After another enthralling Premier League weekend, we take a look at the occurring trends that are emerging this season, from the ridiculous to the sublime and trifling episodes that you wouldn’t dream of seeing at the Rugby World Cup.
1) Wenger was destined to kick start Mourinho’s season
It was written in the stars. For Mourinho and Chelsea their match up against Wenger’s men couldn’t have arrived at a more suitable time. Much has been made of ‘The Special One’s’ record over the Frenchman and even in the midst Chelsea’s worst start under Mourinho, he could always rely on a victory over Arsenal to get them out of the mire.
The day became about mind games and once you enter into a mental confrontation with Jose you rarely come out favorably, especially Wenger. Nobody gets under Arsene’s skin like the Portuguese maestro and there’s nobody he likes to ridicule more than the Arsenal manager.
In a peculiar way this adolescent relationship seemed to play itself out on the pitch. Diego Costa, matador-like, dangling his velvet red flag at Gabriel which the Brazilian duly sprinted towards, only to find on arrival it was a red card being held up by the ever incredulous Mike Dean. Down to ten and then nine men, Arsenal, again at Stamford Bridge, capitulated.
2) City’s title sprint not a given
Up until the mid-week game against Juventus, Manchester City were purring, five faultless performances had left them five points clear at the top without conceding, and if you believed some pundits the light blue ribbon was already being tied on the Premier League trophy. It was never going to be that easy however and Pellegrini’s side has shown they’re prone to complacency over his short tenure.
There is no doubt they have been the form team in the opening flurry of fixtures, but as we tend to forget it is a marathon, not a sprint. Chelsea’s early season stumble means they won’t be walking away with it as they did last year. City will be looking to recover in a tricky away game at Spurs next weekend and I genuinely believe the title race will be a hard fought one this season.
3) Premier League title to be decided on beating West Ham at home
The Hammers are certainly an improved article this campaign, tough to break down and powerful on the break, they have started the season with three away victories that has reportedly made Wenger utter the words ‘sacre bleu!’ heard all the way in East London.
Bilic has been a breath of fresh air over the League this season, talking with humility and belief off the pitch, his side encapsulates his fighting spirit on the park as they blaze their way through the country’s stadia. For the ‘big boys’ picking up three points at home to West Ham may very well prove the deciding factor this season.
4) Managers feeling the heat
There will be a few managers pining over their early season misery, shivering at the disturbing sensation of the chairman breathing down their neck.
Brendan Rogers will be feeling the pressure more than most after a home draw to Norwich, failing to recover from their damning defeat to United. Unconvincing more than once this season and with fans reeling at their flailing transfer policy, Rodgers has failed to get them ticking and injuries to core players will only add to the pressure. Brendan’s got time but the forces that be might already have cast their spell.
Upon Tyne and Wear side they are genuinely having a race to see who can capitulate first. Sunderland’s Dick Advocaat will certainly be asking the question ‘is there any point?’, whilst Newcastle fans will have similar queries over the existence of Steve McClaren.
5) Martial the real deal
Martial’s smartly taken goal against Liverpool last week was clearly not a one-time pot shot. Two composed finishes against the Saints on Sunday had LVG purring the young Frenchman was ‘already special’. The boss claims not to be surprised by his prodigy’s ease of entry into the Premier League, but he will certainly be hoping he continues in the same vain.
Anthony has the ability to be a star at United, gliding past opponents with effortless fleet of foot, finishing off with inscrutable competence, his comparison to Thierry Henry has Gooners all around hankering. Fans up and down the country will be watching in anticipation of what this gifted footballer can do and all the £36 million price-tag might suddenly seem paltry.
We are getting to the point of the season where clubs will be starting to show their true colours. Some will sink, some will swim, but one thing is for sure, expect to see much of the status quo established over the coming weeks.