Six key lessons we have learnt in thrilling start to the sea­son

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football -

time since fin­ish­ing run­ners-up to Le­ices­ter. So, it could be a big change. More in­ter­est­ingly, of course, is how the other clubs fare with Le­ices­ter back in con­tention in fourth, and Crys­tal Palace, Burn­ley and West Ham mak­ing up the sixth, seventh and eighth places. The big­ger clubs with their big squads will be ex­pected to come through the pack, but there is an op­por­tu­nity for one, or even two, clubs – and do not rule out Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers – to force their way in. choose Fikayo To­mori for his squad even though the 21-year-old Chelsea defender has made only four Pre­mier League ap­pear­ances be­fore be­ing called up. South­gate’s ap­proach, along with the academies and the Elite Player Per­for­mance Plan com­ing good, has af­fected the league: whether it is Steve Bruce giv­ing 19-year-old Matty Longstaff his match­win­ning de­but for New­cas­tle United, or Sol­sk­jaer plead­ing for time be­cause he is – ap­par­ently – giv­ing youth its head at Old Traf­ford. Then you have en­light­ened coaches such as Gra­ham Pot­ter, who de­vel­oped Daniel James and Oli Mcburnie at Swansea City, and who was so richly re­warded af­ter hand­ing 19-year-old Aaron Con­nolly his op­por­tu­nity for Brighton against Tot­ten­ham at the week­end. and the er­ro­neous ba­sic premise that VAR will try to sup­port the ref­eree. But it is rul­ing out bad calls. The big­gest ar­gu­ment against VAR is that it kills the at­mos­phere for the match-go­ing fan – in favour of those watch­ing on TV – but foot­ball has to de­cide what it wants and it is un­fair to use tech­nol­ogy to scru­ti­nise of­fi­cials if they are de­nied the same tools them­selves.

Pace­set­ters: Liver­pool’s eight-point gap at the top is look­ing omi­nous

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