The latest round of Premier League fixtures saw a 70-year-old manager return to a top-flight dugout and Wayne Rooney back at his old home.
Here’s a look at the talking points from the weekend’s action.
Five games in and none of the title contenders look as impressive as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Over an eight-day span they scored 15 goals in three games, following up a 5-0 win over Liverpool by thrashing Feyenoord 4-0 in the Champions League and then hammering Watford 6-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Guardiola has an embarrassment of attacking riches that will blow away most top-flight clubs. The question is, can his defence hold up when they are faced with sterner tests, such as a trip to Chelsea later this month?
Rooney, Manchester United’s all-time record scorer, returned to Old Trafford on Sunday as an Everton player following his summer switch, and frankly missed the opportunity to show his old club what they were missing.
United claimed a 4-0 triumph but Rooney had two brilliant opportunities to bring the Toffees level before he went off, the second of which he fired straight at David De Gea from close range instead of picking his spot.
Morgan Schneiderlin, offloaded to Everton in January after a disappointing 18 months at United, then handled to give away a late penalty as Everton unravelled, conceding three times from the 83rd minute onwards.
Crystal Palace became the first club in English football’s top-flight history to lose their opening five contests without registering a goal as they went down 1-0 to Southampton.
Midweek hire Roy Hodgson was unable to give Palace an immediate fillip after they moved swiftly on from Frank de Boer and with trips to both Manchester clubs and the visit of champions Chelsea next up, it was not surprising the new boss warned: “I fear it is going to be painful in some of the moments going forward.”
Trips to fellow top-six clubs have proved brutal for Arsenal in recent times. Last season they claimed just one point from those five away games, though none of those results were as worrying as the 4-0 drubbing they suffered at Anfield last month. Credit to Arsene Wenger’s men then for holding Chelsea to a Sunday stalemate at Stamford Bridge.
The Gunners were disciplined and spirited and Wenger must decide if it was purely coincidental that it was a performance delivered without the injured and much-maligned Mesut Ozil.
On Saturday Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho started for the first time since seeing a move to Barcelona fail to materialise over the summer. The Brazilian international was a key figure as ever for the Reds but they could not break down a resolute Burnley side, who claimed a 1-1 draw at Anfield despite Liverpool having 35 shots on their goal.
In that respect, Liverpool dearly missed the suspended Sadio Mane.
With him in their starting line-up, the Reds have won over 60 per cent of their games. Without him, Klopp’s side have won just five of 13, fewer than 40 per cent. The bad news is Mane remains suspended for the next two games too.
*From Press Association Sport
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