David de Gea had all summer time to stew over his fateful position within the conclusion to final season’s Europa League last.
With Manchester United and Villarreal’s penalty shootout locked at 11-10 after reverse quantity Geronimo Rulli had scored his stress penalty, up stepped the De Gea for a sudden loss of life spot-kick he could not afford to overlook…however miss he did.
De Gea wasn’t even afforded the possibility to take his thoughts off issues with an look for Spain at Euro 2020, as he watched the whole thing of their run to the semi-finals from the sidelines.
Given his long-term future at Previous Trafford has been the topic of hypothesis for a lot of a yr, and the latest emergence of Dean Henderson, the style during which final season ended for De Gea might effectively have spelt the start of the tip of his time in Manchester.
However United’s first 5 video games of the season have dismissed any lingering thought that De Gea’s days are numbered. The Spaniard returned for the brand new season with renewed vigour and function – and is seizing the chance positioned in entrance of him.
All of it culminated in a redemptive last phrase on the London Stadium as Mark Noble’s lengthy sequence of transformed penalties was delivered to an abrupt halt as De Gea saved his first in Premier League since 2014 having conceded his earlier 40.
De Gea’s stoppage-time heroics, and his performances this season, weren’t misplaced on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who instructed Sky Sports activities: “David is a distinct man. He requested to return again early for pre-season, he wished to point out how good he’s and he is been so targeted. He saved two factors for us at the moment.”
Solskjaer has declared De Gea is again. With the in-form Spaniard again to his finest between the sticks, Manchester United might be too.
Roy Keane known as it “males versus boys”, and right here was proof of the work that lies forward for Nuno Espirito Santo, whose honeymoon interval as Tottenham head coach is now formally over.
As Thomas Tuchel took the reward for noticing how issues weren’t working for his facet in the course of the first half on Sunday, his reverse quantity stood immobile as Spurs had been swept apart.
Graeme Souness instructed Sky Sports activities: “We speak about how great Chelsea are however they’re additionally simply doing the fundamentals proper. They’re taking part in like a crew, stopping crosses, getting blocks in and urgent collectively – not individually.
“Spurs did not appear to be a crew. They had been making elementary errors which led to objectives. At this degree, the very best degree, for those who do not do the fundamentals proper you’re going to get punished.”
Tuchel might flip to a World Cup winner in N’Golo Kante however Espirito Santo’s patched-up Tottenham crew had no response. Having gained his first three league video games by slender margins, back-to-back 3-0 defeats have put a really completely different complexion on the beginning he has made.
Of higher concern can be that Tottenham have scored only one purpose from open play of their first 5 league video games. Harry Kane has no league objectives and has tried simply 4 pictures in as many video games, and his physique language was questioned by Keane.
By the tip of their defeat to Chelsea, Spurs had mustered simply 14 touches within the opposition field to their opponent’s 40 with simply two of their eight pictures being on course. Chelsea had 10 on course, all of them coming within the second interval.
Nuno remains to be within the early phases of his profession on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium however, having been dominated in the long run in each division, his August supervisor of the month accolade has turned shortly right into a distant reminiscence.
Having appeared so toothless towards Chelsea, subsequent weekend’s North London derby at Arsenal could be the proper time for Tottenham to rediscover their goalscoring contact.
There was no purpose for Romelu Lukaku. Besides this was a efficiency to point out simply how far he has come as a striker since his tough spell at Manchester United. There may be way more to his recreation than scoring nowadays and Spurs discovered that out on Sunday.
The Belgian was carefully marshalled by Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg for many of the afternoon on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, guaranteeing he had few scoring alternatives himself, however that did not cease him inflicting the hosts issues.
Certainly, his mere presence was sufficient to distract Tottenham’s defenders from the opposite gamers round him and there have been quite a few events over the course of the 90 minutes when he confirmed the selflessness and creativity that’s now typical of him.
Certainly, on one other day, the Belgian may need had a hat-trick of assists. Within the first half, he twice resisted the urge to shoot when others had been higher positioned, solely to observe Kai Havertz after which Mason Mount fail to attach correctly with their pictures.
