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English Premier League talking points

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Talking points from the latest round of Premier League games:

HAALAND CONTINUES TO MAKE PREMIER LEAGUE LOOK EASY

After going three Manchester City appearances without a goal prior to his side’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur last week, it seemed Erling Haaland was human after all.

However, after ending his brief goal drought against Spurs, the Norwegian fired in his fourth Premier League hat-trick of a sensational debut season in England to earn City a 3-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

The stats make for remarkable reading. Haaland broke former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of being the fastest player to four Premier League hat-tricks. Haaland’s four came in 19 games, Van Nistelrooy’s in 65.

His 25-goal league haul from 19 matches would have been enough to win the Premier League golden boot in each of the previous four seasons. Dixie Dean’s record of 60 goals scored in a single league season, set in 1928, remains in sight.

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NKETIAH SEIZING HIS CHANCE AT ARSENAL

When Gabriel Jesus was sidelined by injury, doubts were raised about Arsenal’s depth and whether they could continue to set the pace at the top of the Premier League.

But in homegrown product Eddie Nketiah they have saved themselves millions in the transfer market.

Fellow youth team prodigy Bukayo Saka grabs most of the headlines and scored a beautiful goal against Manchester United on Sunday but Nketiah’s double sealed the 3-2 win.

It took Nketiah a while to establish himself at Arsenal having made his debut in 2017 and he was loaned out to Leeds United at one stage. But after Jesus’s injury, he has seized his chance with both hands and he now has seven goals from his last seven games in all competitions.

GOAL DROUGHT A WORRY FOR NEWCASTLE

Newcastle stretched their unbeaten Premier League run to a club record 15 and kept a sixth successive clean sheet but the 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace exposed their misfiring attack.

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Eddie Howe’s side are devilishly difficult to beat but they have now scored only once in four league games and their top-four ambitions could be damaged by a lack of goals.

The decision to loan out striker Chris Wood was surprising especially with no forward coming in and Howe will be pushing for offensive reinforcements before the transfer window shuts.

Joelinton was disappointing at Palace while Callum Wilson is without a goal since October and looks short of confidence.

MUDRYK OFFERS SOME CHEER FOR CHELSEA

There was not much to get excited about in Chelsea’s 0-0 draw at Liverpool but the second-half introduction of new signing Mykhaylo Mudryk did lift the tedium.

The Ukrainian winger, who looked destined for Arsenal before choosing Chelsea, showed some dazzling footwork during his brief cameo and looked the most likely player in Chelsea’s ranks to snatch a winner at Anfield.

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Manager Graham Potter was impressed by 22-year-old Mudryk’s impact while Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville raved: “Seeing Mudryk for 10 mins I wouldn’t like to play against him!”

WHERE IS EVERTON’S NEXT WIN COMING FROM?

Everton have had a number of must-win games since the resumption of the Premier League season following the World Cup and lost them all. Next up is Arsenal and Liverpool.

They had home games against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton when both clubs were bottom of the league, and lost both 2-1. This weekend’s visit to fellow strugglers West Ham was at the very least a “must not lose” fixture, but they were comfortably beaten.

The Toffees’ 15 points from their first 20 games of the season is the worst return in the club’s history and it is hard to see where the next victory is coming from for Frank Lampard’s side.

He has tried to change systems, going to five at the back, but it has not yet made any difference to results. New arrivals this week could change the outlook for the team, but will they be enough to stave off relegation?

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-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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