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Key thoughts and analysis from Saturday's Premier League action


theScore examines the most important developments and biggest talking points from Saturday's slate of action in England's top flight.

Resilience key to Arsenal's title bid

Beating defending champs Manchester City was obviously a strong indication of Arsenal's title credentials. But if there was any lingering doubt over their chances of ending City's Premier League reign, the north London side's comeback to avoid a costly defeat at Chelsea should show that the Gunners are for real.

Arsenal were on the ropes after a brutal start allowed Chelsea to cruise to a 2-0 lead thanks to a controversial penalty and a fluke. Cole Palmer converted from the spot in the first half to highlight Arsenal's struggles before Mykhailo Mudryk's cross-cum-shot sailed over David Raya to compound their problems after the interval.

Blues fans thought a fourth straight win was inevitable, and Mauricio Pochettino's turnaround appeared to be taking shape after a rough start to the season. A victory in the London derby against the high-flying Gunners was shaping up to be a seminal moment that'd propel Chelsea back into the top half of the table. But, in the blink of an eye, Arsenal's worst performance of the young season quickly turned into one of their most memorable.

A brutal mistake from Blues goalkeeper Robert Sanchez opened the door, with Declan Rice cutting the deficit in half with a long-range strike into Chelsea's open goal in the 75th minute. Arsenal clearly smelled blood and circled the Chelsea penalty area before striking again seven minutes later to rob the hosts of three points.

Stuart MacFarlane / Arsenal FC / Getty

Celebrations in the visitors' end, however, didn't erupt until well after Chelsea enjoyed a long spell of dominance. The Blues were far and away the better team for much of the contest. Chelsea's superiority in midfield helped subdue Arsenal's dangerous wingers, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli. Long balls from the back line also proved successful in pressuring an Arsenal defense that struggled to cope with Chelsea's speed.

Despite Pochettino doing his homework to prepare his team well against Arsenal and his "little brother" Arteta, the Gunners still found a way to snatch a point. Unlike previous Arsenal teams that developed a reputation for crumbling under similar circumstances, the north London side's resilience under pressure paid off once again - like it did earlier this season after falling behind in their win over Manchester United. Their perseverance will likely prove pivotal in their quest to keep up with Manchester City.

Brighton go toe to toe with Man City

Manchester City "hold on for victory," Brighton & Hove Albion tweeted Saturday as the final whistle confirmed their 2-1 defeat. These weren't just fighting words from vanquished opponents. These were the facts.

Though Brighton had gifted City an easy 2-0 lead at the Etihad, they showed their true selves in the second half, playing passes out of tight quarters, keeping moves going, and spreading play across the pitch. City's back line, which usually takes liberties with the ball, suddenly looked vulnerable without it.

By the end of Saturday's match, Brighton had created enough to reasonably expect a point. What was shaping up to be a runaway defeat - their third in five matches - had quickly become a competitive one.

"No team in the world can control Brighton for 90 minutes," City manager Pep Guardiola said, according to The Athletic's Sam Lee.

Naomi Baker / Getty Images Sport / Getty

But Brighton aren't winning as much as they were at the beginning of the season precisely because they don't play their football for 90 minutes. When things aren't working, it's not because they're too focused on playing out from the back or taking too many risks, but because of isolated errors.

That didn't stop Don Hutchison, the former Scottish international who co-commentated for the Premier League's international feed Saturday, pleading for Brighton to go long. It's a familiar refrain in these parts. But that would've led to an even more humiliating scoreline. City's marauding defenders were inching closer and closer to goal in the first half - John Stones was masquerading at times as a central midfielder - making any long-ball strategy difficult to execute without giving it away.

The answer was more of the short combination passes that helped Brighton finish in sixth place last season. Roberto De Zerbi's side played with a lot more confidence in the second half, and the more they doubled down on his philosophy, the more likely a comeback seemed.

Quick free-kicks

Tributes pour in for Sir Bobby Charlton

Reflecting on Sir Bobby Charlton's death at 86 on Saturday, many players, coaches, and ex-teammates made it clear the world had lost not just a legendary sportsman but one of the last gentlemen of football. Booked just twice in his entire career, Charlton was class personified, renowned as much for his fair play as he was for his venomous shots from distance. But he was also a man who looked after his own, even as he faced his own guilt as a survivor of the 1958 Munich air disaster, which claimed 23 lives, including eight of his Manchester United teammates. But he belonged to more than just one team. He was the pride of England, a World Cup winner in 1966, and it's for that reason that all clubs, not just United, not just those in England, but from all around the world, paid tribute to the man Saturday.

Salah playing like it's 2018

Peter Byrne - PA Images / PA Images / Getty

Mohamed Salah continued to make Liverpool look like geniuses for not selling him last summer. The red-hot 31-year-old wasn't at his usual best in Saturday's Merseyside derby, but the lingering threat with him in attack gave Liverpool the edge in a match that didn't produce a goal until the 75th minute. He struggled to make an impression in the game, with Vitaliy Mykolenko impressively containing him for the majority of the game. But there was no one to stop him from the penalty spot. He killed the game off in injury time after his Ukrainian marker was substituted, scoring his seventh Premier League goal in nine games this season to help offset the struggles of Darwin Nunez, who has one league goal since August.

Newcastle can cope without Tonali

If that was Sandro Tonali's last game, Newcastle United proved they might not suffer if they lose the midfielder to a prolonged ban. Newcastle jumped out to a commanding lead on their way to a lopsided win over Crystal Palace, their first match since news broke that the Italian was facing a year-long suspension for betting violations back home. It was a good indication of what life will be like without the 23-year-old, with Bruno Guimaraes going about his business as usual with another solid performance in the middle of the pitch before being replaced by Tonali with the game already out of reach. There will obviously be tougher opponents than Palace to come, but if the Brazilian can sustain his current form, Newcastle can probably get by until the January transfer window if Tonali has to serve a ban.

Gary O'Neil gets his revenge

Kieran Cleeves - PA Images / PA Images / Getty

Gary O'Neil's first game against his old club Bournemouth produced what might be the most satisfying win in the Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach's career. Months after the Cherries unceremoniously sacked him despite defying the odds to avoid relegation, O'Neil had an obvious chip on his shoulder heading into Saturday's return to the Vitality Stadium. Bournemouth got the first goal, but O'Neil got the last laugh after Wolves benefitted from a pair of daft mistakes by the hosts to come away with three points. O'Neil celebrated enthusiastically with his coaching staff after the final whistle sounded, while his successor, Andoni Iraola, has now gone winless in the opening nine games of the season.

Stat of the day

Manchester City are doing everything their rivals did - and more.

Tweet of the day

William Saliba conceded a controversial penalty during Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Chelsea. No one can argue that the ball struck Saliba's arm, but the question is whether he had any chance of avoiding contact with Mykhailo Mudryk heading it toward him from point-blank range. The law states that a handball offense can only occur when a player has their hand or arm in an unnatural position.

Alas ...

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