Premier League talking points

 Talking points from the latest round of Premier League games:

  • SAKA IMPRESSING AS ARSENAL MAINTAIN LEAD

Many people thought Gareth Southgate's decision to substitute Bukayo Saka towards the end of England's 2-1 World Cup quarter-final loss was a mistake as he was terrorising France and the young forward has continued where he left off in Qatar.

Saka netted against West Ham United on Boxing Day and was on target again in the win at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday as Arsenal opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the standings.

He already has 10 goals for club and country this season and even at 21 years of age has become Arsenal's key attacking weapon with his ability to both create and take chances.

  • RASHFORD UNSTOPPABLE AS MAN UNITED MARCH ON

Having been put on the naughty step by manager Erik ten Hag after he was late for a team meeting ahead of Manchester United's clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Marcus Rashford was again the inspiration in another key win for his club.

The England forward impressed for his country at the World Cup, scoring three goals despite only starting one match in Qatar, before finding the net in both of his first games for United in all competitions since returning home.

Such form was not enough to earn him a spot in the starting XI at Wolves, but Ten Hag forgave the 25-year-old by halftime, bringing him at the interval, a move that paid dividends as Rashford fired the winner late on.

"Everyone has to meet standards and the rules," Ten Hag said. "I think he gave the right answer."

  • BACK TO SQUARE ONE FOR CHELSEA AS MORE POINTS GO BEGGING

Following a positive start to life as Chelsea manager, things have turned sour very quickly for Graham Potter, after he saw his side drop more points at Nottingham Forest on New Year's Day.

Chelsea started well at the City Ground, with Raheem Sterling firing them into an early lead, but a lack of further goals -- their biggest problem this term -- was again their undoing, as Forest battled back to earn a 1-1 draw.

That is just 20 goals in 16 games for Chelsea this season, 19 fewer than they mustered at the same juncture last term, and one less than Erling Haaland has scored alone for Manchester City in the Premier League.

"For us it's about the next game and trying to improve, we have a long way to go so it would be a mistake to think about what could happen in five months time," Potter said. "We need to be more consistent."

  • MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT HUGO LLORIS

Tottenham Hotspur's goalkeeper was magnificent for France in the World Cup quarter-final defeat of England but the errors that have blighted him returned on Sunday.

Lloris was badly at fault for Aston Villa's first goal in tHe 2-0 defeat, spilling a routine long shot from Douglas Luiz to hand Emiliano Buendia the chance to open the scoring.

It was the third Lloris error that has led directly to a goal this season and while he can pull of incredible saves, the mistakes are beginning to pile up.

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness did not beat about the bush in his analysis of the 36-year-old.

"He is past his sell by date," he said.

  • MOYES UNDER INTENSE PRESSURE

David Moyes was lauded last season for taking West Ham United to the semi-final of the Europa League and challenging at the top end of the Premier League but it has all gone sour with the club now only out of the bottom three on goal difference.

While he reportedly still has the support of the West Ham board, five league defeats in a row has eroded the trust of the fans and he needs a change of fortune fast.

Defeat at Leeds United on Wednesday would raise the volume even further and could force West Ham to act.

 

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