Another captivating weekend of Premier League football threw up plenty of talking points for supporters to dissect.
A familiar problem haunted Manchester City, Jose Mourinho’s misery at Stamford Bridge continued as Spurs were defeated 2-1 against Chelsea, and a Man United rising star caught the eye at Old Trafford.
Here’s a breakdown of FFC’s 5 big Premier League talking points from the weekend action…
1. VAR Controversy
Saturday saw more VAR controversy in England’s top tier. First, in the early kick-off, Tottenham’s Giovani Lo Celso clearly stood on Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s leg, yet Stockley Park decided that it was not worthy of a straight red – only to later turn around and admit they got it wrong.
With the Blues winning 2-1 it was a decision that didn’t affect the game too decisively in the end, but the same cannot be said for Burnley’s match against Bournemouth. The Cherries thought they had levelled things up at 1-1 through Harry Wilson, only for a penalty to be given to the Clarets instead. Jay Rodriguez converted the spot-kick and Sean Dyche’s side went on to win 3-0.
Once again, supporters far and wide are left with more questions than answers.
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2. Aubameyang reaffirms his importance
Arsenal’s match against Everton was a tight affair, and the Toffees can feel hard done by that they didn’t get something from the clash – they had 17 shots to the Gunners’ nine.
The difference between the two sides, though, was Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
With his only two shots of the match, he scored a brace, including the eventual winner to earn his side a 3-2 victory.
After the match, Mikel Arteta described him as the team’s “most important player“, whilst admitting the north London outfit need to “convince” him to stay at the club.
With 19 goals this campaign, he has nine more than anyone else in the squad and is arguably the only genuinely world-class player Arteta has at his disposal. Losing him would be a huge blow to his hopes of making his first managerial job in football a success.
3. Mourinho woes continue at Stamford Bridge
It was another disappointing return to old hunting ground Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho as his Tottenham side were beaten 2-1 in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off.
That scoreline may be indicative of a close encounter, but the fact of the matter is that Chelsea were in the ascendancy for the majority of the 90 minutes, as the 17 shots to five in favour of the Blues indicate.
In five visits to the King’s Road in the Premier League and FA Cup, the Portuguese manager is yet to taste victory – only with Inter Milan in the Champions League in 2010 has he been victorious with the away side at his former club.
More pressing matters mean that Spurs are now four points off fourth place, with Manchester United having leap-frogged them while long-term injuries to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have made Mourinho’s job an awful lot harder.
4. Penalty troubles for City
Man City probably did deserve their 1-0 victory against Leicester at the King Power Stadium – they had 69% possession to 31% and 18 shots to 10 – but it was far from plain sailing.
The Foxes were denied a penalty, whilst the Citizens missed one of their own as Kasper Schmeichel kept out Sergio Aguero’s effort. Worryingly for Pep Guardiola, that is the fourth spot-kick in a row they have missed in the Premier League – only Arsenal, who missed their first five after the restructure in 1992, have had a worse run.
City have turned to Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus from 12 yards, but none have been successful, and it will now be interesting to see who Guardiola selects next to place the ball on the spot.
In January, he said goalkeeper Ederson was his best penalty-taker – why not give him a chance to be a hero?
5. Bruno Fernandes off the mark
From one penalty missed to another scored, Bruno Fernandes is off the mark after scoring against Watford on Sunday.
His run-up technique may draw some questions but it was an incredibly effective, and Jorginho-esque, strategy from the Portuguese midfielder, who rolled the ball into the corner after Ben Foster succumbed to his spell.
Since signing for £47m in January, the 25-year-old has been promising if unspectacular, managing one assist in his first two matches, but here he showed how important he can be to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
His 9.5 SofaScore rating led the way, whilst he also managed to create one of the Red Devils’ other two goals in a 3-0 victory. United are still unbeaten since the Portugal international has come in – the supporters will be hoping their form continues.