Premier League talking points

INJURY-HIT CITY NEED TO RECOVER ATTACKING BITE

Last season, Manchester City's fragile defending meant they were never really in the title hunt, even if their attacking play remained a joy to watch.

This campaign, Pep Guardiola's side appear to have lost their cutting edge up front as well, as evident in a laboured first half at West Ham on Saturday during which they managed only one shot on target. The match ended 1-1.

City are off to their worst start in six years and with Sergio Aguero suffering another injury setback and Gabriel Jesus still out, they look blunt up front.

REDS ARE VULNERABLE WITHOUT VAN DIJK

It is stating the obvious to say how much Liverpool will miss injured centre-back Virgil van Dijk but Saturday's narrow 2-1 win over struggling Sheffield United showed how much his absence has destabilised Jurgen Klopp's side.

The Reds did not defend badly against the Blades - the problem was they had to do too much of it - whereas when the Dutch captain is around, he sniffs out danger before it materialises.

With Fabinho dropping into defence from his usual deep-lying midfield position, this allowed United to find a route to goal, and while the visitors could not make their 13 attempts count, a better opponent will.

SAINTS GO MARCHING ON UNDER HASENHUTTL

A year to the day since Southampton were thrashed 9-0 by Leicester, Ralph Hasenhuttl's side look a completely transformed team as they kept a third clean sheet in their 2-0 win over league leaders Everton to move up to sixth.

The Saints are a team used to dropping points from winning positions but were assured in possession and created numerous chances as they ended the Toffees' record as the last remaining unbeaten team this term.

The club deserve credit for seeing the big picture and sticking by the Austrian, who has managed to build an identity without heavy investment, which is the norm in the top flight.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2020, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe