Premier League talking points

Chelsea's N'Golo Kante almost scored with a header against Huddersfield on Aug 18, 2018.
Chelsea's N'Golo Kante almost scored with a header against Huddersfield on Aug 18, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

1. WILL FREEDOM FOR KANTE COST CHELSEA DEAR?

As was the case against Huddersfield on the opening day, a midfielder renowned for his defensive excellence was a notable attacking presence.

On 78 minutes, Chelsea's N'Golo Kante almost scored with a header and was then one of the most advanced players in blue when Marcos Alonso struck late on in Saturday's 3-2 win over Arsenal.

He is revelling in the freedom Maurizio Sarri has given him but could the manager's boldness have the effect of reducing Chelsea's solidity? There were certainly occasions when Arsenal found pockets of space outside Chelsea's area that Kante would have been in, had he not been on another charge upfield.

2. AUBAMEYANG'S INCONSISTENCY AN ISSUE

Regular watchers of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when he was at Borussia Dortmund will tell you that the Arsenal striker is capable of the implausible, both good and bad: He will oscillate between brilliant goals and the sort of blooper we saw in the first half of the match on Saturday, as he skied a shot over a virtually open goal from 10 metres.

The unpredictability of his forward line is just another thing new manager Unai Emery, who has already lost his first two Arsenal games, will have to deal with.

3. AGUERO NOW INDISPENSABLE FOR GUARDIOLA

Gone are the days when Pep Guardiola was happy to leave Manchester City's all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero on the bench after the Argentinian striker scored his ninth Premier League hat-trick in a 6-1 annihilation of Huddersfield. Aguero's goalscoring ability was never in doubt, but it is an improvement in his all-round game under Guardiola that has won over the Spanish coach.

"He feels free now. He doesn't just score goals, he makes space and doesn't stop and, when he does that, he's one of the best strikers in the world," said Guardiola.

No wonder he planted a kiss on Aguero's cheek when he came off to a standing ovation.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2018, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe