Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend's action

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores their third goal

Liverpool’s £25m capture of Newcastle’s Georginio Wijnaldum had seemed one of the summer’s more curious moves – a hefty fee and high-profile move for a player who had shone all too fleetingly for a relegated team.

1) Wijnaldum and Mané execute Klopp’s Liverpoool vision

“He can play a few positions for us and players that come through the Dutch system usually have a good tactical understanding and flexibility. That’s really important,” Jürgen Klopp said back in July – and he was vindicated by the efforts of Wijnaldum and his fellow new arrival Sadio Mané in the victory at Arsenal. Klopp expects his players to excel in a range of positions; Wijnaldum, a central midfielder with the pace and creativity to deliver out wide, and Mané, adept as a winger and centre-forward, both fit the bill. Wijnaldum was involved in two goals, popping up on the left of the area to set up Adam Lallana’s strike before Mané appeared on the right to score a memorable solo goal. After a slow start Liverpool clicked into gear at an alarming rate, as their two recruits showed the exact qualities Klopp was looking for. Niall McVeigh

2) Arsenal’s glaring lack of leaders exposed again

Arsène Wenger’s lack of activity in the transfer market has been a huge frustration for Arsenal fans over the past two years, and Liverpool ruthlessly exposed the Gunners’ understrength defence in the 4-3 defeat at the Emirates. But most alarming was the lack of leadership among the men in red as they let a 1-0 lead become a 4-1 deficit in the space of 18 minutes. Such a capitulation is unacceptable for supposed title challengers, whatever the injury situation. Wenger knows it, and yet he has failed to address it. Despite admitting the need for experience in his squad, Granit Xhaka at 23 is the oldest player the manager has signed this summer. Xhaka was left on the bench for the Premier League opener, alongside Santi Cazorla, and there are high hopes the Swiss will add some of the fighting spirit Arsenal often seem to lack. He better make it quick though. Experience? Leadership? Call it what you like. Arsenal’s need now could be greater than ever. Rob Bleaney

Wenger and Klopp reflect on seven-goal Premier League thriller

3) Ibrahimovic’s influence will not just be felt on the pitch

Mid-August and two high-profile fixtures into his latest career move, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already demonstrated just what he can offer Manchester United. A player who can drift in and out of games, going barely noticed in the Community Shield and not even managing a touch in Bournemouth’s penalty area through the first half on Sunday, can now point to a winner at Wembley and a 25-yard skimmer that even coaxed José Mourinho into manic celebration as rewards from a first week of his competitive United career. The Swede retains that stardust. The strut and air of authority will never leave him, with this a player whose timing is rarely off. But Mourinho was more anxious to point to another by-product of his summer move from Paris Saint-Germain as more cause for optimism. “Look, the first thing I can tell you is that, at his table for breakfast and for meals, he is surrounded by the young ones, the kids,” said the Portuguese. “Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford … these are the guys who are with him at the table. He knows what he can be for them. But, for the team, you have to forget the passport, that he is 34 years old. The body and mentality are not those of a 34-year-old guy. He’s at the top of his qualities.”

That bodes well, but Ibrahimovic’s contribution was not the only positive from this success. Throw in, too, the performance of Eric Bailly at centre-half and, if these standards are maintained, then United have secured a bargain even at £30m from Villarreal. “When you buy somebody like him you always have a question mark over how a personality adapts to a completely different situation before,” said Mourinho. “Playing in Spain is different than England. Life at Villarreal is different to life at Manchester United. Playing for a team aiming for fifth or sixth is different to trying to win it. But he’s showing big personality which is incredible. “He was injured against Leicester in the Community Shield and said nothing but played 90 minutes. He couldn’t train this week after that, and trained for the first time yesterday with the team. He’d had the problem all week. He did amazing work with the physio and fitness coaches. He showed his qualities.” Add Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and this transfer window already looks gloriously productive. Dominic Fifield

4) Swansea make light of Williams departure

If the loss of talismanic captain Ashley Williams – not to mention the departures of André Ayew and Bafétimbi Gomis, and the arrival of new owners – was supposed to herald a period of uncertainty for Swansea, signs in a 1-0 opening-day win at Burnley suggested reports of the Welsh club’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. “There have been a lot of changes at the club but, to be honest, it hasn’t really affected me personally,” said the goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. “I think a lot depends on whether the owners are people who want to be involved a lot and that has not happened. I think it’s good that they are taking time to see how things work here, instead of just jumping straight in and saying this is how it should happen. Seeing Ashley go was a bigger change – he has been massive for us a leader and a teacher, and he is a big personality. He is a bIg loss, but we wish him well because he has been great for us. Getting used to him not being here was one of the most difficult parts of the pre-season, and we’re very happy how we responded here.” The new Spanish forward Fernando Llorente looked highly promising and, as Fabianski pointed out, Jordi Amat looked an heir apparent to Williams’ role in the heart of the Swansea back four. Ian Whittell

