Things we’ve learned in the Premier League: offside controversy, problems with Liverpool, Silva brilliant

Thrills abounded in the Premier League weekend games, with United winning the Manchester derby and Arsenal triumphing over City and Tottenham respectively in the north London derby.

Chelsea, Aston Villa, Wolves, Nottingham Forest and Southampton all triumphed, with Brentford and Newcastle also claiming all three points in controversial duels.

Liverpool, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Fulham ended up on the losing side, with the pressure on managers at Leeds, West Ham, Leicester and Everton mounting even after losses over the weekend.

City were furious after a questionable decision for offside, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds were torn apart by the Seagulls and Thiago Silva was brilliant for Graham Potter’s blues at Stamford Bridge.

Under, sports mail‘s Max Mathews sums up what we’ve learned from the last round of Premier League games.

Thrills and spills abounded in the final round of Premier League games this weekend

Thrills and spills abounded in the final round of Premier League games this weekend

Man United won the derby against City; Arsenal defeated Tottenham in the north London derby

Man United won the derby against City; Arsenal defeated Tottenham in the north London derby

Chelsea also beat Crystal Palace - below, Sportsmail summarizes what we've learned from this weekend

Chelsea also beat Crystal Palace – below, sports mail summarizes what we learned this weekend

Offside clarity needed after Rashford debacle

The current offside law (and handball too) is notoriously thorny and vague. Bruno Fernandes’ goal for United against City, which came after Marcus Rashford – who was ruled offside – left the ball for him, should not have counted.

He didn’t touch the ball but clearly influenced the goalkeeper and defenders around him in terms of their position and decision making and United know it – they would have been furious if it had been the other way around.

There is no question whether such goals, i.e. the influence of the game by an offside player without touching the ball, should be allowed in the future.

Whether the referee in the Manchester derby applied the rules to the letter is up for debate. It may have been right. But it wasn’t right.

Tottenham’s dispassionate performance reflected by Conte

Spurs looked uninspired and dismal compared to their oldest and bitterest rivals and it says it well.

Arsenal are managed by Mikel Arteta, who cares deeply about his club, his players and his philosophy, and he wears that passion and zeal on his sleeve. Sometimes, one could argue, he expresses that passion too passionately.

Such allegations could not be made against Antonio Conte. While he’s prone to an outburst, you get the feeling he’s at Tottenham for himself. His own career, his own ambitions, his own trophy cabinet.

Sometimes he seems annoyed to be in the club. In that context, is it any wonder Spurs looked so lifeless on Sunday?

Tottenham's dispassionate performance in front of their own fans mirrors Antonio Conte

Tottenham’s dispassionate performance in front of their own fans mirrors Antonio Conte

Evergreen Thiago Silva keeps Chelsea together

Chelsea’s defense on Sunday against Crystal Palace consisted of a 23-year-old at centre-back at right-back, a 21-year-old on debut and an 18-year-old who has played six games in senior football. Oh, and Thiago Silva.

At 38, the Brazilian veteran was supreme and statesmanlike in defending the Blues, keeping the talented Wilfried Zaha at bay, ordering everyone around him and making countless crucial interceptions and blocks to obliterate threats.

In a rapidly changing and experimental Chelsea team bereft of several injured stars, Silva is the one truly reliable constant for Graham Potter.

Brighton more than the sum of its parts – Liverpool less

Potter’s departure doesn’t appear to have affected Brighton at all and new boss Roberto De Zerbi has them playing superb football. Just look at Brighton’s squad list in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Liverpool.

A goalkeeper they’ve had since he was 15, a £3m midfielder at right-back, a centre-back from their League One days, a teenager on loan, two young Ecuadorians, a midfielder who cost them £7m hat, a winger they snatched from seventh tier Lewes, a player they snagged from their opponents and an 18-year-old Irishman.

You play as a team with skills that are far greater than the sum of their parts. If you look at Liverpool’s line-up, they look less than the sum of theirs.

Mutinous Everton supporters are reaping the bitterness they display in the relegation battle

Mutinous Everton supporters are reaping the bitterness they display in the relegation battle

Mutinous Everton reap bitterness they sow

Watching the shocking video of Everton fans spewing profanity at a 21-year-old Anthony Gordon, who was playing for his hometown club, trying to drive home after a game, it’s hard to imagine how that motivates the players could.

Of course, fans have a right to protest against owners. But the bitter, acrimonious and frankly mutinous atmosphere around Goodison Park can’t help in the relegation battle. Your home stadium is supposed to be your stronghold, your safe place – and right now, that’s where Everton’s dreams are dying.

If one recalls the shameful rush of Toffees fans onto the field against Crystal Palace last season, the fans shoving and shoving players during the game in progress and the taunting of Eagles boss Patrick Vieira as he went to the dressing room, it’s hard not to conclude that they are reaping the bitterness they are sowing.

Brentford are masters of the dark arts

Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil called it “scandalous” and Cherries fans may call it cheating, but Ivan Toney, who pressed defender Marcos Senesi’s arm to his body in the penalty area to make it look like he would held tight was smart.

The Bees know how valuable Premier League points are and will fight tooth and nail to get them, make the best of set pieces, kill time skillfully and generally push the rules to their limits.

They are tough, resilient and clever. Modeled after Thomas Frank.

Ivan Toney, who won a penalty against Bournemouth, pushed the limits of the game

Ivan Toney, who won a penalty against Bournemouth, pushed the limits of the game

West Ham look like a shadow of last season’s side

West Ham’s starting XI after the damaging 1-0 defeat by fellow contenders Wolves, who remained level on points with bottom-placed Southampton, shared seven players from their Europa League semi-final team from last year.

The players are the same and indeed money has been spent to bolster the squad but the performances are a far cry from last season which saw them finish in the last four and across Europe.

Perhaps David Moyes is still paying for this sudden and seemingly inexplicable decline with his job.

Consistency is finally paying off for Forest

Nottingham Forest’s 285 summer signings drew much attention and it was a rod that manager Steve Cooper was hit with as the side struggled and found themselves in the relegation zone. How will they gel, people asked, and it was a fair question.

But owner Evangelos Marinakis stood by the boss through difficult times and is now being rewarded. Cooper knows his best team and sticks to it, and that consistency of selection and system works wonders on his side.

They are not guaranteed to stay up. But they fight for it – finally – with clarity and determination.

And Newcastle's seemingly impregnable defense could put them in the top four

And Newcastle’s seemingly impregnable defense could put them in the top four

Bamford can offer Leeds a clinical advantage

Leeds fans might scoff at the suggestion that the returning Patrick Bamford, who has finally returned from injury, can offer them a clinical advantage. And he could miss a good chance per game. But also Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

His goal against Aston Villa could have been a ‘tap-in’. He hit it anyway. And alongside all of their talented attacking midfielders, a crazed striker, a finisher, could be just what Jesse Marsch needs.

Bamford scored 16 league goals two seasons ago. He still has that talent.

Defending Newcastle could bring them to Europe

It’s far enough into the season to claim that Newcastle have the best defense in the division. Man City defenders are more talented. United and Chelsea’s are more expensive. But Newcastle’s are the best.

The seemingly impregnable quartet of Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman and Dan Burn have conceded once and just 11 goals in their last 10 league games.

Rough, physical, united but also able to function in a team that plays brilliant football. The Magpies’ defense could still lead them to a Champions League finish.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11640129/Premier-League-Things-Learned-Offside-controversy-Liverpool-woes-Silva-brilliant.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Things we’ve learned in the Premier League: offside controversy, problems with Liverpool, Silva brilliant

Maureen Mackey

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