18 August 2023

Premier League talking points as Newcastle look to maintain impressive start

18 August 2023

The Premier League is up and running after the opening round of fixtures last week.

Here, the PA news agency looks at this weekend’s talking points.

Toon to take advantage?

Newcastle got off to a flying start with a thumping 5-1 win over Aston Villa and can really send a message about their top-four credentials when they travel to a Manchester City side not so fresh from their Super Cup success in Greece on Wednesday night. Kevin De Bruyne’s injury absence could really start to hit home for the champions.

More dilemmas for Poch

Chelsea’s encouraging second-half display in their 1-1 draw against Liverpool seemed to show Mauricio Pochettino is already starting to get a tune from their expensively and hastily-assembled squad. Now the Argentinian has to factor in Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia to an already stacked midfield, as they head across London to face West Ham.

Salah still sulking?

Mohamed Salah’s bandaged-based strop raised eyebrows as he was substituted at Stamford Bridge. The Egypt striker had endured a quiet match but was still unhappy when his number came up, and he grumpily tore off strips of the bandage he was wearing on his wrist as he trudged off. Whether his mood will have improved by the time the Reds host Bournemouth remains to be seen.

Blades look for a boost

While last season’s top four; City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle, all started with victories, the three promoted sides – Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton – slipped to defeats and it could be a long season for all three. The Blades have a chance to get points on the board when they travel to Nottingham Forest on Friday but Luton and Burnley will have to wait, as their match has been postponed with Kenilworth Road not yet up to scratch.

VAR under the spotlight again

The officials enjoyed a relatively controversy-free opening weekend of the season despite the new regulations on time-wasting and ungentlemanly conduct. That was until Monday, when neither referee Simon Hooper or the VAR saw anything wrong when Manchester United keeper Andre Onana clattered into Wolves’ Sasa Kalajdzic in the penalty area. Rinse and repeat, it seems.

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