The past weekend of Premier League action saw Liverpool put the sword by Manchester City, Manchester United’s 100% record fall at the hands of Stoke, and Frank De Boer becoming the first managerial casualty of the season.
More on De Boer’s sacking below, but this past weekend also saw Brighton claim their first win, Tottenham hand out a lesson to Everton and Arsenal doing what they do best against lower-half opposition.
But who stood out this weekend (for good or bad reasons)?
Manchester City. Well that’s one way to lay down a title marker. Pep Guardiola’s Man City did to Liverpool what Liverpool did to Arsenal a fortnight ago (and then some) in a dominating performance. To what extent Sadio Mane’s red card changed the game will never be known (especially since Mohamed Salah had the beating of Nicolas Otamendi in the first half), when City did get that numerical advantage they took full, punishing advantage of it.
Gabriel Jesus. The young Brazilian scored twice at the Etihad on Saturday, and could well have scored more. Deadly either next to Sergio Aguero or on his own, Jesus is quite clearly the future of this Man City attack.
Kevin De Bruyne. The rightful man of the match on Saturday, De Bruyne absolutely rant the show from start to finish. Another Man City player set for a huge season.
Brighton. Chris Hughton’s side got their first victory of the Premier League season, and did so with an emphatic 3-1 win against West Bromwich Albion. Tony Pulis’ visitors had made themselves hard to break down in the first few games so for Brighton to score three against them, even with Jonny Evans back in defence, is no mean feat.
Pascal Gross. Star of the show at the Amex. Amid all the upheaval at Brighton this season, the former German under-19 international has settled into the Premier League with ease so far and chipped in with two goals on Saturday.
Harry Kane. As sure as September follows August, Harry Kane is up and running for this season with two goals against Everton.
Danny Welbeck. With competition for those front three spots at Arsenal set to be fierce this season, Welbeck’s two-goal showing against Bournemouth will have done him no harm.
Liverpool. One step forward, one step back. Crush Arsenal, collapse against Man City. The red card was a legitimate turning point in the match, but that should not excuse to dismal collapse in the second half as the Reds allowed Man City to walk all over them. A chastening experience for all involved.
Jurgen Klopp. Or, more accurately, Klopp’s refusal to buy a centre-back in the summer. The pursuit of Virgil van Dijk came to nothing, but one look at Ragnar Klavan flailing about and watching Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus overpower him must surely have left the Liverpool manager questioning his decision not to consider an alternative.
Everton. Ronald Koeman spent heavily in the summer, but are this Everton team really that much better than last year? They have solidified in certain areas and have upgraded in parts, but the lack of a top-level striker is going to let them down plenty of times this season. Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at home to Everton showed just how far behind the top sixe they really are.
Frank De Boer. Four games. Zero points. Zero goals. Crystal Palace have made the worst four-match start of any team in almost a century, but sacking a manager this early into a campaign, regardless of the merits of hiring him in the first place, seem like the actions of an aimless club. In any event, we already have our first manager out the door this season.
Phil Jones. And it was all going so well…