Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are looking like title contenders and Manchester United are not
We’ve had five rounds of Premier League matches and there are some definite patterns emerging. Manchester City can’t stop winning games, Stoke City and West Ham are shipping four goals per match and Jose Mourinho is whinging to anyone who will listen.
Here are seven things we learnt from the weekend action.
1. Manchester City look ominous but they’re not title bankers yet
Pep Guardiola’s stock has risen quickly at the Etihad Stadium, although it’s worth pointing out that they’ve had an easy run of opening Premier League fixtures, with the Old Trafford derby the toughest of that little lot.
The bookies are clearly afraid to take on City when it comes to the title race, although odds of 8/13 seem a touch skinny with such a long way to go, even if Sergio Aguero returns from suspension for next weekend’s clash with Swansea.
2. Liverpool could be City’s main challenger to the title
Titles aren’t won in September but they can certainly be lost and Liverpool are out of the traps pretty quickly with ten points on the board. Taking into account that they have been to Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea already, this is clearly no mean feat.
Jordan Henderson was the star man at Stamford Bridge on Friday but the way in which the whole team moved the ball at speed and controlled most of the match against Chelsea was highly impressive. And Joel Matip is an absolutely boss defender.
3. Jose Mourinho remains a classless whinging individual…
Plenty of knickers went into a twist when it was announced that Mourinho was returning to the Premier League, although this guy is not a pleasant individual and seems eager to point the finger when his team lose matches.
It might be the referee’s fault, it could even be his players not following instructions although it sure as hell isn’t his problem. The “normal side” who played at Vicarage Road deserved to lose.
4. …who has fallen into the Wayne Rooney trap
Just what sort of power does Rooney hold at Old Trafford? He got another ninety minutes at Watford and served up another dross performance. It’s hard to imagine Klopp or Guardiola making space in their respective teams for someone who has sadly gone at the game.
5. Stoke seem woefully short of defensive quality
Shipping four against Manchester City is excusable and the Potters were chasing the game when Tottenham ran riot the other week. But another quartet of goals conceded at Selhurst Park has now set alarm bells ringing.
Indeed, Mark Hughes saw fit to drop Gianella Imbula on Sunday despite spending £18.3 million on the midfielder earlier this year. The Welshman will also be concerned with how Stoke were done twice from set pieces as Tomkins and Dann laid the foundations for a big win.
6. We could have a right royal relegation race
Who’s going down then? Stoke’s “targets” might simply be reduced to staying in the top flight at this rate, with Sunderland also winless and West Ham doing their best to get involved in a scrap.
The bookies still anticipate that Hull and Burnley are likeliest to go down, although Middlesbrough, Swansea and Bournemouth all have the sort of frailties that could see them in the mix too.
7. Slimani should help Leicester challenge at the top
Islam Slimani was a relative unknown when arriving at the King Power during the transfer window, although the Algerian bagged a brace against Burnley on Saturday and Leicester are now rising back up the table.
Indeed, the Foxes are playing well and it was only that opening 2-1 defeat at Hull which saw the Midlands side operate below standard. Slimani, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez should pose lots of problems for opposition defences.
All odds were correct at time of posting.