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English Premiership

Three things we learned from the Premier League

Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first win as Chelsea manager © AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS

LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 18 – Liverpool and Arsenal lead the Premier League with the only 100 percent records after two games as VAR and Tottenham denied Manchester City in a 2-2 draw.

Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first win as Chelsea manager as the Blues were left holding on for a 1-1 draw with Leicester, while Norwich and Sheffield United got their first victories back in the top flight.

Here, AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the second weekend of the English top-fight season:

Leicester give Lampard plenty to ponder

Frank Lampard was greeted as a returning hero when the Chelsea boss emerged from the tunnel ahead of his first home game.

But 90 minutes later the mood was decidedly gloomier at Stamford Bridge after Leicester earned a share of the points that left the Blues legend with plenty of work to do.

Battered by Manchester United in their Premier League opener and beaten by Liverpool on penalties in the UEFA Super Cup, Chelsea were in need of a morale-boosting success against the Foxes.

They looked well on course after young midfielder Mason Mount marked his home debut with his first goal for the club in the seventh minute.

Mount, an attacking midfielder in Lampard’s mould, had impressed under the Chelsea boss during their time together at second-tier Derby last season.

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But the 20-year-old was one of the few positives for Chelsea as they faded badly after their bright start.

Perhaps fatigued by their midweek trip to Istanbul, Chelsea were lucky not to lose after Wilfred Ndidi’s equaliser, leaving Lampard with plenty of food for thought as he chases that elusive first win.

Norwich’s Pukki party

Of the three promoted clubs, Aston Villa were the big spenders, splashing over £100 million in the transfer market.

However, it is Sheffield United and Norwich who have made a brighter start to the season.

Norwich spent just over one million in the transfer window, but trusted in the likes of Teemu Pukki to make the step up to the Premier League.

Last season’s top scorer in the Championship already has four in two games in the top flight after becoming the first Norwich player in 26 years to score a Premier League hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday.

Sheffield United were also worthy 1-0 winners against a toothless Crystal Palace in the first Premier League game at Bramall Lane for 12 years on Sunday.

By contrast, Villa’s first home game back in the big time ended in a 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth with two of their 12 signings Tom Heaton and Douglas Luiz at fault for the Cherries two goals inside the first 12 minutes.

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No slip in City’s standards

Pep’s impressed: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described his side’s performance against Tottenham as the best since he took charge of the club © AFP / Oli SCARFF

Manchester City have become a relentless winning machine under Pep Guardiola in the past two seasons, yet despite being held to a 2-2 draw by Tottenham on Saturday, the Catalan lauded the Premier League champions’ performances as the best of his tenure at the Etihad.

City dominated the Champions League finalists with 30 shots on goal to Tottenham’s three and would have scored an injury-time winner through Gabriel Jesus but for the intervention of VAR.

“Better than this I don’t know if it is possible,” said Guardiola, normally known as an arch-perfectionist.

The manner in which City conceded two soft goals to Erik Lamela’s long-range effort and Lucas Moura’s header from a corner will give those hoping to end Guardiola’s men’s reign as champions hope.

But on the evidence of the first two weeks of the season after a 5-0 thrashing of West Ham, there appears no slipping of City’s standards.

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