Premier League: five things we have learnt this weekend

After a 10-day long international break, the risk is to paint the return of the Premier League with brighter shades than it deserves.

This weekend, however, was a bit special as Arsenal continued their impressive form, Gus Poyet must wonder what he’s got himself into and United’s wobbly form shows no sign of improving.

Here’s five things we have learnt…

1) Giroud is more than a goal poacher

Throughout the summer, as Arsene Wenger’s pursuit of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez ended in failure the lack of an established centre-forward was considered to be one of the Gunners’ biggest issues.

Two months into the season and Olivier Giroud has dismissed the doubts in emphatic fashion. The Frenchman is the latest in a series of Arsenal players to have been regenerated by the arrival of Mesut Ozil.

Against Norwich Giroud displayed the sort of link-up play and movement Arsene Wenger demands from his strikers and has now four assists and four goals from eight Premier League games this season.

“He has highly improved,” said Wenger of the French striker. “Now he enjoys combining much more. From a player who was just thinking ‘I have to score’, he has become a real team player.”

2) Poyet’s impossible job

As Swansea netted their fourth goal of the afternoon, it must have dawned on Gustavo Poyet just how big the task facing him is. The Uruguayan’s first game in charge of Sunderland was one the former Brighton manager will want to forget as quickly as possible.

After a decent first half, Sunderland’s composure and resilience completely vanished as soon as Swansea went ahead, through a Phil Bardsley’s own goal.

That Bardsley, one of the outcasts of the Paolo Di Canio regime, conspired to get the Poyet era off to a horrible start was typical of the sort of dark irony that has coated Sunderland’s season so far.

The Black Cats’ one point from their first eight games is the worst return at this stage of this season in Premier League’s history and next week’s derby against Newcastle could already be a crucial game for Poyet’s men.

3) City have missed Silva

Sergio Aguero might have scored twice at Upton Park as Manchester City picked up their first away win in the Premier League this season, but David Silva was simply sublime for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

The Spaniard was instrumental as City created fistful of chances and confirmed himself as arguably the most important man for Manuel Pellegrini’s side, as Silva’s ability to split defences wide open and glide around opponents were too much to deal with for West Ham.

City missed Silva’s creativity and vision when the former Valencia man, who was hailed by Mark Noble as one of the best players in the league, was out injured but having set up two goals and bagged one himself on Sunday, Silva could give Chelsea’s back four a lot to worry about next week.

4) No home comfort for United

Things aren’t getting any easier for David Moyes at Old Trafford, as on Saturday he saw his men conceded a late equaliser against Southampton.

The Saints were value for money, but that will do very little to placate the growing murmurs of discontent among section of United fans, who blamed the draw on Moyes’ overly cautious substitutions.

The United manager needs time, but a run of just one win in four Premier League matches on home turf could soon be cause for major concerns, particularly as opponents no longer seem scared of traveling to Old Trafford.

5) Pardew doing a good job against the odds.

Alan Pardew might not be everyone’s cup of tea but considering he works alongside Joe Kinnear and Mike Ashley, the Newcastle managers should be spared some of the criticism.

Despite signing only one player – Loic Remy, on loan – during the summer, Pardew has ditched last season’s long ball approach for a more intricate and slick passing game, with Yohan Cabaye’s presence crucial to the Magpies’ gameplay.

The Frenchman had made clear he wanted to leave Tyneside in summer but, having been refused the opportunity to do so by the club, he’s been playing his best football in the last two seasons. 

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