Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham enjoyed a reduced Premier League schedule due to police pressure ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral as the top three cleared at the top of the table.
City and Arsenal were comfortable 3-0 winners on the road at Wolves and Brentford respectively, while Tottenham’s 6-2 demolition of Leicester left the Foxes still rooted at the foot of the table.
West Ham are also struggling to match the standards they have set in recent seasons as a 1-0 defeat at Everton left the Hammers in the bottom three heading into an international break.
AFP Sports looks back at three talking points from the Premier League weekend:
Arsenal’s title contenders?
Brentford boss Thomas Frank has praised the Gunners as he invited Mikel Arteta’s men to challenge City for the title.
Arsenal haven’t been champions of England for 18 years and have failed to break into the top four for the past six seasons.
However, the arrivals of Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira as well as the return of William Saliba after three loan spells have built on the progress made under Arteta last season.
On a pitch where Arsenal crumbled to a 2-0 loss on the opening night of the campaign last year, Saliba resisted the physical presence of Ivan Toney and even grabbed the opening goal.
Jesus and Vieira were then on target with the visitors so comfortable that Arteta could even debut 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri in the closing stages.
Dethroning a City side now blessed with the firepower of Erling Haaland made it too much in 38 games for Arteta’s men.
The Norwegian took his tally to 14 goals in 10 games for City as the champions claimed victory at Molineux.
But Arsenal’s improvement should make Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United sweat as they face stiff competition to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Son finds his form
Spurs’ performances at the start of the season may not have matched their north London rivals, but they will travel to the Emirates in two weeks just one point after beating Leicester for six.
Son Heung-min had been sent back to the bench after exhausting Antonio Conte’s patience during a slow start to the season.
But last season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner showed his class was permanent as he came off the bench to score a hat-trick as Tottenham went wild in the second half against the helpless Foxes to leave Brendan Rodgers hanging on to his job.
“The team did very well but I was disappointed with my performance,” Son said.
“I’m really happy that the ball is finally in! I’m happy to have been able to help the team, it’s really important and I can go to the national team with renewed energy.
Forest’s bet goes wrong
Nottingham Forest marked their return to the Premier League by breaking the record for summer signings with 22 new arrivals at the City Ground.
But they are paying the price for a lack of continuity as a 3-2 loss to Fulham made it four straight defeats for Steve Cooper’s men.
Cooper even admitted afterwards that it’s hard to foster team spirit with so many new faces.
“I talked to the guys about it. It’s not like we weren’t aware of it and challenged ourselves – how do you become a team?
“Whether it’s our tactical ideas, whether it’s our unity, whether it’s our spirit, whether it’s pushing each other, that comes when you have real trust with each other and trust is built. over time.”
Cooper has transformed the two-time European champions after taking charge a year ago with the club bottom of the Championship.
Yet even the feat of bringing Forest back to the Premier League may not be enough to trigger lucky owner Evangelos Marinakis if the results don’t return soon.