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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018
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Premier League Sunday: Three things we learned today

He gave us all a David Dunn impression last week but Eden Hazard announced his arrival as a real talent against Wigan.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard evades James McArthur of Wigan.
Chelsea's Eden Hazard evades James McArthur of Wigan.
Image: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

TWO SUNDAY GAMES and two wins for Manchester City and Chelsea but not without some very close calls.

Robert di Matteo’s men got off to a perfect start against Wigan but gave the home side more than enough chances to get back into the match.

City hit the front too before Southampton bounced back with two superb goals to force another breath-taking comeback at Eastlands.

Wigan finished last season in stunning form but they will hope that today’s defeat will not signal a slow start. Southampton, on the other hand, showed enough fight and attacking flair to give their supporters hope for the coming season.

Here are three things that we have learned following the action on Sunday.

City remain the team to watch, and beat

The last time Manchester City won the league, in 1967, they finished 13th the season after. There should be no fear of a similar fate befalling City this time around but there would have been furrowed brows when Steven Davis slotted in a fine goal to give Southampton a 2-1 lead.

A fightback ensued as Roberto Mancini’s men set up camp in the Saints’ half and netted twice in the final 20 minutes. The light blues are developing a habit for late drama that used to be solely reserved for their neighbours, United.

Mancini will not be overly impressed with his team’s defending, with Gael Clichy given a testing afternoon by Jason Puncheon and Jack Rodwell failing to provide the midfield screen that Gareth Barry has done quietly and effectively in the past. All of this excitement and Mario Balotelli only had a cameo appearance.

Eden Hazard will be a Premier League star

He may have eaten turf last weekend in the Community Shield following a woeful backheel attempt but Eden Hazard does not cow easily. The Belgian was given a healthy dose of robust tackling by just about every Wigan player he happened across at the DW Stadium but he kept coming back for more.

Within 100 seconds of his league debut, the Belgian had spun away from Ivan Ramis and laid on a fantastic assist for the bizarrely unsuspended Branislav Ivanovic.

Five minutes later and Hazard was sent sprawling by Ramis to earn Chelsea a penalty that Frank Lampard converted. With Ryan Bertrand given the nod to form the attacking wedge with Torres and Hazard, Chelsea looked extremely dangerous.

They went into their shell in the second-half but Hazard was lively throughout his 70-minute stint. A tough test awaits next weekend away to Liverpool but Chelsea can be confident that they have bought themselves a quality player.

Samir Nasri has settled at Eastlands

It took Samir Nasri a while to settle into life outside of London last season but the former Arsenal man felt his move to City was justified by the fact that he pocketed a Premier League winners’ medal.

Nasri was booked following his jersey-raising celebration. (Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)

Nasri scored five goals in 31 outings with the club, including four sub appearances, but was often replaced on the 65 or 70 minute mark as Mancini looked to freshen up his attack. He had a decent season but it was nowhere near his 2010/11 form when he found the net 10 times.

Against a positive Southampton side at Eastlands, Nasri looked every inch the top class midfielder that forced City to shell out £25m for his services. He dinked a delightful ball over the top for Carlos Tevez to run onto and score and put three other balls of similar quality into the box.

With 10 minutes on left on the clock, Clichy whipped in a threatening cross that Danny Fox attempted to clear. His header fell to the French international, who swept home the winner to further endear himself to the fans that have been chanting ‘Allez allez, Samir Nasri’ for the past 12 months.

As it happened: Manchester City v Southampton, Premier League

As it happened: Wigan Athletic v Chelsea, Premier League

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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