Premier League Review: Five things we learnt from Gameweek 6

1)’Hat-trick Bamford’ an unlikely Golden Boot runner

When Leeds United confirmed their place back in the Premier League, pundits were quick to jump on Patrick Bamford claiming he would struggle to score in the top flight. After six games, those words have been rammed down the throats of his non-believers with a total of six goals. Marcelo Bielsa has shown great faith in Bamford and the striker is repaying his boss in style.

Only Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Heung-Min Son have scored more than the 27-year-old. Bamford has scored the same number of goals as Burnley and Sheffield United have combined in their first 10 games after the Leeds striker bagged his first hat-trick since March 2018 when he scored three times for Middlesbrough against Leeds.

Leeds were tipped to be the most successful of the three promoted sides, but few would have expected them to have 10 points from their opening six matches. Marcelo Bielsa’s side are 5/15.8 to finish in the top six at the end of their first season back in the top flight.

As for Bamford, he was 76.0 to score three times at Aston Villa on Friday and he is now 25/126.0 to be Top Goalscorer, having been matched at 349/1350.0. That might sound like a daft bet, but so did Leicester to win the 2015/16 Premier League and we all know how that turned out. Bamford will be looking to add to his impressive tally of goals when they host the Foxes at Elland Road next Monday.

2) Six games done and Fulham are bang in trouble

One point from Fulham’s first six games is not the start the club would have imagined and climbing off the bottom of the table will not be easy for manager Scott Parker. One of the reasons why they were relegated two seasons ago was the fact their squad was too big and not being able to find their best starting XI was an issue.

History is in danger of repeating itself at Craven Cottage this season. Supporters of teams struggling at the wrong end of the table often look for hope elsewhere trying to identify three teams that are worse than them, but even the most devoted Fulham fan will struggle to do that and they are now just 1/31.32 to return to the Championship.

Saturday’s home game with Crystal Palace was a game Parker and co would have targeted for a win, but they were beaten 2-1. Not even a late consolation goal from Tom Cairney would have lifted the team’s spirits as they now turn their attention to West Brom in another must-win game at Craven Cottage next Monday.

Neither Fulham or the Baggies can afford to lose that game as the pressure builds on both managers who top the market to be the next to leave their post. Parker is 9/4 to be the first Premier League manager to clear out their desks while Slaven Bilic is second at 11/4.

3) Business as usual for champions without VVD

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Anyone who thought the loss of key defender Virgil Van Dijk would weaken Liverpool’s title defence may have been given pause for thought as they came from 1-0 down to beat Sheffield United at Anfield on Saturday evening (the Reds to win from behind was a 13/2 shot pre-match).

The three points moved Jurgen Klopp’s side to second in table, level on 13 points with leaders Everton who saw their 100% start to the season come to an end after losing 2-0 at Southampton.

Fabinho vacated his midfield role to deputise for Van Dijk in Liverpool’s defence and after conceding a penalty in the 13th minute which gave the Blades an early lead, the Brazilian reassured Reds supporters that while Van Dijk will be missed, the Dutchman’s absence should not derail their hopes for the season.

At the other end of the pitch, recent signing Diogo Jota seems to have settled into life at Anfield very well with two league goals including Saturday’s winner. The Reds might have to accept the fact that they are going to concede goals this season, but they have a strikeforce that should produce enough goals to make them good value for a second successive title at 15/82.9.

For those who still think Van Dijk’s injury will have a much bigger effect, the 5/81.64 lay on a top 2 finish may be an attractive proposition.

4) Solskjaer needs to find a winning formula for a top four finish

It might be a new season, but consistency remains an issue for Manchester United. It seems every week the pressure builds on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before he manages to buy more time with a stunning win like last week’s 2-1 win at Paris St-Germain in the Champions League. A goalless draw at home to Chelsea is not cause for concern in itself, but a return of seven points from their opening five Premier League games is.

New signing Edinson Cavani almost marked his United debut with a goal with his first touch, and Solskjaer will hope Cavani can get amongst the goals sooner rather than later. If not, then the heat on the manager will increase.

Solskjaer needs wins quickly if his side are to climb up the table and his character and the character of the team will be tested in a home game with Arsenal and a trip to Everton next up for the Red Devils.

Defeat in both those games could nudge Solskjaer closer to the exit door at Old Trafford. The Norwegian has been near the top of the next manager to leave his post market for some time and he is currently 11/2 to be replaced.

Right now United do not look like a side capable of finishing in the top four – they are 7/42.74 to make it – and some may be interested in laying them at odds-on for a top 5 finish.

5) Southampton rewarded for sticking with Hasenhuttl

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What a difference a year makes. On October 25, 2019, Southampton were embarrassed 9-0 at home by Leicester. On the same day, 12 months later, the Saints beat Everton 2-0 to finish the weekend sixth in the Premier League table.

The South Coast outfit dropped to 17th after that hammering by Leicester and the future of manager Ralph Hasenhuttl dominated plenty of column inches in newspapers and was a well-discussed topic on phone-in shows on national radio stations. It would have been easy for Southampton to sack the Austrian, but they bravely decided to stick with him and their decision has paid off.

Hasenhuttl is getting the best out of his squad of players, none more so than striker Danny Ings whose 22 goals helped the Saints finish last season in 11th place. This is Southampton’s best start to a season in six years when they went on to finished seventh, two points shy of sixth place.

Keeping their place in the top six this time around will be difficult, but on their day, this Southampton can beat any team. They were the first team to beat Everton this season and they beat Manchester City 1-0 in the back end of last season.

Managers often say the league table doesn’t take shape until the tenth game or so, but right now things are looking good for the south coast side who are 9/1 to land a top six spot.

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