The third round of the Barclays Premier League ended with Liverpool maintaining their 100 % start to the season after beating Manchester United and big spending Tottenham Spur losing 1-0 away at Arsenal. So let us look at the five major talking points from the weekend.
Manchester United in sore need of boost in midfield - Liverpool v Manchester United
After two failed bids for Daniele De Rossi of AS Roma and Ander Herrera of Athletic Bilbao before their game against Liverpool on Sunday to go along with their failed pursuit of Marouane Fellaini, David Moyes was left, no doubt, frustrated as he looked for his first win at Anfield. And it only got worse from there, as Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley could do nothing against a Liverpool side looking livelier than ever with every passing weekend.
How Moyes must have wished that at least one of the above transfer targets was already on the bench, as his midfield duo were pinned back and forced to cede possession carelessly on innumerable occasions in the first half. With Wayne Rooney injured and Paul Scholes retired, Anderson was the only central midfielder in reserve and that is hardly an advert of the reigning champions’ strength in depth. Which makes his pursuit of Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara, earlier on in the summer, that much more crucial. With time running out, Moyes must be hoping to bring in at least one more midfielder to provide some sort of boost to a tired and vapid midfield which is in dire need of some serious rejuvenation.
Spendthrift Arsenal show Spurs how it is done - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Mathieu Flamini may have re-signed for Arsenal for free, but had an immense game in midfield for the Gunners (Getty Images)
The latest North London derby was billed as a contrast between thriftiness and largesse, but it emerged as a game that pitted stability against a new and unpredictable mix. No matter how much money they spend, Spurs yet again failed to beat the Gunners at the Emirates, just like in the previous two seasons, where they came in as favourites.
In the end however, the vision of their gifted ball players – Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky – alongside the energy and drive of the revitalized Aaron Ramsey and the returning Mathieu Flamini set the tone for the game. Further up the pitch, the experience of playing with each other for almost a year now, made all the difference as Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud combined beautifully to create a brilliant goal which settled the tie. All in all, Arsenal’s Premier League know-how was vital in a game that saw plenty of attacking players who look set to shine brightly as the Premier League campaign rolls on.
Everton draw blanks yet again and it might get even worse - Cardiff City v Everton
Everton have been struggling to score goals this season and their problems may be compounded by the departures of Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines (Getty Images)
It was just their third Premier League game and Everton already look like they could be struggling for goals, in a transitional year, from a more effective way of football under David Moyes to a more refined one under Roberto Martinez.
With two nil-nil draws and no wins, Martinez’s Everton are lacking the killer finishing that will see them progress and with the likely departure of both Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, the Toffees look light-weight, especially when it comes to creating chances and reinforcements are the order of the day for Martinez as the campaign wears on.
What has happened to West Brom? - West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City
Although they finished eighth last campaign- their best ever Premier League finish- they finished the season collecting just 23 points from their final 25 games. This summer, with a bumper TV deal, they ought to have improved their squad, especially seeing that their hit-man Romelu Lukaku has gone back to his parent club Chelsea.
But, their cautious chairman Jeremy Peace has barely spent a penny so far, and if they don’t manage to get someone up front, their run of three league games without a goal might take some time before it is broken.
N’Zonzi’s stock is on the up - West Ham United v Stoke City
Steven N’zonzi has been one of the good buys of former boss Tony Pulis who has been performing well so far this season (Getty Images)
Whilst Tony Pulis spent an insane amount of money playing nothing but agricultural football, one bit of business that he must be given credit for is the acquisition of Steven N’Zonzi from Blackburn last summer.
Aged just 24, the French midfielder is one of the most underrated players in the league and has gone from strength to strength, ever since his first outing in the Premier League for Blackburn. And against his former manager’s team West Ham, N’Zonzi was the driving force behind the Stoke City win and looks like he will be a key component of Mark Hughes’s rebuilding of the Potters.