Finally. Club football is back, and the 13th round of Premier League fixtures was typically exciting.
Manchester City and Liverpool continued their unbeaten starts to the league campaign with big away wins over West Ham and Watford respectively.
However, Chelsea’s undefeated start came to an end at the hands of London rivals Tottenham at Wembley, with Spurs now moving five points behind leaders City.
Arsenal’s victory over Bournemouth kept them in fifth and gives them some breathing space with Everton five points behind the Gunners.
Newcastle’s third successive victory saw them leap into 13th place, while Fulham’s win kept them at the bottom of the table only on goal difference.
Who returned from the international break with a point to prove and who crumbled under pressure? Here are our winners and losers.
Leroy Sane – Manchester City
The German international endured a rocky start to the season, with manager Pep Guardiola often keeping him on the bench.
However, the winger has worked hard to force himself back into the starting team and repaid Guardiola’s faith by netting twice in the convincing win over West Ham.
Sane gave former City defender Pablo Zabaleta a torrid time on Saturday afternoon, proving too quick and skillful for the veteran.
Aleksandar Mitrovic – Fulham
Mitrovic had gone six Premier League matches without a goal but got his name on the scoresheet twice as Fulham defeated Southampton in Claudio Ranieri’s first match in charge at Craven Cottage.
The first was a deft header, the second a perfectly executed volley into the corner of the net just after the hour mark.
If Fulham are to escape relegation, then they need Mitrovic in this sort of goal scoring form consistently, because when playing with this much confidence, he is rarely stopped.
Aaron Mooy – Huddersfield Town
The Australian had not scored all season and then managed to score two to inspire Huddersfield to victory against Wolves.
Mooy has always had an eye for a long-range strike and both of his goals were expertly placed beyond Rui Patricio.
The Terriers dominated the match and Mooy was at the centre of everything good that they did in a crucial away victory which has lifted them up into 14th place.
James Maddison – Leicester City
The Englishman had an afternoon to forget as he was sent off with only 28 minutes played against Brighton.
He picked up a second yellow card for simulation after going down easily inside the box, barely a minute after his first caution.
Maddison apologised for going to the ground easily and will now miss the Foxes’ Carabao Cup clash with Southampton.
Jordan Henderson – Liverpool
Another Englishman who saw red this weekend. The defensive midfielder was sent off with just under 10 minutes remaining for a second bookable offence.
Henderson will be frustrated he knows he is vying for a starting spot with summer signing Fabinho.
Liverpool will now be without Henderson for the upcoming Merseyside derby, an occasion that no player wants to miss.
David Luiz – Chelsea
The Blues were simply outplayed by their London rivals Tottenham and Luiz could not cope with the fluidity of their attackers.
Luiz was criticised for not doing more to block Harry Kane’s long-range effort, which sailed into the back of the net in the first half.
He was arguably at fault for Spurs’ third, as Heung-min Son waltzed past the Brazilian far too easily before tucking the ball beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga. Not the best of defensive performances from Luiz.
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The Toffees have not tasted victory across Stanley Park since Kevin Campbell’s solitary strike in September 1999 but Klopp feels Marco Silva – who has won one and drawn one against his German counterpart as boss of Hull and Watford – has the squad and the style to pose a realistic threat.
And no amount of history – Liverpool have not lost a derby for a record 17 matches – will alter that.
“If you wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t even think about it. How can I know what people make of that? I’m a not bit interested,” he said.
“You cannot make anything with these results in the past. It is good that we won these games or got results from these games, the most exciting one was the late winner of Sadio (Mane) at Everton – that felt unbelievable.
“There were good games we played at home to Everton but we have to make sure as a club we create an atmosphere so exceptional it will make it a little bit easier for the players to come into it 100 per cent in a fighting mood.”
The last three Everton managers to visit Anfield in the Premier League – Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce – left with, respectively, a 4-0 defeat, a 3-1 defeat and a 1-1 draw.
