5 things we learned from this weekend’s Premier League action
The handball rule took centre-stage once again while Leicester look like they have a point to prove.
The weekend’s Premier League action saw plenty of focus on handball decisions, Leicester pull off a shock result at Manchester City and a hugely experienced defender endure a troubled debut.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the things we learned from the matches across Saturday and Sunday.
Handball law in the spotlight again
The current handball law was a talking point from the previous round of top-flight games and certainly after this weekend’s action, featuring a number of notable incidents, it looks like it could be a major one this season. Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson labelled the rule “nonsense” following Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Everton, in which Richarlison scored a penalty awarded via VAR after the ball struck Joe Ward’s hand. Then on Sunday, Eric Dier being deemed guilty of handball, with VAR again consulted, resulted in a last-gasp spot-kick for Newcastle as they secured a 1-1 draw at Tottenham. That incident prompted Spurs boss Jose Mourinho to walk off down the tunnel, while Magpies counterpart Steve Bruce later said: “We’ve got away with one.”
After their bid for Champions League qualification fell short in the end last season, Leicester look ready to make another push this term, with Brendan Rodgers’ team adding to their 3-0 win at West Brom and 4-2 victory over Burnley with a stunning 5-2 triumph at Manchester City on Sunday. Jamie Vardy continues to demonstrate his potency at the age of 33, having netted a hat-trick at the Etihad Stadium to make it five goals already this term for last season’s Golden Boot winner. The remarkable contest was the first match in Pep Guardiola’s management career to see a team he was in charge of concede five times.
Toffees looking tasty
While not as convincing in their victory this weekend as Leicester, Everton are the only team matching the Foxes at the moment in terms of maximum points from three games, and the Carlo Ancelotti era at Goodison Park appears to really be gathering some momentum. The win at Palace saw the summer signing trio of Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez deliver more good work and Dominic Calvert-Lewin add another goal to his tally – he also has five so far this season.
Sheffield United fans may be concerned about ‘second-season syndrome’ following Sunday’s defeat against Leeds. The 1-0 loss at Bramall Lane to Marcelo Bielsa’s promoted side left the Blades, who were so impressive on their Premier League return last term, without a point or a goal three games into their campaign. And the fixtures immediately ahead for Chris Wilder’s men look tough to say the least – included in their next five are clashes with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Shaky start for Silva
With the CV Thiago Silva possesses, it seemed reasonable to expect the Brazil centre-back would slot fairly comfortably into the Premier League following his move to Chelsea last month – but Saturday’s 3-3 draw at West Brom suggested it will perhaps take him a little while to adapt. Four days on from his 36th birthday, the former Paris St Germain player – handed the captain’s armband for his league debut – had a mistake swiftly punished as Callum Robinson scored the second of the hosts’ three first-half goals.