With the Premier League season only four weeks old, many football fans are starting to get a rough idea of what awaits between now and the end of May when all is said and done.
Here’s a look at what we have learned (or can deduce) so far.
Foden On Borrowed Time
Man City coach Pep Guardiola likes his teams to play in a certain way and Phil Foden doesn’t seem to quite fit that. Pep’s frustration has been building with each and every game this season as Foden continues to make selfish decisions in the attacking third.
Guardiola has a history of benching and later selling players who cannot adapt to play a team game, such as Leroy Sane. The German is arguably better than Foden, yet hardly got any game time because of his desire to improve his personal statistics.
Ironically, at the end of last season, Foden said in an interview that he wanted to “try and score more goals than last season, get better stats and try to improve (his) game”.
Not going to be able to do that from the bench!
Most Entertaining Team to Watch: Arsenal
I am sure every Arsenal fan has made sure the entire world knows that they are top of the Premier League – something they haven’t been able to celebrate for a very long time.
The Gunners are relentless going forward, and create plenty of chances. Defensively, they are also very generous.
When things start to go wrong for Arsenal (and they will), they will likely push forward even more to leave larger gaps amongst their back line. Since the famous “Invincibles”, they haven’t possessed a team that can handle adversity very well. It doesn’t feel like it will be any different with the current set of players they have, especially when Arsenal “fans” turn on the players like they always do.
Sack Race is Already On!
Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City) and Frank Lampard (Everton) are already feeling the pressure. Both managers need their players to produce for them, and quickly.
Leicester have a solitary point from the four games they’ve played, and Everton are only a point better off. However, what’s worrying is that neither team looks good enough to be in the Premier League.
Frank Lampard has been under pressure since taking over as Everton boss, in January, last season. Although he kept Everton up, his arrival didn’t bring the change in fortunes that the fans and board envisioned. This season the blue side of Liverpool seem like they will be in another dogfight to maintain Premier League status. As one of only six clubs to compete in every season of the Premier League since its creation in 1992, the club will be desperate to keep that run going.
Despite Everton’s poor showing, it is Leicester City that will likely replace their manager first. Brendan Rodgers has had Leicester competing beyond their means for a few seasons, but that seems to be coming to an end. Since the premature passing off Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, his son hasn’t been as generous with their wealth resulting in a lack of transfers, and the loss of captain Kasper Schmeichel to Ligue 1 side Nice.
This is not a race either manager will be too eager to win!
United in Turmoil?
In simple terms, Mancester United are definitely in turmoil.
Yes, they beat Liverpool and played well doing so, but that is the only positive in a season of mediocrity so far. Even their win against Southampton was lucky as the Saints deserved at least a point on the day. If the referee had actually done his job, Southampton would have been awarded a penalty for the Scott McTominay handball.
Unfortunately for Southampton, they were never going to get the handball as the referee was unable to see the incident or send it up to VAR because of the badge on McTominay’s shirt.
United look very pedestrian with the ball, and lazy without it. Bruno Fernandes, who was incredible when he first arrived, has been a shell of himself since the end of last season, and Christian Eriksen hasn’t made the expected impact as of yet.
Defensively they have been amateurish, in particular against Brentford. As a result, England duo Luke Shaw and captain Harry Maguire have been replaced by Tyrell Malacia and Raphael Varane. The changes seem to have done the trick for now, that’s until Varane gets injured, again.
Then there’s the whole Ronaldo saga.
To keep such an influential player at the club against his will is not smart, especially with everything that has happened.
It all began when incoming coach Erik Ten Haag publicly stated that he didn’t need Ronaldo which set them off on the wrong foot. Then, Ronaldo skipped pre-season training and publicly announced that he wanted to leave Manchester United for a club competing in the Champions League. With Messi only 16 goals behind and Haaland already threatening his record of 141 goals as the competition’s all-time top scorer, he knows that every goal counts.
Now, the Portuguese star finds himself on the bench regularly seen disagreeing with Ten Haag. To put it simply CR7 is not a happy bunny.
It is only a matter of time before Ronaldo is allowed to leave, and Man Utd get to grips with what the new boss wants – fast, high-pressing football.
Nunez is a Darwingrade
After a decent pre-season, Darwin Nunez was expected to hit the ground running…instead he decided to hit the opposition defenders with his head. The more worrying aspect of Nunez’s game apart from his temperament is his touch. The Uruguayan striker has struggled with his first touch in the games he has played.
When you consider how much it cost to bring him to the club, and who he replaced, it seems like the club made a major error. What has made matters worse for Darwin Nunez is that he witnessed fellow striker Roberto Firmino put in a masterful performance scoring a brace and setting-up three goals in a 9-0 demolition of Bournemouth.
So, if you’re Klopp, do you play Firmino who has proven himself for the club or the £85m signing that will be targeted by every defender?
Either way Liverpool have a problem unless Darwin Nunez improves drastically. Having such an expensive player with a six-year contract on the bench is not good business.
Best League in the World!
This goes without saying, but I am going to say it any way…English Premier League is the best in the world, and this year is shaping up to be more exciting and competitive than ever before!