London — Manchester City opened up a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League as Rodri’s late winner at Sheffield United ensured the champions are the only side still with a 100 percent record after three games.
But 10-man Liverpool produced the performance of the weekend by coming back from 1-0 and a man down inside half an hour to win 2-1 at Newcastle thanks to Darwin Nunez’s double.
Arsenal stumbled for the first time in a 2-2 draw with 10-man Fulham.
West Ham and Tottenham are alongside the Gunners and Liverpool on seven points as they continue to make light of the departures of Declan Rice and Harry Kane respectively.
AFP Sport looks at three talking points from the Premier League weekend:
Darwin finally delivers for Liverpool
Darwin Nunez is yet to start a game this season after an underwhelming first campaign following his club-record £85 million ($107 million) move from Benfica.
The Uruguayan’s composure in front of goal has often been the failing of his Liverpool career to date.
But Nunez was deadly at St James’ Park as he twice fired into the far corner after his pace took him clear of the Newcastle defence.
“He was obviously fired up from not starting,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
“This is a new team with new key players. It needs time. He scores two goals and can’t get the smile off his face. For the team, it was super important.”
The moment Nunez secured all three points at St James’ Park 👌 #NEWLIV pic.twitter.com/kPQD9XCSJO
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 27, 2023
Postecoglou eases Tottenham’s Kane pain
Spurs’ season looked to have suffered a fatal blow before it even began when Kane departed on the eve of Ange Postecoglou’s first game in charge.
But the Australian has shrugged off the loss of the club’s all-time record goalscorer to rapidly whip a new-look side into his own image.
The Spurs fans have a new idol in James Maddison, who scored his first goal for the club in a 2-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday.
But it is Postecoglou’s positivity, in stark contrast to the dour recent regimes of Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho, that has lifted the mood around Tottenham.
The former Celtic boss has sidelined a number of experienced internationals such as former captain Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg for younger legs more capable of playing his high-paced brand of football.
Yves Bissouma and Pape Sarr have thrived in midfield after being largely unused by Conte last season.
Left-back Destiny Udogie, who set up Dejan Kulusevski’s goal against Bournemouth, has been another revelation after spending last season on loan at Udinese.
🎙️ “I thought the first half was excellent. We knew that Bournemouth would be really aggressive with their press, and I really liked the way we handled that.”
Ange reviews our victory at the Vitality Stadium 💪 pic.twitter.com/RGULMa1LRh
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 26, 2023
Pochettino helps Sterling bounce back
Raheem Sterling was the star of the show as Chelsea beat Luton 3-0 to give Mauricio Pochettino his first win in charge of the Blues.
The England international was one of the fall guys during his first season at the club in a disastrous campaign for Chelsea.
Sterling’s return of nine goals was the first time he had not hit double figures in a season since he broke through as a teenager at Liverpool in 2012/13.
The 28-year-old was back to his best, terrorising the Luton defence, with a brilliant solo run and finish to open his tally for the season.
Sterling added a second after the break before teeing up Nicolas Jackson’s first Chelsea goal.
Big performance! 👏#CheLut pic.twitter.com/375bmtzCrh
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 26, 2023
He had also shone despite being on the losing side in a 3-1 defeat at West Ham the week before.
And he said a heart-to-heart with Pochettino was behind his turnaround in form.
“It was a bit of frustration from last season from myself personally because I felt like I was always coming with my back to goal,” said Sterling.
“I need to get on the back foot and do what I do. Drive at players and get on it, that’s when I’m most effective.”
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