5 things we learned from the weekend’s Premier League action

Arsenal top the table but Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United also had success.

Ian Parker
Sunday 28 August 2022 18:25 BST
Liverpool all but ran out of goal celebrations in a 9-0 rout of Bournemouth (Peter Byrne/PA)
Liverpool all but ran out of goal celebrations in a 9-0 rout of Bournemouth (Peter Byrne/PA)

Arsenal remain top of the Premier League table after making it four wins out of four to start the season, but this weekend belonged to others.

Liverpool shook off some early season rust, Erling Haaland’s hat-trick helped Manchester City come from behind (again) and Manchester United’s revival continued at Southampton.

Here, the PA news agency picks out five things we learned this weekend.

Crisis over

Defeat to Manchester United on Monday night seemed unthinkable for Liverpool, yet when it came it left Jurgen Klopp’s side without a victory after three games and already worringly off the pace. They could hardly have had better opposition this weekend considering their history against Bournemouth, but those already impressive records were broken in a 9-0 rout that ended any talk of a crisis at Anfield. The only surprise was Mo Salah’s failure to register either a goal or an assist – if the Egyptian had brought his shooting boots Liverpool would surely have hit double figures.

Size doesn’t matter

Lisandro Martinez was excellent for Manchester United at Southampton (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

When Manchester United splashed out just shy of £50million – not including add-ons – to sign Lisandro Martinez from Ajax, many questioned the wisdom of trying a 5ft 9in centre-half in the Premier League. But after a rough introduction Martinez is now showing why Eric ten Hag brought him with him from the Eredivisie. Against Southampton he won every duel, leaving his mark on more than one Saints player, and alongside Raphael Varane showed why Harry Maguire may need to get used to a seat on the bench.

Bernardo shows his value

Speaking in midweek, Pep Guardiola had left the door open for Bernardo Silva to leave Manchester City this week if the right offer came in. On Friday, he closed it – insisting the Portugal international was going nowhere. And on Saturday afternoon, it became clear why. Haaland took the headlines as his first Etihad goals came in a flood – three in 20 minutes – but it was Bernardo who led the way in dragging City back from 2-0 down to beat Crystal Palace 4-2, getting the first goal early in the second half and then driving City forward with the relentless running which has made him such an important part of Guardiola’s squad.

Villa discontent

Steven Gerrard heard boos as Aston Villa lost at home to West Ham (Nick Potts/PA)

There were boos at the final whistle on Sunday as Aston Villa slipped to a 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham, who had arrived in the west midlands winless to start the campaign. The attacking verve that was injected by the arrival of Philippe Coutinho midway through last season has faded, and Villa have lost three of their opening four games this season, nine of their last 15 in the Premier League. With high-flying Arsenal and defending champions Manchester City up next, things could get worse before they get better.

Gross earnings

Graham Potter believes Pascal Gross is playing the best football of his career (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The loss of Neal Maupay to Everton has highlighted Brighton’s need for attacking reinforcements, but only on paper. On the pitch, all is well for Graham Potter’s side, who are unbeaten in their last nine in the top flight and sit only two points off the summit after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Leeds. Pascal Gross, scorer of two goals at Manchester United on the opening weekend, was again on target, meaning he has now scored more goals in the first four games of this season than he did all of last term. “Pascal is probably performing at the level of his career,” Potter said. “Certainly his level since I’ve been working with him.”

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