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Premier League: Five Things The Weekend Taught Us

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Scrap the handshake

Not something learned, per se, but extra weight was added to the argument for scrapping the pre-match handshake after Anton Ferdinand refused to shake the hands of John Terry and Ashley Cole. As everyone knew he would (and as he was well within his right to do). The FA and the Premier League don't want these incidents to become an issue, but make them as such when insisting that handshakes go ahead, even when it's quite clear to all involved that there will be at least a degree of controversy. Players, managers, journalists and pundits - all agree it should be scrapped. Shake hands at the end, yes, as a sign of sportsmanship, a show of respect for your opponent, and one that - without the formality of lining up and doing it, draws far less attention. Shaking hands before a match is now just more trouble than it's worth.

Buttner is better?

Okay, he's only had one game, but debuts don't really get much better, especially for a left back, than Alexander Buttner's. Certainly, Patrice Evra may wish his had gone half as well, although it hasn't turned out too badly for the Frenchman. Similarly, Evra must have watched the Dutchman making his bow at Old Trafford with at least a tinge of envy. It's much too early to say whether or not Butter - who scored one goal and assisted another against Wigan - will remain in the first team, with Evra reportedly only missing out due to injury. The France international's form has dipped considerably over the past 12-18 months or so, yet he's never been dropped and has played in the vast majority of United's games in this period. Both of these, perhaps, can be attributed to the lack of competition. His place has never been under threat, nor has there been a suitable replacement to give him an extended rest. The arrival of Buttner could cost Evra his place, or it could be the thing that means he keeps it for just a little while longer.

Berba is back...

Dimitar Berbatov's laid-back style isn't for everyone, but personally speaking it was brilliant to see him both starting and scoring for Fulham this weekend. Few strikers can make the sublime look as effortless as the Bulgarian. He almost signed for Fiorentina, and you can picture him sitting outside a cafe in the cool Florence sunshine, donning a pair of aviator sunglasses and a jumper draped over his shoulders; a cigar in one hand, a glass of their finest wine in the other. He's a very un-Premier League player, and the Premier League is better for having him.

...but is Owen?

Another striker who departed Old Trafford this summer, having spent most of his time there on the bench, is Michael Owen. However, he might not find things too different at the Britannia. He didn't come on until the 90th minute of Stoke's draw with Man City, and didn't manage a touch of the ball. He will undoubtedly get more minutes and more touches in the games ahead, but he is perhaps not the guaranteed starter many - including, maybe, himself - would have thought.

In need of a win

Seven teams remain without a win in the Premier League after this weekend's action. Sunderland, Stoke, QPR, Norwich, Liverpool, Reading and Stoke. Of those it is the latter two, also the bottom two, for whom you have to worry, with both sides clearly having defensive issues. Brendan Rodgers must be hoping his Liverpool side begins to click sooner rather than later. He isn't under pressure just yet (rightly so, but a sign of the times that it has to be stated so early in his tenure), but a couple more games without a win and that could well change.