Another fantastic weekend of Premier League football saw some big wins for the title chasersPxfuel

Seven games into the new Premier League season, and things still aren’t showing any signs of settling down. With the bigger teams playing almost every three days due to European commitments, and with persistent injuries and coronavirus restrictions eating away at even the deepest of squads, the Premier League remains as delightfully unpredictable as ever. Here are three major talking points from another topsy-turvy weekend of football.

Chelseas big money signings clicking into gear

In the most dominant performance of the weekend, Chelsea took all three points from a weary Burnley with a comfortable 3-0 win, just days after a similarly convincing 4-0 triumph over Krasnodar in the Champions League. Frank Lampard’s men looked very strong as their new attacking talent put Burnley to the sword, with Hakim Ziyech registering his first Premier League goal, before Kurt Zouma and Timo Werner put the cherry on the top of a slick, highly professional display.

First and foremost, it looks as if Chelsea have a serious player on their hands in Ziyech. He grabbed his first goal for the club midweek with a neat finish, and opened the scoring on Sunday with a clever drive that completely wrong-footed Nick Pope, after good link-up with Werner and Tammy Abraham. The Moroccan is an incredibly gifted player, blessed with a lethal left foot and fantastically close control – reminiscent of Riyad Mahrez – with a keen eye for a defence-splitting pass. Imperious centre back Zouma doubled Chelsea’s lead shortly after with an unstoppable header from a corner, before Timo Werner, now looking to have settled into life as a Premier League striker, netted his third in three games with a nice finish over an onrushing Pope.

“It looks as if Chelsea have a serious player on their hands in Ziyech”

Aside from the goals, the link-up between Werner and Ziyech, alongside fellow new-signing Kai Havertz, looked very menacing indeed, as the pace of Werner in behind constantly stretched the Burnley defence vertically, while Havertz and Ziyech relentlessly rotated behind him. Throw into that mix the dangerous Christian Pulisic, who managed 8 goal involvements in the final 9 games of last season, as well as Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham, and even Olivier Giroud, and Chelsea’s abundance of high-quality attacking options becomes clear.

They even look to have solved their goalkeeping problem, as new boy Edouard Mendy kept his fifth clean sheet in just six games – more than his troublesome predecessor, Kepa Arrizabalaga, managed in nearly 10 months. New full-back Ben Chilwell has also slotted in seamlessly on the left, while marauding right-back Reece James looks in fantastic form at the moment. It really seems as if this could be the start of a purple patch for Chelsea, who have a chance to keep their run going at home to strugglers Sheffield United next weekend.

I still can’t really see past City or Liverpool for the title, but I fully expect Chelsea to have the two juggernauts looking nervously over their shoulders right until the very end.

Fantastic Foxes can challenge the Top 4 once again

After sensational wins at Arsenal and Manchester City, Leicester City extended their 100% record on the road this season with a thrilling 4-1 victory over Leeds. Goals from Harvey Barnes, Jamie Vardy and a brace from Youri Tielemans showed the Foxes at their glorious best, counter attacking with devastating efficiency to rip through a Leeds defence who simply couldn’t keep up with the dazzling pace of a menacing Leicester front three.

The opener came from a defensive mistake, as the irrepressible Jamie Vardy hunted down a loose ball before squaring to the similarly electric Harvey Barnes to tap home. The infamous striker was involved once again for the second, as his near post header was parried only as far as the brilliant Tielemans, who arrived late from midfield to slam home. Vardy then grabbed his goal, poking it in after great work from new singing Cengiz Ünder, before Tielemans bagged his second from the penalty spot to round off an excellent night’s work for Brendan Rodgers’ hungry Foxes.

With a whole host of defensive injuries – including those to Ricardo Pereira, Çağlar Söyüncü, Jonny Evans and Timothy Castagne – essentially the entire back-four, it will be especially pleasing for Rodgers that his side managed to keep a rip-roaring Leeds side fairly quiet, as 19-year-old Wesley Fofana stepped into the middle of a back three with admirable confidence. Hailed as “outstanding” by his manager, the young centre back is being touted as the next big thing in this Leicester defence – so definitely keep an eye out for him.

Further forward, and the elusive Tielemans ran the game sensationally from midfield, relentlessly stretching the defence from side to side with his magnificent passing and causing havoc as he ghosted in and out of the half-spaces behind a disorientated Leeds midfield, struggling to keep up with his movement. When James Maddison is fully fit – who came on to provide a magnificent pre-assist and win a penalty – and tough tackler Wilifried Ndidi returns from injury, this Leicester midfield will look very potent indeed.

“The elusive Tielemans ran the game sensationally from midfield”

And finally, up front, new singing Ünder looks to be a very shrewd acquisition, providing two assists in two substitute appearances, with his incredible pace and fearlessness to drive at the opposition defence. Alongside Barnes, similarly direct and dangerous, he can provide support for the unstoppable Jamie Vardy up front, whose performance on Monday told the nation that not even a national lockdown will be stopping the Vardy Party.

If anything is going to prevent Leicester from challenging the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham for a spot in the top four, it will be consistency, particularly in the late season – last time around, for example, it was defeats to Norwich and Bournemouth that ultimately cost them a place in this season’s Champions League. After their best start to a Premier League season for 20 years, though, there’s every reason for optimism down at the King Power.

And finally, a finishing masterclass from Southampton

Similarly impressive on the road, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s away-day experts showed that they are well on their way to establishing themselves as one of the Premier League’s best of the rest, with a spectacular 4-3 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.

Southampton were at their clinical best at Villa Park, as four emphatic finishes before the hour mark helped The Saints side to another trademark smash-and-grab victory away from home, taking all three points with less possession and fewer attempts on goal than their opponents. The South Coast side were the 3rd best away team last season, only behind runaway title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool, and they already look to be just as effective this time round; a well-drilled outfit who are awkward to break down and clinical when they have their chances.

Every shot that Southampton put on target found the back of the net on Sunday, as first Jannik Vestergaard powered in an incredible header from a James Ward-Prowse free-kick, leaving one of the league’s better shot-stoppers, Emiliano Martinez, with absolutely no chance. Then, set-piece specialist Ward-Prowse fired in an unstoppable 25-yard free-kick; a delicious strike with pace, curve and dip that left Martinez flailing at thin air. And, to prove that was no fluke, he did it again just 12 minutes later, with another sensational free kick that showed unbelievable technique to get the ball up and down over the wall with such pace and at such a short distance. Finally, just after half-time, and it was Southampton’s star striker, Danny Ings, who got in on the act, cutting inside on the edge of the area and blasting a venomous shot into the very top corner, clipping the underside of the bar on the way in. Four goals of the highest, highest quality from Hasenhüttl’s men.

If anything, the manager will be disappointed that his side took their foot off the gas at 4-0 up, conceding goals in the 93rd and 97th minute to take the gloss from an expertly executed away day victory. He’ll also be bitterly disappointed that Ings, who netted 22 goals last season, picked up an injury that will rule him out for four to six weeks, meaning he’ll miss a tricky trip to Wolves and the visit of Manchester United. It will be fascinating to see, though, if Ings’ strike partner, Che Adams, will be able to step up to the plate and start to replicate the goal-scoring form that tempted the Saints to splash £15 million on him last July.

They may have been the 3rd best away side, but Southampton were also the 3rd worst home side in the league last season. And, with Newcastle up next at St Mary’s, fresh after beating high-flying Everton this weekend, it will be a good opportunity to see what this Southampton side, at home, and without their talismanic striker, are really made of.