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