Premier League talking points: United, Liverpool humbled; Leeds aims high

Man United and Liverpool were shell-shocked on Sunday as the clubs received their biggest defeats in recent times while Leeds showed promise of a good season ahead.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool reacts during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool as his suffered its heaviest defeat under Jurgen Klopp.   -  Getty Images

Manchester United didn't see it coming. After taking early lead in the home match against Tottenham Hotspur, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side conceded four and saw Antony Martial sent off by the end of the first half. Two more goals in the second half completed the Red Devils' humiliation as former United boss Jose Mourinho tried hard to hide his smirk in the opposition dugout.

Meanwhile, Premier League champion Liverpool was stunned by a ferocious Aston Villa attack which scored seven and often looked to score more. The two-goal response from the Reds was never going to suffice leaving Jurgen Klopp grim on the sidelines.

Old problem returns to haunt Liverpool

It would be foolish to read too much into one, astonishing, defeat for Liverpool but Sunday's 7-2 hammering at Aston Villa did see, temporarily at least, the return of one old problem for Jurgen Klopp.

With goalkeeper Alisson ruled out, after picking up a shoulder injury in training, Klopp had to turn to Spanish back-up Adrian.

Liverpool's massive defeat meant that it was the first time the reigning English top-flight champions had conceded seven goals in a league match since 1953.   -  Getty Images

The keeper, brought in on a free transfer just before the start of last season, gifted Villa its opening goal and that set the tone for a match in which Liverpool's defence looked far from the standards of last season.

READ | Aston Villa thumps champion Liverpool 7-2 as Watkins completes hat-trick

Adrian has made five errors directly leading to opposition goals in his 21 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions, the same number as Alisson in 92 games for the club.

The club's recruitment in recent years has been justly hailed but it remains baffling why a more reliable back-up to the Brazilian has not been secured.

United's needs are back to front

All through the close-season transfer window, the talk around Manchester United has been focused on its long-running attempt to sign winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

But after Sunday's humiliating 6-1 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, it is the other end of the field that looks more urgently in need of reinforcement.

Harry Maguire of Manchester United looks dejected during the side's drubbing by Spurs at Old Trafford. United is badly in need of a quality central defender and a "box to box" midfield presence.   -  Getty Images

Eric Bailly was chosen ahead of Victor Lindelof as partner for Harry Maguire in the centre of defence and whilst the Ivorian had a poor game, the more worrying aspect was Maguire's shocking performance.

The England defender and United captain is supposed to be the leader and organiser at the back but he looked neither and simply struggled with his own duties.

With full backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw also exposed by Spurs, United's back-line was as weak as the scoreline suggested it to be.

Tottenham Hotspur hands Manchester United 6-1 beating at Old Trafford  

It wasn't helped by the midfield offering little cover and Solskjaer must surely regret playing Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes together, given neither are noted for their ability to work back off the ball and close down spaces.

United is badly in need of a quality central defender and a "box to box" midfield presence.

In many ways, they are the same weaknesses that cost Spurs' victorious manager Jose Mourinho his job at Old Trafford almost two years ago.

Leeds can do great things this season

Having gone toe-to-toe with champion Liverpool on the opening day and now Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in a 1-1 draw at Elland Road on Saturday, big things are expected from an all-action Leeds United this season.

Rodrigo Moreno of Leeds United celebrates with team mates after scoring his side's goal in its 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

City dominated early on, but Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds kept on throwing bodies forward and deservedly equalised in the second half through Rodrigo Moreno, and it did have chances to take all three points too.

Rodrigo earns battling Leeds 1-1 draw against Man City

"That was good, huh?" Guardiola said, before going on to further praise the man he once described as the best coach in the world. And, from what we have seen from Leeds as it has taken seven points from four games, further exhilarating, attack-minded performances are sure to follow.

Burnley needs bodies, fast

With the transfer deadline fast approaching, and with no points on the board after a 3-1 loss at Newcastle United on Saturday, Burnley's need for new signings is bordering on the desperate.

Sean Dyche, manager of Burnley reacts during his side's 3-1 loss to Newcastle United on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

 

"The whole world knows what I want," manager Sean Dyche said after the defeat at St James Park, in reference to how many times he has stated that the club needs to bring in further fresh faces.

A long injury list has not helped matters, but neither has the fact that the 1 million pound ($1.29 million) capture of Dale Stephens representing its only major transfer incoming to date.

Can West Ham make the next step?

Following an impressive 3-0 away rout of Leicester City, West Ham's assistant manager Alan Irvine said it was time the East London club upped its ambitions beyond mere survival.

West Ham shook Leicester City to gain its second win of the season while climbing to the 10th spot on the league table on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

 

Overseeing the win in the absence of boss David Moyes who had contracted the coronavirus, Irvine must have been purring with delight after West Ham dismantled Leicester thanks to lethal finishing on the counter-attack.

  West Ham tames the Foxes, snaps Leicester's winning streak

It would be audacious to expect West Ham to punch above its weight all season and become an established top-four side among a barrage of heavyweights, but the clinical performance at Leicester suggests it is well equipped to make some progress. 

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