Premier League weekend: Five talking points

Sports Mole picks out five of the biggest talking points to come from the opening weekend of Premier League action.

A 3-1 victory for Chelsea away at newly-promoted Burnley last night concluded the opening weekend of Premier League action.

It was a round of fixtures that had promised much entertainment and by and large, they didn't disappoint.

Here, Sports Mole has looked back over the 10 encounters to pick out five of the major talking points.


1. Fabregas shines on Premier League return

Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea controls the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on August 18, 2014© Getty Images

While publicly admitting a mistake may not be Louis van Gaal's style, his reported decision not to pursue Cesc Fabregas looks even more confusing following the Spaniard's debut for Chelsea. He played a key role in all three of Chelsea's goals at Turf Moor - a contribution that included one of the best assists that is likely to be produced this term.

In short, the former Arsenal skipper produced the type of performance that has been badly lacking from Manchester United's midfield for a number of years. Their loss is Chelsea's gain, though, and while many have waxed lyrical over their signing of Diego Costa, it could well be Fabregas that proves himself to be the most crucial addition when the major prizes are handed out.


2. New manager, same United

Manchester United Manager Louis van Gaal takes his seat prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on August 16, 2014© Getty Images

There was an air of expectation around Old Trafford ahead of Swansea's visit, with United having gone the whole of pre-season unbeaten under the guidance of new boss Van Gaal. Yet, by the time that the final whistle was blown, United's negative form in front of their own supporters from last term had spilled over into this campaign.

The answer appears to be simple - United need new players, and quickly. Two defenders, a central midfielder and even an attacker with pace are what is needed to return the Red Devils to the force that they once were, particularly if Van Gaal is to persist with the 3-5-2 formation.


3. Ugly wins for title challengers

Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal celebrates his goal with team mate Mikel Arteta during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on August 16, 2014© Getty Images

Chelsea, with Costa and Fabregas at the forefront, may have shone, particularly during the opening 45 minutes at Burnley, but the same cannot be said of their title rivals. Nevertheless, there ware narrow wins for Arsenal and Liverpool, while champions Manchester City won through at Newcastle United.

It means that the trio have importantly not lost any early ground on Jose Mourinho's men, with plenty of scope for improvement as well.


4. Work to be done at QPR

James Chester #5 of Hull City is congratulated by teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Hull City at Loftus Road on August 16, 2014© Getty Images

Harry Redknapp has stressed that there will be no repeat of the shambles that ruined QPR's chances of surviving in the Premier League during the 2012-13 campaign. Big fees and wages were spent on recruiting the likes of Djibril Cisse and Christopher Samba, but relegation was inevitable, financially crippling the club in the process.

Now they are back, but after some initial optimism, gloom has descended again following Hull City's win at Loftus Road. New players are needed and Redknapp has moved swiftly, with both Leroy Fer and Eduardo Vargas expected to sign on the dotted line shortly. If they can produce the goods, it could be just the tonic that the R's need to survive.


5. Lucks out for Allardyce

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham and Southampton at Boleyn Ground on February 22, 2014© Getty Images

Sam Allardyce looks a man on the brink right now. He was hardly a popular manager among the West Ham faithful before the season got underway and the mood will not have improved as rivals Tottenham Hotspur left Upton Park with all three points thanks to a late goal.

To make matters worse, the Hammers played against 10 men for over an hour and also missed a penalty, as well as creating a handful of other positive openings. Regardless of the quality of the performance, a couple more results like this one and Allardyce could be asked to clear his desk.


Liverpool's English midfielder Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, northwest England, on August 17, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
3Chelsea24155445162950
4Liverpool23138254282647
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal24126645311442
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
8Burnley249781921-234
9Everton2477102639-1328
10Watford2475123344-1126
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
12Bournemouth2467112536-1125
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
18Southampton2349102334-1121
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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