The Premier League delivered plenty of action on Saturday, with teams producing 29 goals between them in eight games. No games were scoreless, only one had just one goal, and only one more had just two. A lot of the goals were outstanding too, but we'd like to talk about one in particular: Raheem Sterling's.
Manchester United 4-1 Leicester City
AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Everton
Liverpool 5-1 Hull City
Middlesbrough 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Sunderland 2-3 Crystal Palace
Swansea City 1-3 Manchester City
Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea
Raheem Sterling is so much fun right now
Many suspected that the arrival of Pep Guardiola would spark the revival of Raheem Sterling. Many were right. He's in outrageous form, and this goal is his best moment of the season so far.
Poor Kyle Naughton. He's your standard, respectable lower table Premier League/promotion challenging Championship defender, and he didn't deserve this. But henceforth, he will be known as "26 in white" as he's immortalized on YouTube mixtapes with bad electronic dance music.
This shake-and-bake is so rude, but it would be inaccurate to call it unnecessary. It is extremely necessary for Sterling, who lost his confidence as he was ridiculed for not being loyal to a team that was extremely ready to turn on him when he stopped being a good little employee and then struggled to settle in at a new club, to show off. He has to make it abundantly clear that he is, indeed, England's best prospect in a generation, well worth his £44 million transfer fee and £180,000 per week wages.
He's justifying it. He's been one of the best attacking players in the Premier League this season. And it's a blast to watch him finally reach his potential.
Uhh, Everton? Wyd?
Hey so remember when Everton was playing great soccer and everyone was showering praise on Ronald Koeman? Well, here was Everton blog Royal Blue Mersey's response to their team's poor performance in a 1-0 loss to Bournemouth.
As I say, worst thing is Bournemouth haven't even been superb we've just submitted.— Royal Blue Mersey (@RBMersey) September 24, 2016
I don't mind a defeat wherein you're outplayed but we've just handed them this win.— Royal Blue Mersey (@RBMersey) September 24, 2016
After today, there's no justification for Barkley being in the team next week.— Royal Blue Mersey (@RBMersey) September 24, 2016
Any team with even the minimal ounce of ambition should not lose to Bournemouth.— Royal Blue Mersey (@RBMersey) September 24, 2016
Yikes. It sounds like it was a deserved reaction, too -- the Toffees created no great scoring chances of note.
Paul Pogba, welcome to stardom
Hey look, the world's most expensive footballer has a goal.
This finish wasn't even the best thing about Pogba's day. The Frenchman thrived in the center with Wayne Rooney out of the lineup, leading United in touches and making way more forward passes than usual. He's a much better fit in a lineup with Juan Mata at the No. 10 than he is with Rooney in the same position. If Jose Mourinho sticks with the lineup that thrashed Leicester, Pogba should be able to live up to his price tag.
The Son-Janssen connection replaces Harry Kane just fine
Earlier in the week, Tottenham Hotspur blog Cartilage Free Captain asked how Spurs might use Son Heung-Min in the absence of Kane, their leading scorer from last season. On the evidence of Saturday's match against Middlesbrough, his role might not change much, but his interaction with the striker in front of him could.
While Kane is good at linking up with the attacking midfielders around him, he does it by dropping deep to find the ball, then looking to get into a scoring position more often than not. His replacement, Vincent Janssen, played as a pure back-to-goal target man against Boro, acting as a fairly stationary focal point, but an effective one. He had the pass to Son on both of the Korean's goals, and they came off the same kind of post-up move.
Spurs' attack might be different with Janssen in for Kane, but that doesn't mean it's definitely going to be worse.
Crystal Palace up to 7th with comeback win
Hey, let's celebrate Palace! They had a tough campaign last time around, throwing away a good first half of the season in a bid to fall improbably from the top half to relegation places. They stayed up, though, then retooled over the summer, and their new signings are doing work. Andros Townsend and James Tomkins look like intelligent pickups, while club-record signing Christian Benteke had the game-winning goal in stoppage time against Sunderland this week.
Sunderland, meanwhile, are in the midst of their yearly crisis. They've inexplicably avoided relegation continuously over the last decade despite almost always spending a significant amount of time in the drop zone. Following Saturday's collapse from 2-0 up, David Moyes appears to have a very difficult job on his hands.
Check out this stunner by Philippe Coutinho
Hull picked up a red card early in the first half of their game against Liverpool, rendering it utterly pointless for analyzing either team. So, absent context or gravitas, enjoy this badass goal.
Hector Bellerin is really good
The big story of Chelsea vs. Arsenal was probably the horrible play of Gary Cahill, which we won't talk about, except for in this sentence. Instead, let's talk about Hector Bellerin, whom we spotlighted in our recap of the game.
Always blessed with explosive speed, Bellerín is starting to learn how to use it more effectively, choosing routes and angles that are as beneficial as possible instead of just running down the pitch really fast. That particular trait was on display when he blazed past Pedro to snuff out a dangerous counter with ease late in the match against Chelsea -- but Bellerín's improvements are about more than just that.
Hey, Solomon Rondon is good!
Stoke and West Brom are bad teams, and they're not fun to watch, but Solomon Rondon is a very good player. He snatched a point for the Baggies with his goal on Saturday.