Premier League takeaways: Man United misery, happy Havertz, Villa enjoy home comforts

We pick out the main talking points from the weekend's action

Powered by automated translation

Man United hit record new low

One step forward then two steps back for Manchester United over the past seven days. Last week, Erik ten Hag's side ended a run of two defeats on the spin by battling to a 1-0 victory at winless Burnley.

It was the same scoreline on Saturday, only they fell to a home defeat against Crystal Palace. It was United's third defeat in seven games, the first time they have started so badly since 1989/90 and represents their worst start to a Premier League campaign.

The fact it came against a team they defeated 3-0 in the League Cup on Tuesday only added to frustrations and United are now 10th in the table, nine points behind leaders Manchester City.

“I can give you reasons but you will explain it as an excuse and there are no excuses, we have to win,” said Ten Hag after his team were booed off the pitch by home fans.

“We have to do better [at Old Trafford]. We have to show it in our body language that Old Trafford is a fortress and you can't get anything here.”

Next up for United? Two home games against Galatasaray and Brentford where how much of fortress the Theatre of Dreams is at the moment will be firmly put to the test.

Villa enjoying home comforts

While United are struggling to make their home ground a place to fear, the same cannot be said for Unai Emery's Aston Villa

Battling with champions Manchester City's loss at Wolves for most eyebrow raising of the weekend, Villa's 6-1 demolition of Brighton saw Ollie Watkins score his second hat-trick of the season – in front of England manager Gareth Southgate.

It was Villa's 10th home league win in a row – their best run since 13 victories on the spin 40 years ago – and came against the high-flying Seagulls who had already beaten two of last season's top-four finishers Newcastle and Manchester United this season, scoring more goals than anyone else (18) along the way.

Roberto de Zerbi's side, though, were ripped apart in ruthless fashion as they conceded six goals in a top-flight game for the first time.

“I’m very happy,” said Emery after a match which saw his team rise to fifth in the table. “We feel a very good connection with our supporters every match – today we showed it.

“Of course, when you’re winning matches in a row you feel confidence, but you still have to win again and again. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

But heavy defeats away to Newcastle and Liverpool this season show that Villa still have work to do on their travels before they can become serious top-four contenders.

Liverpool hit by VAR shambles

Another week, another VAR debacle – but the one at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday was a special kind of shambles.

With the game against Spurs still goalless, Liverpool's Luis Diaz was denied the opening goal after VAR officials somehow ruled the Colombian offside after an unusually quick review by video assistant referee Darren England. Still images of the incident showed Cristian Romero played Diaz onside.

In a statement released after the game, refereeing body PGMOL admitted that “a significant human error occurred”, and that they “will conduct a full review”. England was also dropped as the fourth official for Sunday's game between Nottingham Forest and Brentford.

Little consolation for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, whose team lost 2-1 courtesy a last-gasp Joel Matip own-goal after having Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota also sent-off in questionable circumstances.

“They didn't do it on purpose, I know that, but mistakes still happen,” said Klopp. “If we want to talk about it do it properly and not with creating headlines with emotional managers.”

“It's all a bit strange, I don't know who was in the VAR room and making that decision,” added Reds captain Virgil van Dijk. “It's not a good thing.”

Happy Havertz finally up and running

It would not be a stretch to say that Kai Havertz has not hit the ground running since moving across London from Chelsea to Arsenal in the summer.

Many observers felt his talents had been wasted at Chelsea, with owners, managers and players all changing at a dizzying rate during his three years at Stamford Bridge.

The stability of Mikel Arteta at the Emirates would surely be a good thing for a player who cost Chelsea a club-record £72 million and then Arsenal £65 million?

But the 24-year-old German forward has endured a tough old start for the Gunners and until he slotted a penalty into the bottom corner in their 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth on Saturday, had yet to register a goal or assist in nine games.

The decision to hand Havertz the penalty responsibility was made on-field and the goal was met with jubilant celebrations. “It was emotional, for the fans, for Kai, for everyone involved, because we want him to succeed so much,” said teammate Declan Rice.

“It shows the people we have in that dressing room – what they did for Kai, it was a really moving moment,” manager Arteta added.

Luton finally win a game

There were also jubilant scenes at Goodison Park on Saturday – unless, of course, you were an Everton fan – as Luton Town became the first of the three promoted clubs to register a win this season.

After taking one point from five matches, the Hatters secured a 2-1 victory against Everton courtesy of Tom Lockyer and Carlton Morris, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring with what turned out to be a consolation for the home side.

“I'm very proud of everyone and delighted for the football club. It's off our backs now,” said Luton manager Rob Edwards.

The same cannot be said of fellow new arrivals Sheffield United and Burnley who still await their first three points after both lost 2-0 – at West Ham and Newcastle, respectively.

Updated: October 02, 2023, 2:40 AM