Three talking points from the Premier League weekend

AFP , Sunday 30 Oct 2022

Liverpool
Liverpool s Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez looks on after the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 29, 2022. AFP

Arsenal and Manchester City remain out in front, but the Premier League title race is far from a two-horse race after a weekend in which all of the top five won.

Liverpool's latest embarrassing defeat, 2-1 at home to Leeds, leaves the Reds with an eight-point gap to bridge to the top four.

Chelsea were the other big losers on Saturday as Graham Potter was thrashed 4-1 on his return to Brighton.

AFP Sport looks at three talking points from the Premier League weekend:

No more home comfort for Liverpool

Despite Liverpool's struggles this season a proud record of not having been beaten at home in the Premier League in front of fans for over five years had stayed intact until Leeds' win on Saturday.

The visitors arrived at Anfield with manager Jesse Marsch clinging to his job after an eight-game winless run saw them fall into relegation danger.

Leeds' determination to fight for their boss was clear as they ran 11 kilometres more than their hosts.

But a shocking defeat encapsulated the flaws of Liverpool's season so far.

Leeds were gifted the opening goal by an individual error from Joe Gomez and kept in the game by wasteful finishing from Darwin Nunez.

But Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was most annoyed by the slack defending that allowed Crysencio Summerville to fire in an 89th-minute winner unchallenged.

Klopp again pointed to injuries and a heavy fixture schedule for such a sluggish start to the season.

The Reds are also clearly suffering a physical hangover from a 63-game campaign last season when they came so close to an unprecedented quadruple.

Currently they are a shadow of the team they once were and desperately need to limit the damage over the next two weeks to limp towards a much-needed break for the World Cup.

Already 14 points behind Arsenal, the title looks long gone but even a return to the Champions League via a top-four finish is becoming unlikely.

Mini Martinez a colossus for Man Utd

Lisandro Martinez's suitability as a Premier League centre-back at just 1.75 metres (5ft 9in) tall was ridiculed amidst Manchester United's disastrous start to the season.

But the Argentine has proved the doubters wrong, with his speed, aggression and poise on the ball more than making up for a lack of height.

Martinez's partnership with Raphael Varane has provided a solid foundation for Erik ten Hag to build on, but even without the injured Frenchman, the former Ajax man stood firm to withstand a second-half West Ham onslaught to secure a 1-0 win on Sunday.

United have now kept five consecutive clean sheets at Old Trafford, just one fewer than they managed in the entirety of last season.

No mercy for Potter

Brighton's fans and players refused to roll out of the red carpet for Graham Potter's return to the Amex Stadium.

The Chelsea boss was subjected to boos and chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning" by the home support, who remain upset at his decision to jump ship to Stamford Bridge last month.

"I've got nothing to say sorry for, I think I did a good job at the club and I think I left it in a good place as you can see today," said Potter.

Of more pressing concern for Potter is getting the Blues' Premier League campaign back on track.

His first defeat as Chelsea manager had been coming after being outplayed by Brentford and Manchester United in draws before the trip to Brighton.

Victories for Tottenham, Newcastle and United mean Chelsea slip to sixth, three points adrift of the top four, and 10 behind Arsenal, who they face next weekend.

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