenham showed that even when not firing on all cylinders, they have acquired the knack of picking up points without playing well.

Antonio Conte's side laboured in the first half against Wolverhampton Wanderers and should have been behind.

But Harry Kane's 250th goal for the club after the break maintained their solid start to the season.

Kane also scored a last-gasp equaliser at Chelsea the previous week when Tottenham were outplayed for most of the match.

If Tottenham start firing on all cylinders, they could be in for a season of opportunity.

Life after Bielsa continues to be swell for Leeds

Leeds' coach Jesse Marsch (right) continues to improve the team, with a 3-0 win over Chelsea. PHOTO: AFP

As Leeds United hovered above the relegation zone during the first few months of American coach Jesse Marsch's tenure last season, his popular predecessor's name was never far from fans' minds.

But fast forward a few months and Marcelo Bielsa has been quickly forgotten as Marsch continues to improve Leeds, with his side putting Chelsea to the sword with a rampant display during Sunday's 3-0 win.

Leeds never stopped running, putting pressure on Chelsea every time they got on the ball, and made it seven points from a possible nine at the start of the season with a thoroughly deserved win, with Marsch's system bearing fruit.

"We have a bunch of guys who are starting to understand their roles," Marsch said. "Not only that, we have several players who are in the form of their lives. It is a good sign."

Brighton dark horses for top-six push?

Brighton players celebrate after scoring aginst West Ham on Aug 21, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

So well-structured are Brighton and Hove Albion under Graham Potter that they have shrugged off the summer departures of key players Marc Cucurella to Chelsea and Yves Bissouma to Tottenham with barely a stutter.

Their intelligent and composed football proved too much for West Ham United on Sunday as they made it seven points from a possible nine to start the season.

Some astute summer signings have given the squad more depth and after coming ninth under Potter last season, their best top-flight finish, they should not be overlooked as potential challengers for a top-six finish this term.

Mitrovic reaps reward of never-say-die attitude

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a superb 90th-minute winner in the team's 3-2 victory over Brentford. PHOTO: AFP

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic showed that persistence pays after scoring a superb 90th-minute winner in their 3-2 victory over Brentford, having failed to find the net with his previous four shots on target in the West London derby.

While some may focus on his profligacy and the impact it may have in big games, Mitrovic has racked up three goals in three games so far to equal his tally from his last season in the top flight - three goals in 27 appearances in 2020-21.

He is also closing in on 100 goals for the London side and appears to be hungrier than ever under Marco Silva, with fans hopeful the manager can iron out flaws in his game and help him reach his full potential in front of goal.

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