Manchester City and Manchester United maintained the pace at the top of the Premier League while Everton and Crystal Palace continued to struggle.

Here, we look at five things learned from this weekend’s action.

Koeman is running out of excuses

Ronald Koeman
(Martin Rickett/PA)

Much was expected of Everton this season after a summer of heavy spending but their start to the campaign has been dismal. Manager Ronald Koeman was given the benefit of the doubt after collecting just four points from the opening five games because those fixtures included Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United. But after lacklustre displays against Atalanta and Apollen Limassol in the Europa League and Sunday’s limp loss to Burnley, the pressure is now on the Dutchman. Koeman’s failure to sign an out-and-out centre forward to replace Romelu Lukaku is proving a common complaint.

City could have a title-winning defence

Awesome performace again!Motivation to come back stronger has never been greater! Let's all keep pushing each other to improve! #ManCity pic.twitter.com/OUZscadE8i

— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) September 30, 2017

While free-scoring Manchester City have commanded plenty of attention for their exhilarating attack, their defensive improvement has gone relatively unnoticed. Saturday’s 1-0 victory over champions Chelsea saw them record a sixth clean sheet in seven matches in all competitions, and this has been achieved without Vincent Kompany. Admittedly the likes of Watford and Crystal Palace asked few questions, but Chelsea represented a stern test. With new goalkeeper Ederson bringing greater confidence to the back line, City may have solved what was a major weakness last season.

Batshuayi is not the man for Conte

Batshuayi is preparing to come on. #CHEMCI

— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 30, 2017

When Michy Batshuayi scored Chelsea’s late dramatic late winner at Atletico Madrid in midweek, the striker may have thought he had planted himself firmly in manager Antonio Conte’s thoughts. Coming after a hat-trick in the Carabao Cup, another goal in his previous appearance and a handful of important strikes late last season, the Belgian was clearly growing in confidence. It may have come as a blow, therefore, that when Alvaro Morata limped off injured early against City that he was not sent on to replace him. It seems Conte still does not really trust him.

Palace’s problems run deeper

The game has finished. [4-0] #MUNCRY pic.twitter.com/UkuXsNu83l

— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) September 30, 2017

Roy Hodgson was clearly right when, on taking over from the sacked Frank de Boer at Crystal Palace, he said things could get worse before they get better. However, he might have hoped that his players would start to show improvement in terms of attitude. That was not evident as they were thrashed 4-0 at Manchester United. Admittedly it was a tough fixture but Palace’s defending and effort levels were poor. There were no positives to be gleaned, never mind a point or even a goal.

Liverpool need to regroup

Jürgen Klopp's verdict on our draw at Newcastle: https://t.co/uMMeFdq8dp pic.twitter.com/jG8fQwitk9

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 1, 2017

When Liverpool tore Arsenal apart at the end of August they looked like a top-class side. Since then they have been haunted by twin failings. They seem unable to make the most of multiple opportunities in front of goal and, despite outplaying teams, they commit errors and concede goals. The first issue may be a simple case of bad luck but the same excuse does not work for the second. Jurgen Klopp and his squad need to regroup.

Source: By PA Sport Staff

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