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Premier League big six review: Spurs & Arsenal win big, Manchester United slip up

Chelsea 4-2 Watford

The scoreline does not really tell the full story of this game, which was far from comfortable for the champions. There is a defensive vulnerability to Chelsea at present, with Watford able to carve out a number of clear-cut chances in the second half; in truth, the Hornets could have been out of sight after an hour had Richarlison been more clinical inside the penalty area.

The Blues deserve credit for coming from 2-1 down to win 4-2, a turnaround which demonstrates character and resilience. Yet their passivity without the ball and shakiness at the back have proved problematic in recent weeks, with Antonio Conte in need of a solution before it costs his team again.

Huddersfield 2-1 Manchester United

Jose Mourinho was not happy with his players’ performance as United suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season on Saturday. “I don't even remember a friendly match when our attitude was so poor," he said. “We could have a second goal and a draw but it would have been undeserved. [If] I was a Manchester United supporter, I would be really disappointed because you can accept losing because the opponent had more quality, but not because the opponent had more attitude."

Huddersfield did an excellent job of pinching possession in the centre and springing forward on the counter-attack, an approach which led to Aaron Mooy’s opening goal. They also got bodies around the ball quickly to deny United space in and around the penalty area, with the visitors unable to fashion enough scoring opportunities as they tried in vain to get back into the game.

Manchester City 3-0 Burnley

This is the type of game City would expect to win, but it is worth remembering that Burnley were previously unbeaten on the road having faced Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton away from Turf Moor.

Even Sean Dyche’s resilient rearguard could not live with City’s fluid frontline, though. Burnley dug in as well as they could, conceding only a Sergio Aguero penalty until the 73rd minute, but by the end of the game Pep Guardiola’s men had created several clear-cut chances. The speed and accuracy with which they pass the ball makes City so hard to defend against; even at this early stage of the season, it is difficult to see how any team can finish above them this term.

Everton 2-5 Arsenal

Arsene Wenger could hardly have believed his eyes. Taking advantage of a puzzling Everton setup which featured just one natural central midfielder in Idrissa Gueye, the Gunners created a hatful of chances in the opening stages at Goodison Park, only to fall behind when Wayne Rooney curled a shot past Petr Cech in the visitors’ goal.

Arsenal continued to slice through Ronald Koeman’s men with some incisive passing, and they had their reward when Nacho Monreal fired them level shortly before half-time. The excellent Mesut Ozil then edged them ahead after the interval, as Everton – who had Gueye sent off for two yellow cards – petered out as an attacking force. They were woeful defensively too, allowing their opponents a mammoth 21 shots inside the box.

Arsenal used the ball well throughout the encounter, with Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette combining impressively in the final third as the trio started a Premier League match together for the first time. In the end, a 5-2 win did not flatter Wenger’s charges whatsoever.

Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool

Tottenham produced a superb performance to thrash Liverpool 4-1 at Wembley, with Jurgen Klopp’s side now 12 points behind Manchester City at the summit of the standings.

The German cannot be blamed for the individual mistakes made by Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip which led to Spurs’ first three goals, but the manager is certainly accountable for his side’s overall defensive struggles. It remains baffling that Liverpool did not seek an alternative to Virgil van Dijk in the summer transfer market when it became clear that Southampton would not be selling the Dutchman just months after he penned a new contract.

Tottenham were excellent, allowing their opponents to control the ball while maintain a compact defensive shape and springing forward at speed on the counter-attack – an approach that also served them well against Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in the Champions League. Their meeting with Manchester United next Saturday is one to look forward to.

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