Takeaway: Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Watford was wholly deserved in the end -- but for a half, this team struggled against the gritty Hornets. Pushed around in midfield and tested by the speedy Odion Ighalo, this could well have been another slumping show served up by an Arsenal side whose commitment has often been questioned. Instead, they put the foot on the pedal after the half and were rewarded. Stiffer tests remain, but Arsenal at least look to be making a genuine attempt at the title, which is far more than could be said about this team in years past.
Getty ImagesJan Kruger
Klopp’s debut shows heart -- and how much work is still to be done
Takeaway: Liverpool certainly looked like a team that wanted to win a game for their new manager; the problem, as Jurgen Klopp cheerfully admitted after the game was that his players weren’t good enough. Hampered by injuries and hamstrung by his predecessor’s poor decisions, Klopp was probably right that a goalless draw was enough in his debut against Tottenham. But the game also showed how far off the pace both teams are: Klopp is going to have to clean house at Anfield soon. A top-four finish is not realistic at this juncture.
Getty ImagesMichael Regan
Aston Villa just the tonic for Chelsea
Takeaway: Pity poor Tim Sherwood. His Villa keep shooting themselves in the foot, gifting Chelsea their first goal on Saturday, then scoring the second for them. The crisis at Villa is only getting deeper, but for Chelsea, this was a confidence-boosting win. Put aside the fact that the Blues were sloppy, and that Jose Mourinho tore into Eden Hazard after the match. It was three points to lift Chelsea into 11th place. They’ll take it ahead of a run that includes a UEFA Champions League trip to Kiev midweek.
Getty ImagesClive Rose
And, as for Tim Sherwood…
Takeaway: With two managers already sacked this season, Sherwood is odds-on favorite to be next. His Villa simply look insipid. Gone is the flair and hell-for-leather style of play that delighted the fans, and in its place is a mistake-ridden, conservative crouch that simply invites teams to score on them. Why Brad Guzan continues to start in goal is another good question. If his players are playing for him, it’s difficult to detect as Villa remain mired in the drop zone and seem completely disinterested. Villa’s problem is that changing managers isn’t going to fix the fundamental problems at the club.
Aston Villa FC via Getty ImagesNeville Williams
Manchester City show too much class vs. Bournemouth
Takeaway: No Sergio Aguero, no David Silva? No problem for City, as Raheem Sterling smashed a hat trick past the helpless Cherries en route to a 5-1 win. This was the day in which City showed just how much depth they truly have, admittedly at the expense of one of the poorer sides in England. But the fact they were up by two goals after just over ten minutes had elapsed was an eye-opening reminder that City remain the team to beat in this league this season.