Man City have laid down a marker to the rest of the Premier League teams after beating the champions at the Etihad. So what else can we take from this and other results from the weekend?
Manchester City secured a commanding 3-0 win over champions Chelsea, Arsenal got back to winning ways at Crystal Palace, Sunderland are looking like a relegated side already (yes I know there are still 36 games remaining) and Manchester United won ugly again. Among the weekend’s action, what have we learnt from the Premier League’s second round of fixtures?
Man City are serious title challengers!
Normally when Chelsea travel to another top team the game either ends in dour 0-0 as Jose Mourinho’s side look to suffocate the life out of the match, or potentially a 1-0 win for Chelsea if they nick a goal on the break. Suffice to say Man City had other ideas.
City’s 3-0 win over the champions at the Etihad was all the more extraordinary when one considers that with the exception of Raheem Sterling, this City side is largely the same as the one that made such a lame attempt at defending their Premier League title last season, and one which was looking increasingly past its best throughout that campaign. For now though, they look totally rejuvenated.
Given Sergio Aguero’s injury form, it could be necessary to add another striker to the squad, but City are undoubtedly on a roll. Captain Vincent Kompany looks back to his best, and even his defensive partner Eliaquim Mangala finally seems to be settling into English football.
Chelsea need more signings
Mourinho was successful in deflecting attention away from the 2-2 result against Swansea as physio Eva Carneiro was hung out to dry, but he may find it difficult to do the same thing with another scapegoat after Sunday’s chastening defeat.
For the first time in a long time Captain John Terry looked every bit of his 34 years of age as he and his normally solid defence were taken to the cleaners by Aguero and co. Elsewhere, the attacking force of Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas hardly created anything of note.
Only Radamel Falcao and Asmir Begovic have arrived at Chelsea this summer, and the fact that Jamal Blackman and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were on the bench suggest their squad is a tad light, especially when there are injuries. Chelsea are publicly trying to bring John Stones to the club, but given Everton’s stance, there are no guarantees that deal is going to happen this summer.
Sunderland’s situation is even worse than previously thought
After the comprehensive opening day defeat at Leicester last week, Dick Advocaat and the Sunderland fans really needed a response from their side as they hosted Norwich on Saturday. Despite the previous game’s calamities though, Advocaat selected the same back-four that had been fortunate to only ship four goals at Leicester. It didn’t pay off.
While the 3-1 win for Norwich was an excellent result for the Canaries, it was another horror show from Sunderland, who were guilty of defensive or goalkeeping mistakes for all three goals they conceded, none more so than the third goal when several players inexplicably switched off despite Norwich having a throw-in in a dangerous area.
A crisis meeting amongst Sunderland’s squad has apparently taken place, and Advocaat must be seriously wondering why he took on this job rather than following his wife’s advice to retire. Last week it looked as though Sunderland needed a few more signings or they’d be relegated. This week they look as they’ll need an entirely new squad just to avoid last place.
Everton back on form?
Drawing 2-2 at home to Watford last week wasn’t the best result, though it’s questionable as to whether it warranted a fly-past protest from fans calling for the Everton board to go. The team however hit back at their critics in perfect fashion on Saturday as they impressively swept aside Southampton 3-0 at St. Mary’s.
Romelu Lukaku was at his unplayable best up front, while Ross Barkley was also at the top of his game. Everton struggled last season to balance the Europa League with the Premier League last season, but they won’t have that problem this campaign. If they can keep John Stones away from Chelsea, a top-8 finish is well within Everton’s reach.
How high can Leicester finish?
Needless to say it is still very early days in the 2015/16 season, but Leicester could have hardly started better, and with matches over the next two months against the likes of Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Stoke, Norwich, Crystal Palace and West Brom to come, they will fancy their chances of continuing this early season form.
If their first match only proved they could sweep aside a hapless Sunderland, Saturday’s 2-1 win at West Ham showed they had more steel and quality about them, and they certainly don’t look as though they’ll have a problem scoring goals this season. If their defence can be tightened a little, a mid-table finish may not be out of the question for Claudio Ranieri’s side.
Tottenham continue to underwhelm
If Spurs were a tad unfortunate to lose at Man United last week, they were just careless on Saturday as they shipped a two-goal lead at home to Stoke to draw 2-2. Having completely dominated the opening 75 minutes, a needless penalty was given away to put Stoke back into the match, from which their new-found momentum saw them score another to take a point.
Spurs will almost certainly make more signings between now and September 1st, but they are in danger of being left behind by the top-four teams, and if they don’t make a real statement of intent in the final two weeks of the transfer window, they will not be qualifying for the Champions League anytime soon.
Swansea continue to impress after dismissing Newcastle 2-0 at home, West Brom are still yet to score a goal, and Jose Mourinho has even gone as far as to call Chelsea’s defeat at Man City ‘a fake result’. But then he would, wouldn’t he?