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Man Utd’s slow start a concern and there’s no place like home for Aguero – 10 things we learned

Another weekend of Premier League action delivered another round of major talking points, with plenty of question marks surrounding the form of some of the ‘Big Six’.

Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal all failed to win – albeit with the latter two playing out an enthralling 2-2 draw at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon.  

There was plenty to catch the eye further down the table too, with both West Ham and Leicester posting impressive victories in their bid to break the monopoly at the top of the tree. 

Here, Sportsmail’s HARRY SLAVIN picks out 10 things he learned from the latest round of fixtures… 

Arsenal paying the penalty with Xhaka

Just what is it with Granit Xhaka and daft challenges? 

The Arsenal midfielder made yet another one inside his own area on Sunday afternoon to gift Harry Kane the chance to score from the spot after catching Son Heung-min with a reckless lunge.

It’s something that Gunners fans have had to get used to. Since making his Premier League debut in August 2016, no player has given away more spot-kicks than the Switzerland international.

That foul on Sunday made it five conceded in three years. So far this season, only Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic has given away more fouls.  

Tammy’s king of England strikers 

Frank Lampard may be under a little pressure after a less than convincing start to the season, but his youngsters appear to be positively thriving in the top flight.

No one has made more of their chance under the new Chelsea boss than Tammy Abraham, who grabbed his third and fourth goal against Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon.

It is a massive boost for a young striker whose ability to crack the top flight has been questioned following his disappointing spell at Swansea two seasons ago. 

Really, though his form should not come as any surprise. Following on from his loan spell in the Championship last season with Aston Villa, Abraham has scored more goals than any other English player plying thier trade in the top two flights of English football since the start of the 2018-19 season.

Take that form into Europe, and Gareth Southgate may even be tearing up his Euro 2020 plans.  

No English striker in England's top two tiers has more goals than Abraham since August 2018

No English striker in England’s top two tiers has more goals than Abraham since August 2018

Villa must sort away-day woes

There was general concensus among pundits and fans alike that Aston Villa were mightly hard-done by on Saturday afternoon.

Seeing Henri Lansbury’s last-minute strike chalked off for a perceived dive by Jack Grealish was a difficult decision to swallow for Dean Smith and his side, but they really cannot afford to wallow in self pity. 

Tha goal robbed them of a valuable away point, something that Villa have found despairingly difficult to come by in the top flight.

In fact, after their Selhurst Park reverse, they’ve now gone 20 Premier League away games without registering a single victory, picking up just three draws in the process.

If they are to avoid the drop this season, that is a statistic that must be addressed sooner rather than later. 

Reds pair not only defensive dynamos on Merseyside 

We all know by now the devastating duo of full-backs that Liverpool possess in the form of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. 

But across the road at Goodison Park, their harbouring their own defensive dynamo. 

Lucas Digne set up Richarlison’s winner in a pulsating clash between Everton and Wolves on Sunday lunchtime, and in doing so registered his sixth assist since the start of last season.

The Frenchman has now been directly involved in 10 Premier League goals in that time – when you add his four goals into the equation. 

Alexander-Arnold (15) and Robertson (11) still lead the way, but Digne is proving attack-minded defenders don’t purely reside at Anfield.  

Lucas Digne has been involved in more goals than all but two Premier League defenders

Lucas Digne has been involved in more goals than all but two Premier League defenders 

Cherries still being picked off too often 

It’s safe to say that going to watch Bournemouth in the top flight has been value for money over the last 12 months. Not that Eddie Howe will feel he’s getting much bang for his buck. 

No side has seen more Premier League goals in their matches since the beginning of the previous campaign. The only problem for the Cherries is that most of them are going in at their end.

Saturday proved no exception to the rule as Howe’s men took part in a pulsating clash with Leicester City, eventually going down 3-1 at the King Power Stadium.

Those four strikes took the total number of goals seen in Bournemouth fixtures since August 2018 to 139. 

However, with 78 of them going in at the wrong end, as far as they are concerned at least, rediscovering the art of a cleansheet will be Howe’s priorty over the international break. 

There’s no place like home for Sergio

There are no two ways about it; Sergio Aguero loves The Etihad.

From the moment he landed the title with the most famous goal in Premier League history, the Argentine has an affinity with the place that has rarely been matched by any player and stadium. 

On Saturday afternoon he moved a couple of paces forward towards another little piece of history thanks to his two strikes against Brighton, bringing up his 98th and 99th top-flight strikes at the ground. He needs just one more for a very special milestone.

Only Thierry Henry and Wayne Rooney have better records at a single ground, with the pair netting 114 and 101 at Highbury and Old Trafford respectively. 

Aguero will be eyeing the century against Watford on September 21.  

Sergio Aguero is just one goal away from a century of strikes at home for Manchester City

Sergio Aguero is just one goal away from a century of strikes at home for Manchester City 

Goals from the back a Schar thing at Newcastle

With Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez both leaving St James’ Park this summer, fans were left wondering where on earth the goals were going to come from.

It turns out they needn’t had worried.

The answer, apparently has been right under their noses the whole time, apparently, in the form of Fabian Schar.

The Switzerland internatinal roamed forward from centre back on Saturday afternoon to grab the all-important equalier against Watford to give Steve Bruce his first home point as Toon boss. 

It was Schar’s fifth Premier League strike in 2019 – more than any current member of the Newcastle squad.  

Fabian Schar has scored more goals in 2019 for Newcastle than any current squad member

Fabian Schar has scored more goals in 2019 for Newcastle than any current squad member

Hammers finally nailing a quick start 

At this stage last season, West Ham fans were left fearing a rotten season ahead.

Four Premier League matches had come and gone, bringing defeat with each and every one of them and leaving West Ham rooted to the bottom of the table.

Some fans may have been fearing a repeat after the disastrous opening day defeat by Manchester City, but things appear to have changed for the better at the London Stadium.

A 2-0 win over Norwich City has left Manuel Pellegrini’s side with seven points from four games and dreaming of a challenge for Europe.

Considering it took them seven matches to reach the same tally last season, you can see where the newfound optimism has come from. 

Slow start a concern for Solskjaer 

A month is a long time in football. Manchester United started the season like a house on fire against Chelsea. Now, it already looks to be fizzling out. 

Saturday’s draw against Southampton laid bare the problems of a threadbare squad and the difficulty of relying on youth. 

Much like United’s season as a whole, the strong start at St Mary’s Stadium soon faded and by the end a draw didn’t flatter Southampton in the slightest.

That stalemate has left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with just five points and a record that he’d rather not have.

The five points represent one of Manchester United’s poorest starts to a Premier League campaign. Not since 1992-93, the league’s inaugral year, have United picked up fewer points after four matches.

Then, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had just four points after their opening quartet of clashes. Of course, United did go on to win the title that season. 

You suspect Ole’s targets for this season will be a little more conservative.  

Manchester United have picked up just five points from their opening four top-flight fixtures

Manchester United have picked up just five points from their opening four top-flight fixtures

Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7419615/Man-Utds-slow-start-concern-theres-no-place-like-home-Aguero-10-things-learned.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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