English Premiership

5 lessons from the Premier League

2016-10-03 12:31
James Milner

Cape Town - Manchester City suffered their first defeat under manager Pep Guardiola with a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur that served notice of Spurs' Premier League title credentials.

Here are five things we learned this weekend:

SLICK SPURS ARE TITLE CONTENDERS

With Jose Mourinho arriving at Manchester United, Manchester City snaring Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte joining Chelsea and big-money signings at Arsenal and Liverpool, there was little talk of the challenge Tottenham Hotspur might pose in the Premier League prior to the start of the season.

Spurs were Leicester City's main challengers last season, only to fade away and finish third, but there was a feeling that they, like Leicester, would end up as collateral damage in the arms race between the division's traditional superpowers.

Not so. Tottenham produced a sublime display to beat City 2-0 on Sunday, condemning Guardiola to his first defeat in the job. Guardiola's men could not handle Spurs' asphyxiating high press -- typified by the industry of Son Heung-Min, goal-scorer Dele Alli and Victor Wanyama - and Mauricio Pochettino's side woud have won more comfortably had Erik Lamela not squandered a second-half penalty. Spurs now possess the last unbeaten record in the division and with City just a slender point above them, the summit is within reach.

CONTE STIFFENS CHELSEA DEFENCE

Three was the magic number for Antonio Conte as the Chelsea manager was rewarded for changing his defensive tactics in a 2-0 win over Hull on Saturday. Shocked by the sloppy displays given by his back four this season - an alarming sequence that culminated in last weekend's 3-0 defeat at Arsenal - Conte opted to switch to a system that deployed three centre-backs at the KCOM Stadium.

David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta made up the reconfigured back three and the trio quickly adapted to Conte's switch as they kept only Chelsea's second clean-sheet of the season. Conte is something of an expert in playing with a back three after using the formation during his spells as Juventus and Italy coach. The Italian is likely to stick with it after seeing Chelsea halt their run of nine goals conceded in four games.

LUCKY ARSENAL

A match away to Burnley had all the hallmarks of being the kind of fixture that has prevented Arsenal winning the Premier League title for more than a decade. But while their usual elegance was missing, they still managed to win 1-0 thanks to Laurent Koscielny's goal in the third minute of stoppage time that might have been ruled out for both handball and offside. Sometimes it really is better to be lucky than good.

FOXES ON THE RUN

Frustrated by Southampton in a goalless home draw on Sunday, Leicester are discovering the perils of defending a title. Claudio Ranieri's side became the most unexpected English champions ever when they lifted the title last season, but they have won only two of their seven league matches this term as reality starts to bite. The pre-season departure of France midfielder N'Golo Kante to Chelsea robbed Leicester of their driving force and Ranieri has so far failed to come up with a successful Plan B.

LIVERPOOL GRIT

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have played some scintillating football this season, crushing champions Leicester 4-1, putting five goals past Hull City and winning 4-3 at Arsenal on the opening day. But they came unstuck in unexpected fashion in their second game at Burnley, losing 2-0 despite dominating the match.

A similar fate appeared to await them on Saturday after they fell behind to an eighth-minute Leroy Fer goal at struggling Swansea City and saw Adam Lallana hobble off with a groin injury. But Klopp's men dug deep, equalising through Roberto Firmino's header and eventually prevailing courtesy of a late James Milner penalty. It was not pretty, and Klopp was furious about his team's sloppy start, but it might just have been the stuff of champions.

Read more on:    english premiership  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Saturday, 22 September 2018
Fulham v Watford, Craven Cottage 13:30
Liverpool v Southampton, Anfield 16:00
Cardiff City v Manchester City, Cardiff City Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Huddersfield Town, King Power Stadium 16:00
Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Old Trafford 16:00
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United, Selhurst Park 16:00
Burnley v AFC Bournemouth, Turf Moor 16:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur, The American Express Community Stadium 18:30
Sunday, 23 September 2018
West Ham United v Chelsea, London Stadium 14:30
Arsenal v Everton, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Saturday, 29 September 2018
West Ham United v Manchester United, London Stadium 13:30
Arsenal v Watford, Emirates Stadium 16:00
Manchester City v Brighton & Hove Albion, Etihad Stadium 16:00
Everton v Fulham, Goodison Park 16:00
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Southampton, Molineux Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Leicester City, St. James' Park 16:00
Huddersfield Town v Tottenham Hotspur, The John Smith's Stadium 16:00
Chelsea v Liverpool, Stamford Bridge 18:30
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.