Here are four things we learned from the Premier League last weekend:
Hazard has emerged from hibernation
Chelsea produced one of the most dazzling performances in recent Premier League history in their 5-0 demolition of Everton and Eden Hazard was their thrilling inspiration. The Belgian winger scored Chelsea’s opener, cutting in from the left and drilling a shot into the bottom-right corner, and had a hand in the second, third and fifth goals. But the fourth goal, which he scored, was his masterpiece. After nonchalantly flicking a pass to Pedro down the right-hand touchline, he gathered the Spaniard’s adroit back-heel and hared into the box before slamming a low shot past Maarten Stekelenburg. England’s Player of the Year in 2014-15, Hazard spent the majority of last season in a permanent slump as Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea empire crumbled around him. But with seven goals, he has made his best start to a Premier League season and looks back to his scintillating best.
Samba style fuels Reds
When Liverpool were last crowned kings of English football 26 years ago, it was John Barnes and Ian Rush who powered the Reds to the title. In an era when foreign imports were rare, England winger Barnes and Wales forward Rush were the best of British and Liverpool were happy to make the most of their talents. But these days the global game offers more opportunities for overseas talents to thrive in the Premier League and Liverpool has proved a fitting venue for Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino to display their skills. The Brazilian forwards scored one each as Liverpool ripped Watford to shreds in a 6-1 victory that sent them to the top of the table. Coutinho has had a hand in eight goals in his past seven league appearances, with three goals and five assists. Firmino has scored five times and assisted three goals in his past seven league games. If the deadly duo can maintain that blistering form, Liverpool could be celebrating the end of their title drought by May.
Never count Zlatan out
Of all the players at United and perhaps any he has coached Jose Mourinho seems to have a special relationship with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. His forthright defence ahead of the Swansea game of the charismatic Swede’s lack of goals contrasted with the personal criticisms he’s made on the likes of Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan this season. No doubt they will both take a huge amount of satisfaction from the end result as Ibrahimovic ended over 600 minutes of game time without a goal with a brace. Admittedly they came against a Swansea side whose morale is near rock bottom and for whom a change of manager – Bob Bradley in for Francesco Guidolin – has not even seen the traditional bounce. However, United will be delighted Ibrahimovic is back in the goals although peeved that a second-half booking rules him out of a sterner test against Arsenal in a fortnight.
Kane has Arsenal’s number
After scoring just three goals on their previous six outings, Tottenham Hotspur were relieved to be able to recall Harry Kane for the trip to Arsenal after his seven-week lay-off with an ankle ligament problem. The England striker did not disappoint, netting a 51st-minute equaliser from the penalty spot to cancel out Kevin Wimmer’s own goal and earn Spurs a 1-1 draw that preserved the last unbeaten record in the division. Mauricio Pochettino’s team have not scored from open play in six matches, but Kane’s return – at the tip of a 3-4-2-1 formation – gave them a greater cutting edge. He headed narrowly wide from Christian Eriksen’s cross in the first half and might have netted a winner had it not been for a desperate challenge by Nacho Monreal. He now has five goals in four league appearances against Arsenal, further enhancing his status as the darling of White Hart Lane.