Premier League talking points


Alvaro Morata has proved since his arrival in England that he has qualities in the air but against Stoke City he showed off his ability with the ball at his feet.

As well as his three strikes, he impressed with his hold-up play. Frequently isolated as a lone striker, he nonetheless dominated the opposing defence and it was telling that all 25 of his passes went backwards to find supporting players, allowing him to bomb forward.

With Eden Hazard on the bench, it bodes well for a future partnership between the pair. Yet amid the praise, there is a caveat - Stoke's defence was shorn of most of its first-choice defenders through injury or, in Kurt Zouma's case, because he cannot play against his parent club. Morata will face sterner tests.


Less than a month ago, Philippe Coutinho was in danger of becoming Public Enemy No. 1 at Anfield as the Liverpool playmaker tried to force through a move to Barcelona. When Liverpool refused to sell him, he was left in a potentially awkward situation.

But manager Jurgen Klopp has handled the situation deftly, treating Coutinho respectfully without giving in to his demands.

Back in the starting line-up at Leicester City, Coutinho showed his class by teeing up Mohamed Salah for Liverpool's opener before curling in a sublime free kick that set his side up for a 3-2 win. More performances like this and his transfer saga will soon be a distant memory.


Serge Aurier's full Premier League debut for Tottenham Hotspur showcased the best and worst of the Ivory Coast international.

He got forward well and helped to tee up Christian Eriksen for what proved to be the decisive goal in a 3-2 success at London rivals West Ham United. But the former Paris Saint-Germain full back was frequently caught out of position and was sent off with 20 minutes remaining after being shown a second yellow card for needlessly scything down Andy Carroll.

Tottenham led 3-1 at that stage and had it not been for Aurier, they would have seen the game out much more comfortably.


It took Ronald Koeman 55 minutes in the game against Bournemouth to remedy what many Evertonians already knew - that having three No. 10s across his front line does not work.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was wasted on the left, Davy Klaassen continued his difficult adjustment to the Premier League in the centre and the bloodied Wayne Rooney was isolated on the right.

Only when Oumar Niasse and Tom Davies replaced Rooney and Klaassen respectively, allowing Sigurdsson to move into an uncrowded No. 10 role, did Everton find the tempo and threat to overturn Bournemouth's lead and curb the rising anger inside Goodison.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2017, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Subscribe