5) Pardew shows he does not hold a grudge

Maybe it was a sign of how shallow the playing pool is at Crystal Palace but Alan Pardew’s selection of Lee Chung-yong and Jason Puncheon suggested he does not hold a grudge. Lee’s criticism of Pardew’s “short vision” last season, adding that he would be better off talking to other clubs about a transfer, would have ended with most managers discarding the player without a second thought, while Puncheon’s unhappiness after being dropped for the FA Cup final also led to questions over his future. Yet both were in from the beginning against West Bromwich Albion and Pardew was pleased with their performances. “I’ve never written a player off unless they have done an incident that is beyond the pale or the call of duty and neither of those two have done that,” Pardew said. “Of course I will upset players when I don’t pick them.” Alan Smith

6) Janssen shows he can take weight off Kane

Mauricio Pochettino pointed out that his team contested the first half of their draw at Everton as they did the final few games of last season, a sequence which led to them being overhauled by Arsenal to finish third in what had been a two-horse race for the title with Leicester. With five England players in his starting lineup, more would have been expected on Saturday, if only because the quintet left Euro 2016 earlier than expected, although the goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made it to the final with France and paid the price with a hamstring injury in the first half. The Spurs manager has made only two additions to last season’s squad, the midfielder Victor Wanyama and the striker Vincent Janssen, and it was the introduction of the latter that proved to be key, the equaliser arriving soon after the Holland striker came on and, but for a fine, low save by his compatriot Maarten Stekelenburg, the 22-year-old would have had the winner soon after. The £17m signing from AZ Alkmaar looks set to play a big role this season with Harry Kane, who has not had a complete summer break for two years now, needing help. Mark Tallentire

Everton’s Ronald Koeman: Lukaku was not fit enough to face Spurs.

7) Clucas proves value of Hoddle’s tutelage

Had Glenn Hoddle been at Hull to see Mike Phelan’s ersatz side beat Leicester 2-1 on Saturday, he would surely have been very proud of one player. After being discarded by Lincoln City, Sam Clucas’s career was rescued by Hoddle when he joined the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain and turned out for Jerez Industrial. The idea behind the former England coach’s academy is to identify slow-burning talent in peril of slipping out of the game and, suitably restored by his patronage, Clucas returned to England to join Hereford United. In a consequent upward trajectory the predominantly left-sided midfielder – although he shone in an unfamiliar central anchoring role on Saturday – has moved on to Mansfield, Chesterfield and Hull, playing in the Conference, League Two, League One, the Championship and Premier League in successive seasons. Watching Clucas dictate vast chunks of the game as Leicester were never allowed to indulge in their hallmark counterattacks, his technical ability, varied passing range and sheer football intelligence shone through. Hats off to Hoddle. Louise Taylor

8) Sunderland would do well to keep hold of Koné

Lamine Koné impressed in Sunderland’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on Saturday. The 27-year-old had handed in a transfer request on the back of Everton’s interest. While David Moyes claimed the player subsequently distanced himself from this, the manager was clear there would be no truck with Koné. “I’ve dealt with one or two of them before at my previous clubs,” the Scot said. “I’m quite relaxed about it. As I’ve said, we received an offer from Everton, but also we said we would give him a contract on 1 September. We just feel that I’ve been in the job three weeks and we’re trying to add players to the club, the player has got a four-year contract and has been here only six months. “I don’t think it would be outrageous to ask him to wait another couple of weeks just to the end of the window so that we can try and concentrate on what we are doing just now. I’ve had a private conversation with Bill Kenwright [Everton chairman] and they are private conversations. But the boy is very happy.” There are two weeks remaining of the window, though, so it may be wisest to file the Koné situation under “wait and see”. Jamie Jackson

9) How important will Negredo be for Boro?

Aitor Karanka has made numerous signings to strengthen his squad in preparation for a tough year in the Premier League but the season-long loan of Álvaro Negredo from Valencia could be the most important. Negredo scored 11 minutes into his debut against Stoke City, being in the right place at the right time to bundle the ball in after an excellent assist from the impressive Gastón Ramírez. The forward was not exactly in electric form for Middlesbrough, as they began their season with a 1-1 draw, but demonstrated impressive positional instinct. Karanka spoke afterwards about the importance of Negredo – “the beast” formerly of Manchester City – beginning the campaign well to boost his confidence. He did just that and, if he can find similar form to that when he played at City, Boro will be delighted. James Riach

10) Saints need more bodies marching in

Claude Puel professed himself disappointed not to take three points from this opening-day draw but the truth was that Watford were the better side in a battle between two new managers. In particular Puel’s new-look diamond midfield struggled to get to grips with Walter Mazzarri’s muscular three, and an uncomfortable looking James Ward-Prowse was withdrawn after only nine minutes of the second half. His replacement, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, signed from Bayern Munich, showed off a classy range of passing but, alongside the goalscorer Nathan Redmond and full-back Jérémy Pied (a late substitute here), he is the extent of Southampton’s summer recruitment to date. Saints need numbers and experience, but a new striker and strong central midfielder are a must by the looks of this weekend. Paul MacInnes

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Monday 15th August 2016 08.12 Europe/London

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