Belfast Telegraph

5 talking points ahead of this weekend’s Premier League action

Liverpool versus Arsenal is the standout fixture.

Roberto Firmino scored a hat-trick when Liverpool and Arsenal last met at Anfield (Peter Byrne/PA)
Roberto Firmino scored a hat-trick when Liverpool and Arsenal last met at Anfield (Peter Byrne/PA)

By Ian Parker, PA

A first-versus-second clash between Liverpool and Arsenal headlines the fixtures on the third weekend of the new Premier League season.

Here, PA news agency takes a look at all the key talking points.

All eyes on Anfield

The Premier League table may not mean much after just two games each but a fixture between Liverpool and Arsenal usually does, whether they are first and second or not. Liverpool looked superb for the first 45 minutes of the season against Norwich but since then Jurgen Klopp’s side have been more questionable, certainly in defence, and almost threw away a 2-0 lead at Southampton a week ago. Arsenal have issues of their own but they offer plenty of threats going forward – so can they punish Liverpool at the back? They will need to do much better than they did on their last visit to Anfield, when Roberto Firmino’s hat-trick helped Liverpool to a 5-1 win.

Will VAR steal the spotlight once more?

VAR was the centre of attention yet again last weekend and the next controversy is surely not far away. Manchester City have been involved in two of the biggest debates yet with incidents in both of their games so far, most obviously the disallowing of Gabriel Jesus’ late strike in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham last weekend. League officials will surely be hoping that wherever the next incident is, it is not at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium when they visit on Sunday.

Can Lampard poop the Pukki party?

Whether they have got the rub of the green or not, Chelsea remain winless three matches into the Frank Lampard era. On paper, a trip to newly-promoted Norwich might be just what they are looking for and the Blues will be strong favourites at Carrow Road. But Norwich have looked strong on their return to the Premier League, and Teemu Pukki’s hat-trick in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Newcastle makes the Finnish frontman joint topscorer so far in the early going.

Brighton rocks

bpanews_9d28eb5f-1176-4338-bb37-d1b441c4007f_embedded244705330
Graham Potter is off to a good start at Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

After avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth at the back end of last season, Brighton have started well under new boss Graham Potter. They demolished Watford on the opening day before taking a point off West Ham last weekend – a game they may well have won but for the intervention of VAR. With a pointless Southampton due at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday, there must be every chance they will get even more points on the board early in the campaign.

Worries for Watford and West Ham

bpanews_9d28eb5f-1176-4338-bb37-d1b441c4007f_embedded240334030
West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini (left) and Watford counterpart Javi Gracia could both use a win (Chris Radburn/PA)

Watford and West Ham have both suffered poor starts to the season, each on the receiving end of an opening day hammering at home as Watford lost 3-0 to Brighton and West Ham went down 5-0 to champions Manchester City. They will meet at Vicarage Road with just one point between them, and 10 goals conceded between them. It is too early in the season to panic, but both teams need a win and soon.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph