By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from matchweek four of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
Five things we learned from the fourth week of the Premier League season, after the International break.
Manchester City might have cemented themselves as title favourites
In the first Manchester derby of the season, Pep Guardiola drew first blood In his renewed rivalry with Jose Mourinho as his Manchester City side ran out 2-1 victors at Old Trafford.
The first half was bossed by the visitors who deservedly took a two goal lead through goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho. The hosts pegged one back on the stroke of half time as Claudio Bravo’s mistake allowed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to finish tidily on the volley.
The second half was played at a frantic pace with United searching for an equaliser, but the Old Trafford faithful were left disappointed as they could not find the back of the net. City ran away the winners in a thrilling Manchester derby, and in the process made a big statement in the Premier League title race.
This was the first game between two of the three major contenders this season and it was the Citizens who secured an away victory. With Chelsea only managing a point at Swansea, they remain the only side with a 100% start to the season. The first half performance was brilliant from City, and it still feels they are only going to get better.
Liverpool’s attack is devastating
Liverpool are back in the win column after an impressive 4-1 victory over defending champions Leicester City at Anfield.
The Red’s took a two goal lead through Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in the first half before Jamie Vardy’s effort brought Leicester back into the game. Adam Lallana restored the two goal lead early in the second half as Leicester pressed for an equaliser. The Foxes still felt they could get something form this game and continued to press, but Firmino put the game beyond doubt to seal a 4-1 victory for Liverpool.
It was the perfect display under the gaze of the new stand at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp’s forward pressing mentality has made Liverpool a hugely dangerous side. Consistency and the defence still remains a problem, but when you can attack as well as them, then often those weaknesses can be masked.
Liverpool fans will have hopes of making the Champions League once again, and after this display there is no reason to not believe.
Diego Costa is annoyingly good
Costa scored two goals but could not prevent Chelsea from dropping two points away at Swansea in an entertaining 2-2 draw. Despite the Spaniard’s best efforts, defensively is where Antonio Conte’s side let themselves down, but that takes nothing from Costa’s performance.
The Chelsea striker is the biggest marmite player in the league- you either love him or hate him, but there is no denying his ability. No matter how much his antics annoy oppositions fans and players, the Spaniard is a top level striker capable of scoring over 30 goals in a season. Costa was left frustrated as he never reached form last season, but the fire seems to be back under Conte’s lead.
Costa constantly harassed the Swansea defence, drawing many fouls from the opposition. His two goals showed that his shooting boots have been found, and that spells danger for title rivals. A firing Costa is instrumental to the Blues’ title chances, and if the first four games are anything to go by, Costa will be a factor come the end of the season.
West Ham vs Watford is the game of the season thus far
Week four was arguably the best week yet of Premier League action this season. Many came out of the Manchester derby thinking they had seen the best game of the season, only hours later that match was topped.
West Ham squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 to Watford in one of the most remarkable turnarounds you will see all season. Dimitri Payet showed his brilliance with a rabona assist as Mikhail Antonio netted twice to give the Hammers a seemingly unassailable lead. However, Watford struck twice at the end of the half to somehow go into half time level. Two more goals at the start of the second half left the London stadium stunned as an incredible win was staring Watford right in the face.
Despite West Ham’s best efforts, they could not turn the match around and Watford ran out victors in an incredible game.
Stoke City could be relegation contenders
Another week and another loss for Stoke City, this time at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur. In what turned out to be the same result as last season, Spurs ran out 4-0 victors at the Britannia, further confirming the worrying times ahead of the Potters.
That is three straight defeats after the opening day draw against Middlesbrough. Stoke started poorly last season, but this is far worse. For some reason it is not quite working for Mark Hughes. A side that was once known for it’s formidable defence now concedes way too many goals and looks shaky at the best of times.
Unless something changes quick, Stoke could be battling against relegation throughout the season- something you would not have predicted at the start of the season.
Full Premier League results
Man United 1-2 Man City
Arsenal 2-1 Southampton
Bournemouth 1-0 West Brom
Burnley 1-1 Hull
Middlesbrough 1-2 Crystal Palace
Stoke 0-4 Tottenham
West Ham 2-4 Watford
Liverpool 4-1 Leicester
Swansea 2-2 Chelsea
Sunderland 0-3 Everton
Premier League Matchweek Five takes place between 16-18 September.
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