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Talking points from the Premier League weekend:
POGBA FAILS TO TAKE HIS CHANCE – AGAIN
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Paul Pogba another chance to stake his claim for a regular starting place in his midfield but was let down by yet another poor display from the Frenchman.
After last week’s goalless draw with Chelsea, in which Pogba started on the bench, there were calls for the United boss to find a way to get him back in the team.
Pogba started in midweek against Leipzig in the 5-0 Champions League win but delivered a sub-par performance against Arsenal and gave away the penalty which handed Arsenal the win.
Donny van de Beek, the summer signing from Ajax, was back on the bench after impressing against Leipzig and Solskjaer may regret that decision.
CHELSEA SIGNINGS SETTLING IN NICELY
Chelsea’s new signings are showing they have settled in quickly. Their 3-0 win at Burnley saw Hakim Ziyech score one goal and create another, while Timo Werner was also on target.
Although Burnley created little, the Chelsea defence, marshalled by new arrival Thiago Silva, looked solid and Edouard Mendy became the first Chelsea keeper since Petr Cech in 2004 to start with three straight Premier League clean sheets.
MAN CITY LACK CUTTING EDGE IN ATTACK
Pep Guardiola will be pleased with City’s second clean sheet, a 1-0 win at Sheffield United, but will be concerned his side scored just once. The goal also came from an unlikely source, full back Kyle Walker scoring against his boyhood club.
With strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus sidelined with injuries, City were toothless up front despite Ferran Torres’ best efforts to spearhead the attack.
The onus has fallen on City’s wingers and midfielders to make up for their absence but Guardiola’s side are well off the pace for a team that has averaged over 100 league goals in the past three seasons.
Kevin De Bruyne’s return from injury should give them a lift, with the playmaker providing three assists in his last two games.
VILLA GET RUDE AWAKENING AFTER DREAM START
Aston Villa fans must have been in dreamland after the club, who last won the league in 1981 before clinching the European Cup in 1982, won their opening four games this term including a 7-2 demolition of champions Liverpool.
But back-to-back defeats at home suggest they may have been punching above their weight.
A 3-0 defeat by Leeds United in the last round of games was followed by Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Southampton, a result that actually flattered Villa’s performance.
The visitors ripped through their rivals to take a 4-0 lead before taking their foot off the pedal. Villa scored twice in stoppage time to add some respectability to the scoreline.
EVERTON’S ANCELOTTI FACES SELECTION HEADACHES
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti faces some selection headaches following his side’s 2-1 defeat by Newcastle on Sunday.
Ancelotti replaced keeper Jordan Pickford with Swedish international Robin Olsen, who arrived on loan from Roma in October, and was rewarded with a solid performance.
But the absence of the injured James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman and the suspended Richarlison was too much to overcome as Everton slipped to a second straight league defeat.
“There are important players missing,” Ancelotti told the BBC. “When you don’t have these players you have to play differently, maybe with less quality but with more focus.”