It had been easy to forget just how good Ross Barkley can be.
The England midfielder had lost his way with Everton, sliding down the pecking order after a long-term injury.
But having acclimatised following his January move to Chelsea, the 24-year-old is reminding everyone of his talent.
The absence of Eden Hazard was not felt today. Barkley set up Alvaro Morata with a weighted through-ball and finished a counter-attack with an accurate 20-yard shot in Chelsea’s impressive 4-0 win over Burnley.
He has now scored three goals and registered three assists in his last three league games and Blues manager Maurizio Sarri was glowing with his praise.
“He’s improving his physical condition,” he said. “He’s a very good player from a technical point of view and he’s improved the defensive phase. Now I think Ross is complete.”
Arsenal finally undone
For a side who had won 11 games in a row, Arsenal never looked particularly convincing. Their defensive frailties and trend of not performing in the first half finally became their undoing today as Crystal Palace earned a 2-2 draw.
Shkodran Mustafi has frequently looked a liability and it was no surprise to Gunners fans to see the German bring down Cheikhou Kouyate for Luka Milivojevic’s first penalty, which saw them go into the break 1-0 down.
Arsenal responded but were again let down by their defence as stand-in left-back Granit Xhaka felled Wilfried Zaha in the 83rd minute.
If they are to make their mark this season Unai Emery will need to solidify his side’s soft base.
Pogba key for United
While much of the talk in the wake of Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Everton today was of his bizarre 26-step penalty run-up, Paul Pogba had more of an effect elsewhere on the Old Trafford pitch.
United’s French midfielder made the most passes and had the most touches of any player, with the inclusion of summer signing Fred in place of misfiring Romelu Lukaku allowing him to run the show.
His penalty was poor, but he tucked away the rebound and set up Anthony Martial for the crucial goal.
Pogba is United’s most important player. Jose Mourinho needs to keep him happy for the side to prosper.
Jokanovic on thin ice
“We are making expensive mistakes,” said Slavisa Jokanovic on Saturday.
The Fulham manager is beginning to sound like a broken record. His side’s errors brought a fourth consecutive league defeat – this time to Bournemouth – and prompted questions about Jokanovic’s job security.
Callum Wilson’s late strike means Fulham have now conceded 28 goals in their opening 10 matches – a joint Premier League record.
A daunting trip to Manchester City in the EFL Cup is followed by a journey to play bottom side Huddersfield, who have scored just four goals, on 5 November. It has all the makings of a must-win.
Watford not just a flash in the pan
When Watford started their league season with four successive wins, it was hard to tell if they were the real deal or not.
Having stuttered in goalless defeats by Arsenal and Bournemouth, Javi Gracia’s side have now won their last two against Wolves and Huddersfield without conceding.
With former Juventus man Roberto Pereyra dazzling, ex-Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu producing and Will Hughes making good on his early potential, the Hornets look to be proving their top-half status.
Along with Bournemouth they are leading the charge to challenge the traditional Big Six.