Soccer-Premier League talking points

(Reuters) – Talking points from the Premier League weekend:

CLINICAL CHELSEA SHARE THE SCORING LOAD

Chelsea were without forwards Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic at Newcastle United on Saturday but it mattered little in a 3-0 win that put them three points clear at the top of the table. Who needs them when you have a right back capable of finishes like the two Reece James provided.

James thumped in one goal with his left foot and another with his right after halftime to crack Newcastle’s resistance.

The England international is now the club’s top scorer in the league this season with four goals and, while Chelsea do not have a regular scorer, they have managed to spread the load with 15 different players on target in their opening 10 games.

Chelsea’s work rate across the field was impressive against Newcastle as they kept a seventh clean sheet in the Premier League this season — further evidence Thomas Tuchel’s idea of collective responsibility is now deeply ingrained in his squad.

RELENTLESS CAVANI SHOWS THE WAY FOR UNITED

Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani was handed his second league start of the season by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and proved the catalyst for a 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur that took the pressure off his manager with an energetic performance.

Cavani struck United’s second goal and led by example throughout with his industrious running off the ball and willingness to track back and help his midfielders.

“He led the line as a good example for everyone, how to go about changing the mood, changing the performance,” Solskjaer said of the 34-year-old who provided the perfect foil for fellow veteran Cristiano Ronaldo who scored a superb opener.

“The two were told early on they would play up front as a two and they have been like two peas in a pod,” Solskjaer said.

YOUTHFUL REVOLUTION BEARING FRUIT AT ARSENAL

Arsenal fans have needed to show plenty of patience with coach Mikel Arteta as he looks to get the Gunners fighting at the top of the table again but, thanks to a youthful, exciting and now settled squad, the future is looking brighter.

The 2-0 win at Leicester City on Saturday made it nine games unbeaten for Arsenal in all competitions, with the victory brought about by three youngsters in particular who have played a starring role in their team’s mini revival.

Bukayo Saka, 20, was a menace all afternoon at the King Power, registering an assist for Gabriel’s opener before playing a key role in the second for Emile Smith Rowe, 21, who netted his fourth goal in seven games in all competitions.

Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, 23, was the star of the show, making a string of superb saves. It has been a slow process, but Arsenal, at last, seem to be getting there.

CONSISTENCY KEY TO LIVERPOOL’S TITLE CHASE

Liverpool were in seventh heaven after Sunday’s epic 5-0 triumph at Manchester United but they were given a reality check in a 2-2 home draw against Brighton & Hove Albion with manager Juergen Klopp saying it “tasted like defeat.”

It must have, given that second-placed Liverpool were 2-0 up and seemingly on their way to keeping up the pressure on leaders Chelsea, who engineered a clinical 3-0 win at Newcastle United.

A poor second-half performance saw Liverpool throw away their lead and Brighton looked the more likely winners in the closing stages as the home side seemed to run out of steam.

Title races are often decided by fine margins and whereas beating their fellow heavyweights will certainly boost Liverpool’s bid, Klopp is only too aware that dropping points at home against underdogs may ultimately prove costly.

(Compiled by Pete Hall; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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