Premier League talking points: Arsenal run out of steam, De Bruyne fires – SportsMediaz


Talking points from the Premier League weekend:

DE BRUYNE BACK AMONG THE GOALS BUT GUARDIOLA WANTS MORE

Kevin De Bruyne eased Manchester City’s nerves during its hard-fought 3-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion by grabbing the all-important third goal, scoring for the first time since Aug. 13.

With Erling Haaland scoring most of City’s goals this season, De Bruyne has had to make do with assists instead, setting up 11 goals in all competitions.

Pep Guardiola was in no mood to praise his captain, however, and criticised his form this season, even though he described his goal as a “masterclass”.

“He’s not playing at his top level, not yet. His form could be better. He made a fantastic goal but he’s not playing at his best. He knows that, I don’t have to tell him,” he said.

TOTTENHAM NEEDS KULUSEVSKI BACK

After its best start to a top-flight season after 10 games since 1963, Tottenham has hit the buffers with consecutive defeats to Manchester United and Newcastle United.

Suddenly Antonio Conte’s team looks disjointed and lacking imagination and a large part of the problem is the absence of injured Swedish attacking midfielder Dejan Kulusevski.

Kulusevski has started half of Tottenham’s 12 Premier League games this season and in those Tottenham was unbeaten, averaging 2.6 goals per game and 2.3 points per game. In the games he has not started, Spurs have won three and lost three and those figures are 1.1 and 1.5.

The Swede’s ability to be the link between a rather stodgy midfield and Tottenham’s attacking duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min was crucial last season as Spurs made the top four.

Without him, Antonio Conte’s side lack spark and the sooner he returns the better if Tottenham are not to stall.

VILLA PERKS UP AFTER GERRARD’S DEPARTURE

Aston Villa wasted no time turning around its fortunes following the departure of manager Steven Gerrard in midweek, sprinting out to a 3-0 lead over Brentford and adding a fourth goal in the second half in a display that delighted their fans.

Those fans had voiced their displeasure at Gerrard late in his reign but there was nothing but smiles and joy as they quickly dismantled Brentford, playing with a freedom and verve that was sorely lacking under Gerrard.

Villa doubled its tally of goals scored at home for the season, and if it can maintain this kind of form then the threat of relegation will have receded by Christmas.

ARSENAL RUNS OUT OF PUFF AGAINST SAINTS

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will be concerned by the way his side fell off the pace in the second half of its 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday.

The Gunners were at their sizzling best in the opening stages and deservedly led but as the game wore on they visibly wilted, no doubt feeling the effects of Thursday’s Europa League win over PSV Eindhoven.

That allowed Southampton back into the match and it is something Arteta is going to have to manage through the campaign if they are to stay ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table.

Whether he can rotate his players in the second half of the season and keep them fresh for the Premier League could be key to their title challenge.

WOLVES ARE PRIME CANDIDATES FOR THE DROP

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ decision to hand interim manager Steve Davis the reins until the new year may have drastic consequences as the team seem unable to get out of a run of poor form and sits 19th in the standings after five losses in six games.

A win over fellow relegation contenders Nottingham Forest earned them a brief respite but Sunday’s 4-0 mauling at the hands of bottom side Leicester City, which moved out of the relegation zone, has cast a pall of gloom over Molineux Stadium.

They had 21 shots against Leicester but could not find a way through. Add the signing of an unfit striker in Diego Costa — who has yet to score in five games — and Wolves’ lack of bite in front of goal has cost them dearly.

They have scored the fewest goals in the league (five) and it is no surprise that they find themselves falling behind in the relegation dog fight. 

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