By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-day three of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
Three games into the new Premier League season and the table is beginning to take shape. Here are five lessons we learned heading into the International break.
Manchester United need to start Rashford and Mkhitaryan
Manchester United laid siege on the Hull City defence on Saturday, with wave after wave of attack on the opposition goal. It was looking like the Tigers would nick a big point, but a Wayne Rooney run set up a tap-in for substitute Marcus Rashford to steal the win for Jose Mourinho’s side.
It was the introduction of the young Englishman and Henrikh Mkhitaryan that changed the game for United. Suddenly they looked more threatening with their directness, and it was no shock that Rashford was the one to score the winner.
Anthony Martial has struggled for form since the end of last season, and whilst Juan Mata has performed well thus far, Mkhitaryan was the Bundesliga’s top creator for a reason. Mourinho will manage in his first Manchester derby when the Premier League returns, and he should seriously consider starting these two players.
Eden Hazard is back
Last season was a struggle for Eden Hazard. After lighting up the Premier League in Chelsea’s most recent title winning season, the Belgian really struggled along with his side as he scored a meek three goals the entire campaign.
Under Antonio Conte, we have seen the revitalisation of Hazard. He looks sharp, he looks dynamic, and he looks like the player that led Chelsea to the title two seasons a go. It was the ‘Eden Hazard show’ as Chelsea swept past Burnley 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. The Belgian’s individual effort gave the Blues the lead, and he bossed the game for the duration.
His form thus far suggests that Hazard is back to his best. He will be vital to Chelsea’s title chances this season, and if he can continue this form then the Blues could very well be on their way to another Premier League title.
Same could be said for Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling has failed to really play to his potential in a Manchester City shirt, but since Pep Guardiola’s arrival at the Ethiad stadium, the Englishman looks like the player that was hyped up during his Liverpool days.
Sterling bagged two goals and was the man of the match as City kept their 100% start to the season with a 3-1 win over West Ham. He looks a lot more dangerous, has a better output and looks to be silencing his doubters.
If Sterling can keep up his current form, he will be in for a very good season.
Leicester City may have their mojo back
The defending champions notched up their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Swansea at the King Power stadium. The Foxes had only scored one goal and one point ahead of Saturday’s match, but their performance against the Swans was more like the title winning Leicester of last season.
Jamie Vardy got off the mark for the season in typical fashion. The forward bust on to Danny Drinkwater’s pass before slotting the ball home as we saw so many times last campaign. Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty to make it 2-0 (maybe they should let Vardy take those). Instead it would be the unlikely source of Wes Morgan that would double Leicester’s lead. Swansea pulled one back, but did not do enough to stop the Foxes taking the three points.
It has been a positive week for Leicester. Drinkwater has signed a long-term deal, they have been dealt with a good Champions League group, and now they have bagged their first Premier League win of the season.
Which teams could be in trouble?
After match-day three, the table starts to take a bit of shape. It is looking like the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea will be contesting for the title, and there are a few teams that look like they could be in trouble.
Stoke are bottom of the table and have looked poor this season. Mark Hughes needs to turn his side’s form after the international break, or his side could find themselves in the relegation scrap. The lack of goals still haunts Crystal Palace and may continue to haunt them throughout the season.
Bournemouth’s success last season was largely down to their start in which they surprised many sides with their style of football. Eddie Howe’s side got figured out towards the end of last season, and if early indications are to go by, that has continued into the start of this campaign.
It is too early to say any side is doomed, but these three plus the likes of Swansea and Sunderland could find themselves in an unwanted position in a few weeks time if things don not improve.
Full Premier League results
Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool
Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
Crystal Palace 1-1 Bournemouth
Everton 1-0 Stoke
Leicester 2-1 Swansea
Southampton 1-1 Sunderland
Watford 1-3 Arsenal
Hull 0-1 Man United
West Brom 0-0 Middlesbrough
Man City 3-1 West Ham
The Premier League returns on 10 September.
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