With another Premier League weekend in the books, theScore looks at some of the winners and losers following the sixth Sunday in England’s top flight.
Sitting bottom on one point ahead of Saturday’s visit from Bournemouth, Burnley had the look of a side whose carriage returned to pumpkin form as the clock struck midnight. Bounced from a first European appearance in 51 years and reeling from a defeat at the Molineux where Wolves registered a season-high 30 shots, Sean Dyche and Co. welcomed a Bournemouth side coming off of a resolute 4-2 beatdown of Leicester City. But it was Burnley who would provide a quartet of goals, with Matej Vydra, Aaron Lennon, and Ashley Barnes all opening their 2018-19 accounts in a massive victory that vaults the Clarets from last place to 16th.
Loser: Rafa Benitez’s business
Mike Ashley furnishes Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez with the resources of a nonna sneaking her grandchild a two pence piece, but even with the transfer funds of a non-league outfit, the Spanish gaffer’s latest endorsements have been a let down. Consider that Aleksandar Mitrovic is joint-top of the league on five goals and Dwight Gayle has the same haul with West Brom in the second tier, the Magpies’ four goals through six matches provides an undesirable contrast. “Each player has his own environment and they can do well in one team and maybe not as well in the other one,” Benitez offered, hinting that he and Mitro may not have seen eye to eye.
Winners: Goal-starved stars and timely tallies
Following last season’s unprecedented Golden Boot duel between 30-goal men Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane, relatively slow starts to the campaign for the attacking pair raised some concerns, especially for the latter. On Saturday, both Salah and Kane registered their third league goals on the season, and they couldn’t have come easier. The Egyptian star registered Liverpool’s third on the stroke of halftime against a lifeless Southampton side when he nudged Xherdan Shaqiri’s brisk bar-striking free-kick beyond the line from close range. And Kane bagged a trademark blistering penalty versus Brighton after Glenn Murray handled in the area.
Losers: Point-blank potential match winners
One you’d expect to head home from close range, the other, not so much, but regardless of differing goal-scoring pedigrees, both Andriy Yarmolenko and Mamadou Sakho will regret not finishing facile match-winning chances on the weekend. Crystal Palace centre-half Sakho missed an absolute sitter in the goalless stalemate against Newcastle at Selhurst Park on Saturday, and Yarmolenko replicated that effort late in a similarly goal-deprived visit from Chelsea at the London Stadium. As a result, both Palace and West Ham languish on a sole victory, with the latter flirting with an early-season dalliance with the drop.
Winner: Clean sheet Cech
Arsenal registered their first clean sheet of the season on Sunday against Everton at the Emirates, and Petr Cech merits all the praise. The 36-year-old made six saves, including a risky sliding stop on Dominic Calvert-Lewin and a lunging block on a Michael Keane header. After years of underwhelming play between the posts by Gunners’ netminders, suddenly the north London lot are blessed with two solid shot-stoppers in Cech and summer signing Bernd Leno. The towering Czech Cech has been a wonderful surprise and will be tough to displace as Unai Emery’s first choice, especially if he adds to a Premier League record 202 clean-sheet haul.
Loser: Mark Hughes
At what point does well-travelled manager Mark Hughes become unemployable? Southampton made the voyage north to Anfield on Saturday, and were comprehensively beaten thanks to a trio of first-half goals. It was a lifeless showing from a Southampton side stuck on one win, managing just a scant single effort on target in a display that reflected the approach of a tactical dinosaur. The result worsened Hughes’ poor record versus the Reds, tasting defeat in his last six league matches against the Merseysiders by a 17-3 margin. Following the 3-0 defeat, Hughes contended that “there wasn’t that much between the teams.” Perhaps the Welshman was watching a different match.