ith another long international break now in the rearview mirror, there was no shortage of drama this weekend as club football returned in all its glory.
Here, Standard Sport’s team of football writers offer up 10 major talking points to ponder following the latest action…
Rodon set for Spurs test
The Wales international, 23, was the best defender in the Championship but is untested in the Premier League since a summer move from Swansea. If Rodon plays and holds his own against Chelsea’s star-studded front line, it would be a major boost for Spurs, who also face Arsenal, Liverpool, Leicester and Wolves before January. Dan Kilpatrick
Rooney off to losing start in Derby hot seat
There was no dream start to life as a manager for Wayne Rooney at Derby. The 35-year-old was head and shoulders above everyone else on the field at Ashton Gate on Saturday but, alongside co-caretaker boss Liam Rosenior, could not stop the Rams losing 1-0 to Bristol City.
With Rooney on the pitch, Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker were calling the shots on the sidelines and in the second half they passed the former England international a note detailing a change in formation as they chased an equaliser. It was not to be and Derby remain rooted to the bottom of the Championship. Jack Rosser
Saka injury worry for Arsenal
After Bukayo Saka featured throughout England’s triple-header and played a total of 232 minutes in those matches, Arsenal would have feared the teenager feeling the effect of his exertions during the international break.
Mikel Arteta started Saka on the bench against Leeds in a bid to try to protect him but, after he came on just short of the hour mark, he pulled up on 87 minutes at Elland Road and Arsenal now face a nervous wait to discover the extent of the injury to a player who has enjoyed a brilliant start to the season.
“It looked pretty bad and he was in pain, so we decided to take him out straight away,” said Arteta. Simon Collings
West Ham join the pack in European picture
With all the challenges facing the established top sides, this season presents a good chance for others to disrupt the status quo in the Premier League.
“I am not getting carried away,” said Moyes. “But I am certainly not looking down. I am looking up and I want to catch the teams higher up.” Jack Rosser
It was another miserable weekend for Barcelona. A 1-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid on Saturday leaves Ronald Koeman’s sorry side 12th in La Liga and 12 points off leaders Real Sociedad.
A mistake from Marc-Andre ter Stegen gifted Yannick Carrasco the only goal at the Wanda Metropolitano and there was more bad news for Barca when Gerard Pique suffered a knee injury that could keep him out for four months.
Lionel Messi looked like a player feeling the effects of a 15-hour flight back from South America on Thursday and speculation is growing that he will join Manchester City. Jack Rosser
Lampard changes the narrative
Missed chances underline Millwall challenge
Millwall boss Gary Rowett believes the big chances his side missed in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Cardiff sums up the challenge they face to reach the Championship play-offs. The Lions wasted two great opportunities in the second half as they were held to a third successive draw.
A frustrated Rowett said “moments of quality” are what is separating Millwall from the sides above them – but the return from injury of Tottenham loanee Troy Parrott should help. Parrott made his first Championship appearance of the season off the bench on Saturday and should give the Lions a boost in the final third. Jack Rosser
Guardiola has big rebuild on his hands at City
It also remains to be seen if they have filled the void left by Vincent Kompany – or if they can cope without David Silva. James Robson
More penalty woes for Fulham
Ivan Cavaleiro had been banging in penalties in training all last week. That was the reason he was entrusted with spot-kick duties for Fulham on Sunday, but Scott Parker was left to rue his side’s third miss of the season from 12 yards in their 3-2 defeat against Everton.
Misses from Cavaleiro, Ademola Lookman and Aleksandar Mitrovic have now cost Fulham crucial points in their fight to avoid relegation.
“You could not have written it,” said Parker, who knows his side are making life harder for themselves at the bottom. Simon Collings
Klopp’s injury fears realised
Keita was clutching his hamstring after he went down in the second half at Anfield and it will be another setback for Klopp if the midfielder joins Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara on the sidelines. James Robson
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