Pickford, Van Dijk and Aguero: 10 big Premier League talking points from the weekend’s action

Premier League talking points

It’s been another wild weekend in the Premier League, with huge derbies, defensive capitulations, and plenty of controversy surrounding officials.

The international break gave us a quick breather, but with another eight games of Premier League football under our belts, debates have been raging online.

There was so much to unpack across Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully, we’ve made it easily digestible by collating all the major talking points in one place for you to read.

From shock results and poor officiating, to season-defining injuries and goals galore, here are the 10 biggest talking points from gameweek five in the Premier League.

Should you be punished for incidents after the whistle?

Where better to start than the first major controversy of the weekend? Split seconds after the referee whistled for offside, Everton keeper Jordan Pickford clattered into Virgil van Dijk, leaving him crumpled in a heap.

No action was taken against Pickford, leaving many arguing that harsher punishments should be introduced for incidents that occur after the whistle is blown. Since VAR reviewed it at the time, further action seems unlikely, but it does beg the question as to what is or isn’t acceptable once play has been stopped.

How will Liverpool cope without Van Dijk?

Virgil van Dijk injury

Following the subsequent news that Van Dijk could miss the rest of the season, big questions will now be asked of Liverpool’s backline. The current champions have one of the best defenses in the world, but Van Dijk’s injury, coupled with Alisson’s recent fitness concerns, has Reds’ fans worried.

There are transfer options available, should Klopp wish to dip his toes into the January market, and after seeing Manchester City’s defence crumble last season off the back of an injury to Aymeric Laporte, they may just have to.

Same old problem for Chelsea

While there were new faces lighting up Stamford Bridge in the form of German duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, Chelsea ultimately succumbed to a familiar problem: their leaky defence.

With new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy out through injury and Thiago Silva absent due to jet lag, the Blues’ defence looked its shaky self as they threw away a two-goal lead against Southampton to draw 3-3. If Chelsea are to be taken seriously in the title race, Frank Lampard must fix things at the back.

Aguero and Massey-Ellis: inappropriate or overreaction?

Sian Massey-Ellis and Sergio Aguero

Perhaps the biggest talking point over the weekend came from the Etihad Stadium. After complaining to lineswoman Sian Massey-Ellis, Sergio Ageuro then proceeded to put his arm around her shoulder/neck area and pull her back.

The striker was widely criticised, with many stating his actions were patronising and normalised inappropriately touching women. Others said such reactions blew the incident out of proportion, but most agree it was incorrect, however you spin it.

Maguire and Fernandes silence the critics

Not many people in football have had a rougher ride in the past few weeks than Harry Maguire. Following his controversial holiday to Greece, the defender’s early-season form has opened him up to plenty of criticism. Fernandes, meanwhile, has also long been the subject of abuse, with many pointing to his over-reliance on Manchester United’s generous penalty record.

Well, a 4-1 away win against Newcastle helped both go some way to silencing their critics. Maguire opened the scoring for United before Fernandes spectacularly put away their second from a tight angle in open play. Who needs penalties?

Crystal Palace must offer more going forward

Roy Hodgson Crystal Palace

Roy Hodgson’s sides are known for their defensive solidity, but in a season where it appears harder than ever to keep a clean sheet, you do feel Palace need to be more threatening in attack.

Wilfred Zaha helped the Eagles into the lead from the penalty spot on Sunday, but they sat back thereafter, inviting rivals Brighton onto them. They caused the visitors very few problems and ultimately conceded late on to draw the match. It begs the question whether Hodgson change his ways and make Palace more adventurous.

Can anyone stop Spurs being Spursy?

“It is the history of the Tottenham,” as Giorgio Chiellini famously once remarked. No matter how surer bet Spurs look, you can never put it past them somehow ballsing it up. And it was another case of deja vu on Sunday against West Ham.

Three goals in the last 10 minutes saw Spurs go from a resounding 3-0 victory, to a scarcely believable 3-3 draw. A Manuel Lanzini wonderstruck sealed a point for the Hammers, and once again leaves Spurs fans with heads in their hands.

Barkley has breathed new creativity into Aston Villa

Ross Barkley Aston Villa

Jack Grealish has long been the talisman of Villa’s attack, but the addition of attacking midfielder Ross Barkley has lifted some of the creative burden off his shoulders. The pair combined to devastating effect against Liverpool and they were at it again on Sunday versus Leicester.

Grealish was at his brilliant best but it was Barkley who netted the all important winner courtesy of a late, long-range strike. Villa are now four wins from four this season and, in Barkley and Grealish, carry a real threat.

Leicester's lack of strength in depth hurts them

It’s not easy for any team when they’re missing key players, but Leicester’s injury list makes for particularly grim reading. Caglar Soyuncu, Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy were all ruled out last weekend, while James Maddison was only fit enough for a spot on the bench. That’s arguably five of Leicester’s six best players.

The loss of so many key individuals showed as the Foxes slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Villa, and with Europa League fixtures starting this Thursday, they now face the daunting task of six games in three weeks with a threadbare squad. Yikes.

The non-stop Barclays goal fest continues

This Premier League campaign has mirrored the craziness of the rest of the world so far this season, and last weekend was no different. We saw 27 goals across eight matches, including two 3-3 draws.

There’re a few theories as to why the Premier League has gone goal-mad this year, but most people aren’t complaining about it. It’s showing no signs of slowing down, either, so strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride!

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