However, significant investment and a change in playing style introduced by Silva have seen the Toffees move up to sixth in the table, their best league position for some time, and that has caught Klopp’s attention.
“He has the best squad. They brought in players he wanted. Richarlison, what a player he is, last year already (Theo) Walcott came in, this year Bernard came in, (Andre) Gomes, (Yerry) Mina.
“Since I am in (at Liverpool) Everton was always really busy but now it’s the best-tuned squad.
“One or two years ago (Wayne) Rooney came back, (Gylfi) Sigurdsson came, they said they could not play because of lack of speed, but everything is there.
“It would be in all leagues in Europe a European team, I am sure. The development and improvement is obvious.
“Analyse Everton and tell me it will be an easy game, tell me their weaknesses: they defend really good, have good players in all positions.
“It will not be the most easy game in the world but no-one expects that in a derby and we shouldn’t do that this time so we will not.”
Klopp will be without suspended captain Jordan Henderson for the game, and has challenged the rest of the squad to step up in his absence.
“Are they ready? We will see. We have to prove it,” he said.
“If I were to say now ‘we have a real problem, I don’t have enough time to make them ready for a derby’ what kind of idiot would I be?”
New Fulham boss Ranieri heaped praise on Chelsea counterpart Sarri, insisting his Italian compatriot merits high regard for his “Sarriball” tactical style.
France’s World Cup-winning midfielder Kante formed the bedrock of Ranieri’s 2016 Premier League winners at Leicester, but has been challenged to play higher up the field this season under Sarri at Chelsea.
Taskmaster Blues boss Sarri will not play Kante in his more accustomed defensive midfield role – and Ranieri has backed that stance.
“For us at Leicester N’Golo was a fantastic midfielder with Danny Drinkwater, they understood very, very well what I wanted,” said Ranieri, ahead of Fulham’s Premier League trip to his old club Chelsea on Sunday.
“But now he’s a Chelsea player, and it’s important for us to stop him.
“He’s fantastic, because N’Golo is intelligent, he can run, attack and defend. He was very important for me, and he’s very important for Sarri.
“N’Golo’s an intelligent midfielder. When I watched him, he was a little more, as well as now, a midfielder who would go forward.
“But for me with him and Drinkwater I said to one to attack and one to defend, each time, I didn’t want both attacking and no-one in front of the defensive line.
“Sarri wants one midfielder, a holding midfielder in Jorginho, and so okay, Kante can go and attack as well. It’s very nice for him to have a lot of options. Sarri plays very well with the right philosophy, Sarriball.”
Sarri sought out Ranieri and asked to observe training when the current Fulham boss was coaching Fiorentina back in the mid-1990s.
Ranieri rejected suggestions Sarri has based his playing style on those observations, instead claiming he himself looks up to the former investment banker.
“I spoke with him; he remembers me, he came to me and said ‘can I come to watch your training session?’,” said former Chelsea boss Ranieri.
“But I think Sarri is not inspired by me, he’s a very good coach, because he arrived so late at the highest level. He deserves it. He has a lot of jobs in his career, and he deserves where he is.”
Sarri recently returned the favour by inviting Ranieri into Chelsea training, with the new Cottagers boss admitting the trip proved beneficial.
Asked about visiting Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, Ranieri added: “Yes I have been there, he was very, very kind with me. I saw some very interesting things.”
Ranieri enjoyed his first taste of English football when managing Chelsea between 2000 and 2004, and admitted he always loves returning to Stamford Bridge.
Joking about Eden Hazard’s Chelsea goal against Tottenham that helped Leicester win that improbable Premier League crown, Ranieri said: “It’s always special going there, because I came to England with Chelsea and I had four fantastic years at Chelsea.
“And also Hazard scored a great goal for Leicester, so thank you Eden, again.
“It’s a tough game, Sarri has made a very good group. It’s important now for us that we understand where we have to improve.”