October 1, 2018 / 10:54 AM / in 19 days

Five talking points from the Premier League weekend

LONDON (Reuters) - Liverpool’s perfect start to the Premier League season came to an end at Stamford Bridge, although they did pick up a valuable point in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Manchester United lost 3-1 at West Ham United while bottom trio Newcastle United, Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town still remain winless after another defeat for each.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United Training - Aon Training Complex, Manchester, Britain - October 1, 2018 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba during trainng Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Here are talking points from the weekend’s Premier League action:

JOSE TINKERS TO NO AVAIL

Jose Mourinho's future as Manchester United manager is looking perilous his side crashed to a 3-1 defeat by West Ham United on Saturday.

After a week in which United were dumped out of the League Cup by second-tier Derby County and Mourinho demoted Paul Pogba as vice-captain, the Portuguese attempted a shake-up by introducing a new 3-5-2 tactical system at the London Stadium.

However, it backfired as a Felipe Anderson strike along with a Victor Lindelof own goal and a late effort from Marko Arnautovic ensured United's 10 points from seven games is their worst start to a Premier League season.

United also had 10 points at this stage of the 2013-14 campaign but had a superior goal difference, so this year represents their poorest start in the top flight since 1989-1990.

Mourinho's tinkerings meant a first start of the season for midfielder Scott McTominay, playing on the right of a three-man defence, while Anthony Martial played instead of the dropped Alexis Sanchez. On this evidence, more changes may be needed when United take on Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday.

STURRIDGE REMINDER

Only seven games in and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge has equalled his Premier League goal tally from last season - two.

The Englishman's stunning strike at Stamford Bridge on Saturday maintained the Merseyside club's unbeaten start to the campaign at rivals Chelsea in a 1-1 draw.

Sturridge has not had it easy under manager Juergen Klopp, with injuries and the form of forwards Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah keeping him out of the side.

However, the 29-year-old is starting to again look like the player who struck up a fearsome attacking partnership with Luis Suarez and could be key in Liverpool’s title challenge.

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates after the match with Naby Keita Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United Training - Aon Training Complex, Manchester, Britain - October 1, 2018 (L - R) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, Romelu Lukaku, Scott McTominay and Marouane Fellaini during trainng Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

BURNLEY RESURGENT

Burnley look like they have finally shaken off the effects of their European hangover as they recorded back-to-back league wins with a 2-1 victory over Cardiff City on Sunday.

Sam Vokes marked his 100th Premier League appearance with the winning goal as Sean Dyche’s men overcame a spirited Cardiff to continue their climb up the table after a 4-0 win over Bournemouth last weekend.

Burnley surprised many with their seventh-place finish last season which meant they qualified for the Europa League, though they fell at the playoff stage before the main competition.

They may not be in line to repeat that feat this year, but just ensuring a third successive season in the top-flight may be enough to keep the Clarets’ faithful happy.

Burnley's Sam Vokes celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

A NEW SPECIAL ONE

Fans of Wolverhampton Wanderers were chanting "Nuno's the special one" at the end of their side's 2-0 victory over Southampton on Saturday, and it may be hard to against that sentiment given the impact manager Nuno Espirito Santo has had.

The Portuguese coach has overseen his newly-promoted side go unbeaten in their last five league matches, including impressive draws with Manchester City and Manchester United.

With the latter’s Portuguese manager lurching from one crisis to another, it may be right to look at the eighth-placed side’s coach as the new special one.

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo REUTERS/Darren Staples

WAGNER READY TO BE PATIENT

Despite bottom side Huddersfield Town recording just two points from their opening seven games, manager David Wagner appears confident that his players will be rewarded for their efforts.

The Terriers were undone by a Harry Kane double in their 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur at home on Saturday. However, the German was not ready to push the panic button yet in what looks to be a significant battle to stay in the top-flight.

“If you have such an incredible atmosphere in the stadium after a defeat... the players left everything on the grass — without any reward that’s true – but if you perform consistently... the reward will come,” Wagner said.

How long the fans are willing to be patient, however, remains to be seen.

Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Reporting by Christian Radnedge, editing by Ed Osmond

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