The Premier League season is five matches in. Four teams are still searching for their first wins of the campaign, while three remain unbeaten, with two of them boasting a 100% record.
It might be barely a month into the campaign, but patterns are already clear. The big boys are pretty much where we expected, and we are already getting a clear idea of how 2018/19 will go for the majority of clubs.
The weekend after an international break can bring some strange football. Here are five things we learned…
Fraser Leads Another Bournemouth Win
Ryan Fraser’s two goals on Saturday set Bournemouth up for third victory of the campaign. The diminutive Scot caused Leicester problems all afternoon, taking his goal tally to three for the season. He scored five league goals in the whole of 2017/18.
Eddie Howe’s side have started excellently, and their eight-point cushion to the bottom three could be invaluable later in the year when form is not so stellar.
Fraser, who is still only 24, has played a big role in their strong start. His smart movement and quick feet could catch the eye of a top six club before long.
Pellegrini Finally Gets Hammers Formula Right
After four defeats in four, it was beginning to look like Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham spell could go the way of Frank de Boer’s Crystal Palace tenure. Victory at Everton – and a very good performance – has at least knocked that can down the road.
The chaos in midfield was calmed by a switch to 4-3-3, which provided service for Andriy Yarmolenko, Marko Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson, who were all excellent.
With Jack Wilshere absent for at least six weeks, Pellegrini might have stumbled on a formula to get the best out of his special triumvirate.
Eden Hazard Does It Again
Cardiff took the lead at Stamford Bridge and it looked like they might just have a chance of a massive upset.
Eden Hazard, though, had other ideas, bagging his second Premier League hat-trick and putting himself on top of the goal scoring charts. The Belgian has been unstoppable this season.
His partnership with the ever-underrated Olivier Giroud is special, and, as Maurizio Sarri said himself, this could be the year he finally gets the goals that his talent deserves.
A Tale Of Woe For Pochettino
It all looked so rosy for Spurs after three wins to start the campaign. Defeat to Watford before the break could have just been a blip, but a dismal performance at home to Liverpool suggests it might have been something more severe.
The midfield was feeble, and Harry Kane continues to look a shadow of himself. It’s not quite crisis time for Tottenham, but Mauricio Pochettino has to address some of the issues.
With each disappointing result, the failure to add a single player in the transfer window looks a greater mistake.
Brighton Turn It Around At Saints
Mark Hughes’ sides have a knack for blowing leads. It was a long-running issue at Stoke, and it has been since he took over at Southampton. Leading two-nil at home to Brighton, Southampton should have been in a comfortable position.
Comeback complete ✔️— 888sport (@888sport) September 17, 2018
Glenn Murray makes it five goals in six league starts for Brighton against Southampton ⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/tR6OLXQ2Vy
It was far from it. Opposing teams are fully aware of Southampton’s tendency to crumble. Brighton, as we saw last season, do not lose belief.
Chris Hughton’s side were a different team in the second half and, thanks to a coolly taken Glenn Murray penalty, pulled it back to draw 2-2. Saints cannot afford to drop points from a position like that. It looks set to be another year in the bottom six for Hughes’ men.