This past weekend in the Premier League saw Liverpool maintain their perfect record away at Chelsea, Manchester City bounce back emphatically against Watford and Ole’s United side fall two goals short at West Ham.
Buzz Sport’s Harvey Camp looks at five key points that surrounded the latest set of fixtures in the English Premier League…
Liverpool look almost unstoppable
Using the word ‘unstoppable’ isn’t one we should use lightly and not when it comes to the Premier League of all leagues, but we may just be looking at a branch of that word here in Liverpool.
Yes it wasn’t a vintage second half performance from the Reds, but they seem to know how to get the job done, more so than any other team in the league at this moment in time. This game in particular stands heavy to that claim. Frank Lampard’s side were arguably the better side in the second period despite Liverpool dominating the first, but they seem to have big personalities that they lacked desperately following Gerrard’s departure; and these characters are pulling them through rough patches in games. If Klopp can keep these big personalities fit, the likes of Van Dijk and Henderson, I don’t see any team coming close to their tally despite City’s all-star squad.
For me the difference between Liverpool and City at the moment is leadership and quality can only get you so far without on field direction. Whether City can bring in another Vincent Kompany figure to balance the seesaw only time will tell and Pep Guardiola’s side will no doubt push Liverpool to keep winning every game, however the Reds just look to me like a more complete side this time around.
City aren’t at all down and out
Despite me tipping the odds in Liverpool’s favour for the title race, this past weekend showed that Pep Guardiola isn’t quite ready to give up the crown without a very reasonable effort being applied. Bouncing back in style is one thing, but the Champions were able to put eight past Ben Foster in the Watford goal this past Saturday afternoon.
City without debate had to rediscover their magical form in the league following last week’s shock defeat to Norwich and they couldn’t have done much more in terms of showing what they can do when wounded. Kevin De Bruyne was again magnificent in the centre of the park for the hosts, adding to his selection of assists with a true strike to round off the onslaught. Watford were poor across all areas, but the Citizens showed hunger and intent.
The only concern is that despite the big win for Pep’s men the Norwich defeat is still likely to be in the back of the players’ minds when it comes to away matches. City had a clear motive heading into the Watford clash and knew they had to make a point, however the loss to Norwich does show vulnerability that we maybe haven’t seen so much of since before the Centurion season two years ago.
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City aren’t down and out by any means, but it’ll be interesting to see whether they can match the consistency that Liverpool have showed in the early stages of this season.
Have United actually moved forward?
When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer first took the reins at Old Trafford results picked up and that’s to no surprise, the club needed a change, the fans long requested it and the players seemed rejuvenated. A perfect run saw the United board back Ole to the hilt, however a questionable end to last season left doubt in the minds of many who are linked with the Red Devils; is Ole actually experienced enough to take Manchester United to the next level?
So far, not so good as far as this campaign is concerned. The Red Devils’ away defeat at West Ham this past weekend only added to a record of only two wins out of five for Ole and United. Despite progress temporarily being made, it looks like one of the world’s biggest clubs have taken a major step back in their quest to regain Champions League status.
Whether someone is needed “at the wheel” boasting more experience than Solksjaer is a question only the Manchester United board can answer by taking another major risk. But despite spending £90 million on Harry Maguire and a further £50 million on Aaron Wan Bissaka to rectify their defensive woes, it looks like the Red Devils still find themselves at the drawing board, whether it be temporary or not.
Sheffield United are showing more than enough character to retain their Premier League status
Two wins from six games is not a stat most right thinking members of society would ever really look at and consider it an achievement, however where Chris Wilder and Sheffield United are concerned the grit and desire speak for themselves. The newly promoted side now boast a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace and a 2-0 away win at Everton in the Premier League, adding to a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge two weekends ago.
The Blades currently sit mid table, rising high over the likes of Wolves and Chelsea respectively.
Looking at the players Wilder has at his disposal, you can compare this with nearly every other Premier League club and talk facilities, budget, players, anything that a club can build success on and you’ll find that on paper they shouldn’t be picking up these results, no matter how early on the season is. That’s the reality of the situation. Wilder’s players not only want to play for the club but they want to play for him and that’s so apparent in how the Blades apply themselves game in and game out. We could be looking at a very different situation in the next month and the players and the manager will know that, so it’ll be intriguing to see how Wilder approaches the coming fixtures.
Are Everton severely underachieving?
Last season all but showed that if Everton wanted to take a major step towards Europe Marco Silva would need to splash heavy cash, and the Portuguese man did not waste any time in attempting to rectify that problem. The Toffees raked in some big money signings ahead of the new season, including the likes of young talent Moise Kean and ex Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi. However despite this investment from Marco Silva Everton only have two wins from their first batch of Premier League games, leaving worrying signs stepping into the next round of fixtures.
Marco Silva came into the job on the back of doing a magnificent job at Hull and then Watford before a string of bad results left the respective board with no choice. However the Portuguese man has outlasted both previous roles, repaying shared faith towards the latter end of last season.
Results will need to improve there’s no doubt about that, given the business that took place this past transfer window. Early signs do indicate a hefty barrier from the Toffees’ perspective, not just in terms of picking up results but finding the consistency to do so.
By Harvey Camp (@harveycampjourn)