10 talking points from the Premier League weekend as Liverpool suffer title blow

The Premier League threw up another weekend of incredible stories, with some horror tackles, some shock results and again, plenty of goals.

Liverpool’s title defence suffered a huge blow when Virgil Van Dijk was left needing knee surgery following an awful challenge from Jordan Pickford, which went unpunished.

Tottenham blew a three-goal lead with just 12 minutes remaining as West Ham pulled off a history-making late comeback.

Manchester United scored three late goals to beat Newcastle 4-1 as they bounced back from their humbling by Spurs last time out

And while Chelsea still need to master the art, Manchester City proved that decent defending is still a thing as they ensured Arsenal’s struggles away to their big six rivals continued.

The weekend’s top-flight action will be completed on Monday when West Brom host Burnley and Leeds entertain Wolves.

Ahead of those games, Mirror Sport looks at 10 talking points from the Premier League this weekend.

West Ham completed an incredible comeback from 3-0 down against Tottenham

1. Pickford: The good, the bad and the ugly

Jordan Pickford remains under the spotlight after his erratic display in the Merseyside derby.

The England goalkeeper made two outstanding saves to keep Everton in the game, and then nearly lost it for them when Jordan Henderson’s shot beat him too easily, only for VAR to come to his rescue.

But it was his needless, dangerous lunge on Van Dijk, leaving the Dutchman needing surgery, which left a sour taste in the mouth. At this rate Pickford could end up costing both Liverpool and Everton the title.

Jordan Pickford’s horror challenge on Virgil van Dijk

2. VAR. What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, if you are of a Liverpool persuasion. The most pedantic of offside calls robbed Henderson of a late winner – yet Pickford’s challenge on Van Dijk went completely unpunished.

According to the PA news agency, video official David Coote did not check for a potential red card despite having the power to do so, calling ‘check complete’ once he had ruled the Dutchman had been offside. Baffling.

Jordan Henderson was robbed of a late winner by a baffling offside call

3. A huge test ahead for Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk has been a huge part of Liverpool’s success over the past couple of seasons.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s best centre-backs – arguably the best – the Dutchman is a commanding presence at the heart of the Reds’ defence.

But another one of Van Dijk’s key strengths is that he has been rarely injured since arriving at Anfield in 2018.

Now Liverpool face a huge test as they will be without their colossus for much of the season – with ex-Reds defender Jamie Carragher saying it has blown the title race wide open.

After their all-conquering charge to the Premier League title last season, it will be interesting to see how Jurgen Klopp’s side step up to this latest challenge.

Liverpool must now do without Virgil van Dijk for the majority of the season

4. No Bale-out for Spurs

It appeared to be the perfect 20-minute run-out for the returning Gareth Bale, with Tottenham 3-0 up and cruising against West Ham.

But the Hammers pulled two back before Bale almost capped his return with what would have been the clincher.

His shot flew wide and at the other end Manuel Lanzini rifled in an equaliser. It just goes to show that not even a three-goal lead with 81 minutes on the clock is safe during this most bizarre of seasons.

West Ham’s incredible comeback made history as no team has ever come back from that margin as late in a game.

Gareth Bale’s late introduction for his second Spurs debut did not go according to plan

5. Case for the defence

Manchester City managed to prove that disciplined defending is not totally a thing of the past as they kept a clean sheet against Arsenal, thanks in no small part to goalkeeper Ederson’s brilliant performance.

The Brazilian produced two incredible saves late in the first half to prevent Bukayo Saka and then Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from cancelling out Raheem Sterling’s goal.

City’s win meant manager Pep Guardiola is yet to drop a point against the Gunners in five encounters at the Etihad Stadium since he took charge in 2016.

Ederson made several crucial saves, including this one from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

6. Arsenal’s travel sickness continues

Arsenal’s defeat at the Etihad extended the Gunners’ miserable record on the road against the rest of the big six.

They have now failed to win on their last 29 trips to face their main rivals for the European places – stretching back to a victory away to City in 2015.

There was hope among Gunners fans that this could be the weekend when that wretched run was ended, with Arsenal having won three of their four previous Premier League games this season, while City were struggled for form before the international break.

Arsenal had beaten City in their FA Cup semi-final back in July, but they fell short in Saturday’s clash – and it’s a weakness Mikel Arteta must address if he harbours hopes of leading his side back into the Champions League.

Arsenal’s defeat stretched their miserable run against their big-six rivals

7. Happy as Harry

It has been a wretched start to the season for Harry Maguire, whose form for Manchester United and England has dipped horribly, culminating in that red card against Denmark last week.

But the United skipper finally had something to celebrate when his goal helped United to a 4-1 win at Newcastle.

United and England will be hoping it marks a turning point in Maguire’s fortunes.

But it was also a big result for the rest of his Red Devils team-mates, with three late goals turning a draw into a win and providing a boost ahead of a period of huge fixtures for United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side open their Champions League campaign away to Paris-Saint Germain on Tuesday, before games against Chelsea, RB Leipzig, Arsenal and early Premier League leaders Everton.

Harry Maguire scored to set Manchester United on their way to victory

8. Chelsea need to tighten up

Timo Werner was understandably frustrated after scoring two great goals to put Chelsea in the driving seat against Southampton – only for the Saints to salvage a point.

The 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge was reminiscent of a similar result away to West Brom three weeks earlier, when Frank Lampard’s side blew a three-goal lead to be held to a point by the newly promoted Baggies.

Werner joined a star-studded attack as part of a record-breaking recruitment drive at Stamford Bridge over the summer. But after Saturday’s disappointing draw, he said he is a firm believer in the maxim ‘defences win titles’.

Liverpool and Manchester City can both attest to that fact after last season’s title race, and it’s a lesson Chelsea need to learn fast.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, in for the injured Edouard Mendy, made a mistake for Che Adams’ equaliser

9. Almost a nil-nil

Five games into the new Premier League campaign, Leicester and Aston Villa were headed for what would have been the first goalless draw of the season until Ross Barkley’s late winner on Sunday.

After running riot in an incredible 7-2 thrashing of defending champions Liverpool last time out, this time Villa put in a disciplined defensive performance.

And they were rewarded with a victory that meant they have won their opening four top-flight games for the first time in 90 years.

It remains to be seen how long early leaders Everton and Villa can last the pace, but it’s certainly refreshing to see a different look around the top of the table.

Ross Barkley’s late winner maintained Aston Villa’s 100% start to the Premier League season

10. Kane makes history

While nobody would have predicted the end result, Harry Kane made history with a blistering start to Tottenham’s clash against West Ham on Sunday.

The England captain played an excellent long ball to set up Son Heung-Min for his opener in the first minute of Sunday’s game, then scored two goals himself to put Spurs 3-0 up inside 16 minutes.

It meant Kane became the first player in almost a decade to move into double figures in goal involvements within the first five minutes of a Premier League campaign.

With 12 in total (five goals, seven assists), he bettered the previous records set by Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney in the 2011/12 season and Arsenal’s Thierry Henry in 2004/05.

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