He was at it once more within the second interval, when he slid a move by to the onrushing Timo Werner on the left-hand facet of the Tottenham field. The substitute had a transparent sight of purpose however couldn’t beat Hugo Lloris.
Lukaku’s objectives have been the main target of his Chelsea return. There have been 4 in 5 appearances up to now. However this was not the primary time he has supplied ammunition for his team-mates too.
The truth is, solely Reece James and Marcos Alonso are creating extra possibilities per 90 minutes amongst Chelsea gamers this season. Lukaku has created as many scoring alternatives in his final 4 Premier League appearances (eight) as he did in his last 18 appearances for Manchester United.
It reveals his evolution as a participant. Throw in his management as effectively – be aware how he provided Werner encouragement moderately than berating him after his miss – and it’s clear that Romelu Lukaku is now a really completely different proposition.
Of all of the challenges dealing with Brendan Rodgers – negotiating accidents to key gamers, addressing his facet’s vulnerability from set-pieces, managing workloads for the likes of Youri Tielemans as his facet competes once more on a number of fronts, essentially the most delicate – and scrutinised – seems to be rejuvenating James Maddison.
Rodgers had each proper to really feel aggrieved at Stuart Attwell’s neglect to make use of the touchline monitor to overview a penalty awarded towards his facet on the Amex. Additionally at Wilfred Ndidi’s disallowed purpose with Harvey Barnes’ infringement doubtful.
However his facet was for too lengthy second-best towards Brighton and the impression of Ademola Lookman within the second half solely highlighted how Maddison, hooked after struggling on the appropriate in a 4-3-3 formation, has misplaced his swagger.
Amid accidents and Arsenal hyperlinks, Maddison has not mustered a shot on the goal in any of his 5 Premier League matches this season and has not recorded a purpose or an help within the high flight since February and so the post-match questions hold coming.
How you can get him again to his finest?
“Time, endurance, help,” Rodgers stated. “Understanding that regardless of how assured somebody is, and the way good a participant they’re, you must take them again to the fundamentals: work your socks off, work even more durable and if you do this, that provides you confidence.
“He is an excellent expertise, he is simply in just a little second the place it isn’t fairly occurring however he will not really feel sorry for himself.”
The problem to get again to fundamentals is one Maddison – at all times refreshingly candid in entrance of the digicam – should grasp himself.
However in Rodgers, he has a supervisor as attuned to the psychological as he’s to the tactical, a mentor who will afford him the situations to step again out of the shadows.
Graham Potter has already been impressed by Marc Cucurella’s linguistic abilities however the Deadline Day signing from Getafe appears to have tailored at pace on the pitch within the Premier League in addition to within the dressing room.
The Barcelona academy product nicknamed ‘The Hair’ for his tight, flowing curls is studying English after his £15m transfer however right here, on this energetic residence debut in Brighton’s incident-packed win over Leicester, there have been loads of indicators of footballing telepathy along with his new team-mates.
Cucurella was influential all through – no Brighton participant had extra touches in Sunday’s recreation, nor made extra correct passes – however notably within the first half the place the hosts dominated as he sparked a sequence of assaults from the left.
There have been a game-high 11 sprints in possession and promising patterns weaved with Leandro Trossard, Adam Lallana and the strikers in entrance of him however the verticality of Cucurella’s play caught the attention in addition to his tempo and penchant for a deal with.
One lengthy ahead ball, after an impudent nutmeg, gave Neal Maupay a high-quality first-half probability and he provided variation, too, a wise scooped ball affording Lallana one other alternative.
“He can play as a left wing-back, a left-back, extensive left,” Potter had stated. “At instances we missed this left-footed steadiness final season, particularly from an offensive perspective. He provides us choices. He is a very clever participant.”
Final season’s marketing campaign of promise carried frequent frustration for the division’s expected-goals darlings and whereas the brand new time period stays in its infancy, Cucurella appears to own the technical and bodily traits so as to add additional impetus to Potter’s progressive facet.
With Tariq Lamptey lastly again within the fold after an agonising sequence of harm setbacks, Brighton supporters ought to have enjoyable watching their facet from each flanks.