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Weekend Review: Man City shine, Harry Kane superb, Arsenal revived

Craig Burley takes to the touchscreen to analyse Kevin De Bruyne's dominant performance in Man City's 1-0 win at Chelsea.
Man City applied their trademark style, despite the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, with De Bruyne's magical strike sealing a win.

As the Premier League goes into stand-by mode for the international break, the red and blue halves of Manchester eye each other cautiously over the top of the table. Only Tottenham can claim to be capable of keeping pace and those claims are hardly water-tight. United have crushed almost everything in their path. City are as good as they have ever been.

The rest of the league is beginning to fall away. Chelsea have lost twice, Liverpool have drawn thrice and Arsenal, for all their improvement, are still, you know ... Arsenal. But at least all of their managers can rest easy as the World Cup qualification campaigns resume. Over at Goodison Park, Ronald Koeman has spent a small fortune and somehow made Everton much worse. The pressure on him is starting to build.

Performance of the weekend

And it's Manchester City again. They've had bigger margins of victory this season, but in terms of an all-round performance, they haven't played better than this in years. At the home of the champions, they boldly took the game to Chelsea, flooding the midfield and pushing Antonio Conte's side back on their heels. Fabian Delph's display as an inverted left-back was as impressive as it was surprising and as for Kevin de Bruyne? Well, Chelsea will rue the day they let him go.

We wanted to see how City would fare in their first proper test. It looks like they passed.

Unnecessary dig of the weekend

"The Harry Kane team?!"

It's quite possible that Pep Guardiola genuinely forgot the name of his title rivals -- it had been quite an evening and gifted people can be surprisingly forgetful -- but it's hard to think how he could have been more insulting and more off the mark than this. Kane is, as will be reaffirmed below, Spurs' outstanding player of the moment but he's hardly a one-man team. Guardiola watches enough football to know that Christian Eriksen has been outstanding, that Eric Dier is at his conscientious best and that any one of Spurs' three centre-backs would push for a place in his own team.

Goal of the weekend

Kane is in stunning form for Tottenham these days, showing that his team are still title contenders.

The first Tottenham goal was a gift but the second was a message. A message to everyone who has written Spurs off because of this nonsensical "Wembley Curse." It was a glorious exhibition of one-touch passing, a rapid, ruthless demonstration of the heights that this team can reach.

Spare a thought for poor Huddersfield, who had conceded only three goals before Saturday but couldn't stop them. Indeed, their efforts to break the move only brought its resolution but we're not going to let that take the shine off. Tottenham may not win the title, but they are certainly contenders.

Player of the weekend

OK, so he's not so hot in August but by thunder, he certainly makes up for it September. This month has brought Harry Kane 11 goals -- 13 if you count the two he scored for England against Malta. The manner of the brace he picked up against Huddersfield on Saturday goes some way to explaining his success. The first was a cool, composed finish, a goal that looked far easier than it should have done. The second was an unexpected moment of absolute class lashed home from outside the area. Whatever your definition of "world class" is, Kane meets it.

Dive of the weekend

There are those who wish that Dele Alli would cut out the nasty side of his game. The little digs, the elbows, the unwise hand gestures. But not here. Alli's edge is one of his selling points. But the diving? That we could do without. When it's so bad and so obvious that your own manager criticises you in the media, labellng your actions as unhelpful to football itself, you should probably take the hint and stop doing it.

Unexpected development of the weekend

Arsenal's fourth clean sheet in a row, and 10 points from their past 12, have the Gunners trending up.

No one has really been speaking about Arsenal since that awful day at Anfield, but they've started to quietly creep back up the table again. The team that can't ever seem to defend properly appear to have made a breakthrough. Their 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion was their fourth clean sheet in a row in the Premier League. How unlike Arsenal. The rest of October looks kind as well Trips to Watford and Everton await before the visit of shot-shy Swansea. They could -- could -- be back in the top four by November...

Predictably bad performance of the weekend

No one would ever have you believe that Crystal Palace are one of the more accomplished sides in the Premier League, but they shouldn't be this bad. The players who successfully won their relegation battle last year under Sam Allardyce are still there, with the obvious exception of Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke, both injured for lengthy periods. But this is what happens when confidence evaporates. This what happens when the life is beaten out of a team. Manchester United could have put double figures past them if they'd felt so inclined.

One to watch after the international break

We'd love to be all edgy and hipster-ish and say that Brighton's six-pointer with Everton is the one to keep an eye on, or that Watford are just the sort of underrated outfit capable of embarrassing Arsenal, but we respect you more than that. It's Liverpool against Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp's beautifully flawed cavaliers against Jose Mourinho's militarised and organised roundheads. And we all know how that one ended (Cavaliers 0-1 Roundheads and the cavaliers' manager literally got the chop afterward). This could be the biggest game of the season so far.

Iain Macintosh covers the Premier League and Champions League for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @IainMacintosh.


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