Weekend's results expose uncomfortable truth about two modern Premier League legends 4 months ago

Weekend's results expose uncomfortable truth about two modern Premier League legends

Aston Villa are now up to second in the league table.

As we all basked in the comfortable glow of the Premier League's return this weekend, there was no slow restart after trudging through the international break.

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While Friday's league leaders Tottenham are still due to play Fulham on Monday night, the pressure has already been piled on with big wins coming from Liverpool, Man City and Newcastle on Saturday.

However, it was Sunday's thrilling 4-1 victory by Unai Emery's Aston Villa over West Ham that sent a real message to the league's current elite, and an even stronger one to those who came before.

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Unai Emery's reign chalk and cheese from Steven Gerrard before him

If a marker hadn't already been placed down, then Sunday's emphatic win at Villa Park has firmly cemented the success story of Emery's reign. It also raises the eyebrow further at the appointment of Steven Gerrard before him.

This time last year, Villa were perilously placed in 17th position, after winning just two of their first nine fixtures under the former Liverpool legend. This season, with six weeks in nine and a positive goal difference of 10, Villa are flying, making their best start to a campaign in 25 years and sitting in 2nd.

The turnaround proves both Emery's experience - he'll reach 1,000 games managed this season - and Gerrard's naivety and hubris to take up a role at such a big club so early on in his career, or rather Villa's owners for making the offer.

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Described as a "fantastic moment in Aston Villa’s history," Gerrard apparently took part in a five-hour long interview for the job. Looking at the stark deference between his reigns and Emery's, one can't begin to think what they talked about. Villa fans will hardly care.

Unai Emery (Getty Images)

Chelsea showing signs of a turnaround, but there's a long way to go

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Another former Premier League legend to catch a stray this week is the one and only Frank Lampard, as Chelsea show slow but sure signs of a turnaround under Mauricio Pochettino.

While Arsenal managed to claw their way back into a 2-2 draw after going two down at Stamford Bridge, Pochettino can at least take solace that the Blues are once again causing problems for the big boys.

If it wasn't for a disastrous pass by goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, which left Declan Rice with the freedom of the Chelsea goal and Cole Palmer failing to capitalise at the other end on a similarly horrendous attempt by David Raya, Chelsea could have comfortably closed out the game 3-1.

The rise of Palmer as a legitimate goalscoring option, Mykhailo Mudryk's turn in form and the behemoth squad looking more and more settled as the weeks go by, there are glimmers here that Poch can keep a handle on the myriad of challenges plaguing Chelsea over the last few seasons - something Lampard could only dream to achieve.

While Chelsea are still a long way off being anywhere near what is historically expected of them, Pochettino's first season at Spurs experienced a similar trajectory, with things clicking into place around December. A few more good results on this side of Christmas and he'll be right on course.

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Mauricio Pochettino (Getty Images)

It may be too soon to tell, but the damning difference between Lampard's Chelsea wilting so utterly and completely against Arsenal back in May against this weekend's performance, shows Poch is so much more up to the challenge.

Similar to Emery at Villa, the Argentine is showing using his experience to turn things around at a big club in a low ebb, something his predecessor completely lacked the ability to do.

Liverpool and Klopp finally get what they want

Another highlight of this weekend's action came in the Liverpool victory over local rivals Everton.

While the Toffees didn't put up much of a fight at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp can breath a sigh of relief and maybe even taste the metaphorical justice at the fact that Ibrahima Konaté managed to avoid a pretty obvious second yellow, while Ashley Young got his marching orders by referee Craig Pawson in the first half.

Say what you want about Aston Villa's incredible performance, Chelsea showing signs of their former selves, a highlight came in the aftermath as an Everton fan account did some cheeky editing involving a recent question thrown at Klopp, a couple of weeks back.

Edited to suggest that perhaps Everton should have the right to a replay, Klopp replies, "Are you serious with this question?"

A slight tweak on reality, but we're sure most Liverpool fans will get the joke.

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