Premier League winners and losers: Brooks and Worrall inspire while Chelsea and Newcastle slump

Matt Stead
Newcastle defender Dan Burn, Joe Worrall and Steve Cooper of Nottingham Forest and Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez
Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Chelsea had mixed weekends

There was enduring brilliance from David Brooks and Joe Worrall, while Arsenal never stop believing. Chelsea, Newcastle and Aston Villa have some problems.



David Brooks
An absolute inspiration. Perhaps that degree of calm and composure against an onrushing goalkeeper should come as no surprise given the opponents Brooks has beaten on a personal level, but it is worth remembering that in purely professional terms he is also an commendable player.


Joe Worrall
A phenomenal performance outside the context of an unimaginably difficult week. Worrall led Nottingham Forest to a poignant victory at Stamford Bridge, four days after the death of his uncle in the most tragic circumstances.

“He’s been incredible,” said Steve Cooper. “He’s put himself second for his family and for the football club. Nothing can make what happened any better, but at least this gives them some nice feelings for a short while. I can’t speak highly enough of Joe, with what he and his family have been through. A lot of that result was for them.”

Even beyond that, Worrall shone on his first game since the controversial red card against Manchester United. If that doesn’t win the 26-year-old’s perennial detractors over then a) nothing will and b) they’re not worth trying to convince anyway.


Since the start of Mikel Arteta’s first full season as manager, Arsenal have earned 10 points with goals scored in second-half stoppage-time. In that same time, Chelsea (-4), Liverpool (4), Manchester City (1), Manchester United (4) and Spurs (1) combined have earned six points through such goals.

There is work to do at the Emirates but that is a clear and distinct advantage they have over their direct rivals. And it’s not by accident. As Arteta said after a thrilling win (from which you should read 16 Conclusions): “These moments will stick with us, with the crowd so connected to the team with the big history of these matches, it’s great. The will, the determination of the team, that will to win and go and go and go, I’m so proud of them.”

They “go and go and go” because of Nketiah 90+7 against Fulham in April 2021, because of Martinelli 90+1 and Pepe 90+5 against Crystal Palace that May, because of Aston Villa, Bournemouth and now Manchester United twice this year alone. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy and no-one is channelling it better.


Steve Cooper
There is a pleasing linearity through which Nottingham Forest’s improvement in Premier League games away at the Big Six can be viewed: 6-0 v Manchester City, 5-0 v Arsenal, 3-0 v Manchester United, 3-1 v Spurs, 3-2 v Liverpool, 2-2 v Chelsea, 2-1 v Arsenal and 3-2 v Manchester United, before finally, victory at Chelsea.

At Stamford Bridge a year’s worth of painful lessons learned and implemented finally bore fruit. Only once last season in away games against the Big Six did Nottingham Forest make more than the 19 blocks they managed against Chelsea. And in all six of those fixtures combined in 2022/23, Forest only produced one through ball while playing almost exclusively on the break, compared to the two they made to beat Mauricio Pochettino’s side, including Taiwo Awoniyi’s for Anthony Elanga’s winner.

But most of all, Cooper proved he was all of us on Saturday by misjudging the weather, wearing a big jumper and “sweating my balls off”. That’s relatable content.


For having Mo Salah. The bloke is absolutely irreplaceable, no matter how desperate some quarters of the media are to drag him to Saudi Arabia.


That Tottenham attack
Nice to see the title favourites cruise to a comfortable, scintillating victory inspired by the world’s greatest manager and a hat-trick hero.

Heung-min Son’s fourth Premier League treble emphasised his credentials as the real Harry Kane replacement and the goal which capped it was a thing of utter beauty. The way Tottenham played it patiently around their own half to create spaces before suddenly springing into attack was irresistible. Having a manager who actually wants to be there might be the new meta.

Three players scoring. Four assisting. Seven having shots. Eight creating chances. And a £47m signing to add. It must be weird for Tottenham fans to go into an international break disappointed that the televised revolution must be put on hold for a fortnight, rather than dreading how one player’s ankles fare in 180 unbroken minutes against Ukraine and Scotland.


That Brighton attack
Nice to see the title favourites cruise to a comfortable, scintillating victory inspired by the world’s greatest manager and a hat-trick hero.

Evan Ferguson’s first Premier League treble emphasised his credentials as a striker some club is going to spend daft money on at some point very soon. No player has had more shots on target in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season, despite the Irishman only playing half an hour from the bench of Brighton’s first two games.

The teenager is ridiculous but a mere cog in this whirring machine: Billy Gilmour was excellent and played a crucial part in all three goals, Kaoru Mitoma completely Trent Alexander-Arnolded Kieran Trippier, Joao Pedro and Solly March remain side-based thorns and Ansu Fati is yet to be unleashed. Danny Welbeck might never get back in.


Manchester City
They also won, also have a decent manager and also have a player who scored a hat-trick. Good for them.

Oh and Mateo Kovacic looks bloody good. Manchester City signing him from Chelsea for £25m is an absolutely perfect reflection of both teams’ approaches to the transfer market.


Cameron Archer
Rhian Brewster and Cameron Archer signed for Sheffield United three years apart but in strikingly similar circumstances: young, prodigiously talented English forwards with limited top-flight experience at best, and potential underlined by the fact the clubs who developed and then sold them – both for an initial £18m – inserted buy-back clauses to assuage their prospective return.

Liverpool never did activate the clause for Brewster, who failed to score in 27 Premier League games and only netted four times in 30 Championship matches at Bramall Lane. Aston Villa will be keeping a closer eye on their academy graduate.

Archer already seems to be everything Brewster was supposed to be under Chris Wilder: instinctive, confident and ruthless. To effectively score two goals from two shots, the first a glorious finish and the second seeing a stunning effort rebound off the post and in via Jordan Pickford’s back, is sensational productivity considering the pressure he is under to deliver. That partnership with Oli McBurnie will be crucial.

Cameron Archer celebrates his first goal for Sheffield United.

Cameron Archer celebrates his first goal for Sheffield United.


David Moyes
Someone has beaten every club he has ever faced in the Premier League at least once bar Brentford. It’s Moyes, if you weren’t sure. Just checking.


Jean-Philippe Mateta
There’s bringing sexy back, then there’s bringing sexy back assists and backheels. This confirms one thing: Roy Hodgson absolutely loves the Carabao.


Jordan Pickford
Probably the most entertaining footballer to have ever lived.



Not since Andre 3000 and Big Boi discussed the problems that can occur from raising a child out of wedlock in the year 2000 have the words ‘sorry’, ‘miss’ and ‘Jackson’ been more appropriate. Nine times out of ten, Chelsea win that game against Nottingham Forest. But spending £1bn in a single year renders such excuses obsolete.

It will be like this for a time. Chelsea will win plenty of games and lose some more. They will build momentum and then squander it. These are players getting to know not only each other, but a new system and the coach deploying it. It is a massive and unbalanced squad. These are not foundations upon which consistency can be built.

The Daily Telegraph claim that the Blues ‘refused to sign anybody over the age of 25’ is absolutely ludicrous. Potential is one thing but it has to be mixed with experience. Alan Hansen’s “you never win anything with kids” was demonstrable nonsense based partially on the reality; as Gary Neville later said: “We had Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, Brian McClair and Peter Schmeichel. They pulled us through it. If the Class of ’92 had gone into this team, we would have had no chance.”

There has to be a balance. But with that said, Thiago Silva – 10 years older than any teammate who featured at Stamford Bridge, and one of only three players in the entire Blues matchday squad over 25 – was the one nutmegged for the winning goal. Only three players at Chelsea are closer in age to Silva than Mauricio Pochettino is (Marcus Bettinelli, Raheem Sterling and Ben Chilwell). The whole thing is a mess.


That midfield isn’t working. For all their unlimited riches Newcastle still need Sean Longstaff, because the plan to unlock Bruno Guimaraes with the signing of Sandro Tonali has thus far backfired.

Nicolo Barella was once sold as the Jonjo Shelvey upgrade to solve Newcastle’s No. 6 problems – much to the bemusement of laptop gurus who scoffed at the suggestion – but that sums up the confusing approach the Magpies have taken to their midfield. Tonali was supposed to help complement Bruno Guimaraes, to arrive as a hustling hybrid able to defend, but not a defensive midfielder.

It seems as though Newcastle have just given themselves a continental Gerrard-Lampard problem where the pair are still figuring out when to sit, when to go and what the other might be planning on doing. That relationship might become more synergetic and instinctive but at the minute it is leaving gaping holes the best teams will exploit. Tonali in particular for that first goal was dreadful and the international break will only interrupt things further. At least they aren’t playing Brentford straight after before a trip to Milan.


Aston Villa
It genuinely feels as though at least keeping a track of Trent Alexander-Arnold might be an idea next time.

Are the intricacies of the famed high defensive line worth persisting with in the absence of Tyrone Mings? Teething problems without their captain are one thing but there is not enough Calpol in the world to make this a painless transition for an Aston Villa side whose enviable firepower is being wasted.

Unai Emery boiled the defeat largely down to a difference in how “clinical” the two sides were, finding more “frustration” in losing heavily to Newcastle than Liverpool because the former was made to look worse due to “not being focused” late on. But he must sense the similarities in how Villa approached both opponents and were ripped apart. It has nothing to do with taking chances when you give so many up.


Erik ten Hag
Nonsensical blaming of referees from a manager whose personal aggregate score in Premier League away games against teams who finished in last season’s top half is now 11-34, with nine defeats, one draw, no clean sheets and a solitary victory (at Fulham, who came 10th).


Anthony Martial
You either die an expensive and wildly inexperienced young Manchester United striker signing, or you live long enough to be replaced by one who immediately looks like a vast improvement. That’s the saying. That’s how it goes.


James Tarkowski
There must be an imposter wearing Everton’s No. 6 because the real Tarkowski would have launched himself in front of Archer’s first effort and done rather more than invite the forward onto his stronger foot to shoot for the second.

Everton cannot rely on their goalscoring to keep them up so must have better foundations at the back. Tarkowski would normally relish such individual battles as though against McBurnie and Sasa Kalajdzic but his shortcomings are being thoroughly exposed each week. Lovely to see him blocking a shot with his eye late on at 2-2, though. That’s much more like it.


These are not opponents against whom Burnley’s seasonal prospects should be judged, and the underlying statistics should offset any early panic.

But conceding at least three goals every game does make things inherently difficult, while Vincent Kompany’s plea for supporters to help make Turf Moor “hell for every team that comes and plays there” has produced three heavy defeats in as many matches thus far.


It is a compliment to Brentford that earning a stoppage-time point against a good Bournemouth side can still be perceived as a negative. But as admirable as their obduracy in refusing to ever lose is, drawing three of the four games they have led is a concerning continuation of a trend which emerged towards the end of last season.


Tahith Chong
Five take-ons attempted at West Ham and none completed brings his seasonal total to one successful take-on out of nine. Only three players have tried at least as many take-ons with a worse rate of completion (Kevin Schade 1/11, Romaro Schmid 1/10 and Serge Aurier 1/10). But to be fair, the only player Chong has dribbled past so far this season was all £106.8m of Enzo Fernandez and that is pretty funny.


Marco Silva
Imagine not getting a yellow card in every game. The opportunity was right there with that utter VAR nonsense but no. Could have achieved something incredible. Coward.