Premier League talking points

1 MANCHESTER GOALS GALORE

Manchester City and Manchester United have goal differences of +14 after five matches. If they carry on winning by the margins they have enjoyed so far, then they will surpass the English Premier League's record goal difference (+71 racked up by Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea in 2009-10) and the preposterous French Ligue 1 record set by Paris Saint-Germain two years ago (+83).

City beat United to the 2012 title on goal difference (+64 against +56). For Jose Mourinho, there would surely be no sweeter way to prevail over Pep Guardiola this season.

2 NO COSTA, NO PLAN B

In the 0-0 draw with Arsenal, Chelsea tried to pick out Alvaro Morata and the summer signing did his level best to get on the end of the crosses. It did not happen for him, although that is not to say he was in poor form.

But where was Chelsea's plan B? Had Diego Costa been about, this was the type of contest the Spain striker would have relished. Arsenal's backline was unusually comfortable. Surely Costa would have done something to unsettle them.

For Chelsea's opponents, there is relief that he is out of the picture.

3 WILY BENITEZ STILL HAS IT

If anyone requires a reminder of Rafael Benitez's excellence as a coach and manager, it is evident in Newcastle's run of three successive Premier League wins.

Benitez was devastated when Mike Ashley, the club's owner, declined to materially strengthen an ostensibly weak squad this summer, but he has responded by moulding a formidably well-organised counter-attacking team significantly more impressive than the sum of its parts.

His players, most notably captain Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu, are improving in leaps and bounds.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2017, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe