Gunners in need of power Serge
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is like the guy who goes shopping and ends up buying a shirt just like one he already has because he likes it so much.
You only need look at his team's bulging wardrobe of midfielders: a lot of compact, nimble and talented ball players, and not much else.
We saw yet another addition in German wunderkind Serge Gnabry, who made his debut aged just 17 off the rack, er bench, at Norwich on Sunday. Built like the Ox (ie, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain), Gnabry continues Wenger's newly acquired taste for German players - signing Lukas Podolski (really a Pole) and Per Mertesacker ("lamp post" in German) - after Spain and France ran out of stock.
Perhaps the Professor just misses Jens "I'm not crazy, no really" Lehmann. We sure do but not as much as the Gunners miss Jack Wilshere. His impending return after 14 months out will add some grit to Arsenal's midfield, so creative types such as Santi Cazorla and Russian exile Andrei Arshavin, who got a run against Norwich, can weave their magic. Sorely missed in the shock loss to Norwich (which could have been 2-0 or 3-0) was the pace and penetration of Theo Walcott, out injured as well.
But don't expect Wilshere to pick up where he left off straight away. The effects of such a long break after a serious injury are not just physical, particularly when returning to the centre of the park. Just look at Michael Essien, once of Chelsea now at Real Madrid. He was only out for half as long but sadly wasn't the same player when he returned.
The height of tomfoolery
Spurs might lack depth but not height. The imposing Tom Huddlestone has grown in stature since switching to Benoit Assou-Ekotto's hairdresser, and could grow further under Andre Villas-Boas' new tactile style of management.
The Big Tombola had fits and starts in the Spurs midfield under Harry Redknapp but, like Jermaine Jenas, couldn't seem to cement a place among the likes of the now departed Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Niko Kranjcar. With Harry himself departed and Scott Parker out for a while, Huddlestone has a chance to stake his claim.
The sight of him marking Chelsea's stripling Oscar on Saturday was almost comical, and the Brazilian was lucky not get stuck between his studs.
Sadly we didn't get to see one of Tom's trademark thunderbolt shots but his involvement at set pieces struck us as strange. At 8 foot 4, wouldn't it be better for Spurs to have him on the end of corners rather than taking them?
Cheick rattled and rolled
Card magnet Cheick Tiote was hard done by in the Tyne-Wear derby. Tiote's straight red midway through the first half tilted the playing field Sunderland's way but they couldn't make their bitter rivals Newcastle pay.
For starters, Tiote was being pulled back and possibly off balance while chasing a loose ball when he made his mistimed block, with a raised boot, studs down. It looked a clumsy yellow at worst; harsher still in the context of a derby where tackles were flying in helter-skelter and the ref to that point had seemed reluctant to intervene.
The sending-off gave Sunderland a sniff after it looked like Newcastle were going to run riot when they scored with such ease in just the third minute.
Demba Ba must have finally heard what we've been yelling at the TV for years: Shoot low and hard, early and often! So many players seem to want to walk the ball into the net these days when a snap shot from the edge of the box can often catch out the keeper, causing him to parry the ball for an easy tap-in.
For all the passion and atmosphere, the derby wasn't much of a spectacle, played like a cup tie with a lot of midfield pinball and the hoof-and-chase game much loved by Pele.
The Black Cats' equaliser was awarded to Ba, so Steven Fletcher remains the top and only scorer for Sunderland, who had just one shot on target for the fourth game this season.
Adam Johnson, after looking lost in elite company at Manchester City, is starting to look more at home in this Sunderland side, and that's not a good sign. How they must wish they had been able to persuade Asamoah Gyan to renounce the sand and petrodollars of the Middle East to stay on Wearside.
Onwards and upwards
As well as providing further evidence that they just may be in the title race for the long haul, Chelsea's win over Tottenham provided two other positives - and that doesn't include the joy their supporters would have taken from beating the AVB-led Spurs.
The first came in winning a big London derby without the two men who have carried the club on their backs for the past decade - John Terry and Frank Lampard.
Chelsea didn't miss Terry, with Gary Cahill providing a further indication that he deserves to be a first-team regular. The jury is still out on David Luiz, but with Terry getting slower by the week, JT is increasingly looking like the club's third-best centre-back.
Lampard did get a couple of minutes at the end, but the points were in the bag by then. Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar appear set for some productive years working together – even if Fernando Torres continues to mope around up front.
The second positive to emerge from Saturday for the Blues was the nature of their win. They trailed 2-1 in the second half before staging an impressive fightback. It is easy for young players when things are looking good, but to turn around a match on the road like that suggests they are made of tough stuff. Whether they are tough enough to beat Manchester United this weekend remains to be seen.
Right move for Holman?
Footballers all over the world dream of playing in the English Premier League. Who can blame them? The chance to take on all those big names while trying to forge a similar reputation for themselves is a great challenge. But what happens when you end up at a club that looks like it is going nowhere and is anything but a beacon for enterprising play. While playing in Holland, most recently for AZ Alkmaar, Brett Holman had become a very handy player at both club and international level. It is hoped his move to England won't stifle his creative ability. He doesn't need that, and neither do the Socceroos.