Premier League talking points

1 REVERSAL PUTS HASENHUTTL IN A FIX

When Southampton ended Arsenal's 22-match unbeaten run on Dec 16 at St Mary's - in Ralph Hasenhuttl's second game in charge - it was a performance and occasion that teemed with intensity, a clear example of a new-manager bounce.

At the Emirates on Sunday, the most striking aspects of the club's 2-0 defeat were their flatness and fragility.

The Saints could have leaked four or five by half-time and the Austrian, who appeared to have the weight of the world on his shoulders afterwards, must find a way to unlock the tension, having taken only two points from their past four games.


2 DEULOFEU MAY BE COMING OF AGE

Gerard Deulofeu has promised much but failed to deliver since his arrival on English shores as a fresh-faced 18-year-old with Everton in 2013 - yet could he finally be coming of age after his dazzling hat-trick for Watford left Cardiff stunned?

Growing up in Lionel Messi's shadow cannot be easy, especially after the Barcelona academy product was given one final shot at the Nou Camp last season.

Could this be the game where Deulofeu, now 24, proved he is ready to become one of the Premier League's better performers or will it prove to be another false dawn?


3 LEJEUNE MAKING HIS PRESENCE FELT

Newcastle fans welcomed Miguel Almiron to Tyneside with a special banner and, in return, the £21 million (S$37 million) Paraguay playmaker brought flair to the party on his home debut against Huddersfield on Saturday.

But another player's influence should not be overlooked - Newcastle's shaky start to the season coincided with Florian Lejeune being sidelined with a ruptured cruciate ligament but, since his return, they have made much improvements.

The 27-year-old Frenchman is an excellent defender whose comfort on the ball, technical assurance and vision enable Rafael Benitez's 5-4-1 formation to switch seamlessly to an attacking 3-4-3.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2019, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe