By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-week four of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – Manchester City’s great start continued in match-week five of the Premier League season. Here are five lessons we learned over the weekend’s fixtures.
Kevin De Bruyne might be the best player in the league right now
You could write an entire article on Manchester City at the moment. For all the talk about Pep Guardiola settling into the Premier League, it seems like the Spaniard has taken to English football like a duck to water. This is his greatest ever managerial start to a new club, yes it is better than Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he must be thinking ‘what is the fuss?’.
His City side blasted through Bournemouth 4-0 on Saturday to keep their start to the season perfect, and one man stood out yet again. Kevin De Bruyne continued to marvel with another excellent display at the Etihad stadium in which he get on the score-sheet once again.
The Belgian did not get a fair rub at Chelsea (what were they thinking!), but he made his name with excellent Bundesliga performances for Wolfsburg. De Bruyne then made a big money move to Manchester where had a good debut season, however this year he has taken it to a new level. He has fitted into Guardiola’s style perfectly and right now it could be argued he is the best player in the Premier League, and it would be hard to disagree.
There is still work to do at Manchester United
Whilst the Blue Moon continued to rise, the Red side of Manchester might see trouble on the way as their side suffered a third straight defeat at the hands of Watford. In what can be described as a pitiful performance by United, they were defeated 3-1 at Vicarage road and fell further behind their City rivals.
Jose Mourinho still has a lot of work to do to fix United’s current issues. The defence looked poor and the attack looked rather toothless given the talent on show. It was never going to be a quick fix, but with their current form and City’s recent performances, a title challenge might be off the cards.
It is unlikely that United will not finish inside the top four, after all they have top level talent at their disposal. However, at present the Red Devils do not look like contenders.
Liverpool will contend for the title if they find consistency
It takes a good performance to defeat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and in terms of tactics Liverpool ticked all the boxes in their 2-1 victory on Friday night.
Jurgen Klopp showed his worth by outsmarting Antonio Cote in the tactics battle, and the match was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests. The German’s ‘gegenpressing’ style gave Chelsea little time to settle, and couple that with the pace Liverpool possess, and you can why they give the top sides so many headaches. Jordan Henderson scored a 30 yard screamer that was reminiscent of a legendary Liverpool midfielder to make it 2-0, and the defence looked steadier than usual.
The problem with Liverpool is consistency. Whilst they are capable of putting in these performances, they are also capable of drawing a blank against Burnley. It is getting rid of them results that is key to Liverpool’s success. We know they can beat the top sides, but can they defeat the sides they are supposed to beat?
Friday Night Football works
It is very subjective on whether you like Friday Night Football or not. It is a new thing to the Premier League this year and there will be people out there who do not like football on Friday night’s, but being a European football fan for many years, I think it I great.
The dynamic of starting the weekend with some footballing action just works. After finishing a long shift, is there a better way to get into a weekend mood than a football match? Chelsea and Liverpool kicked off a great weekend of Premier League action with a great atmosphere, it just feels right.
It is certainly better than Monday Night Football, which feels like an unnecessary sequel as the weekend is over and you are back at work. Kicking off a weekend with football rather than having it attached on the end is the best way to go. You are already exhausted after a whole weekend of football and having another match on a Monday just seems overkill. Having that said match to kick of the weekend is a lot better and feels as such.
It has worked for the Bundesliga and La Liga, and evidence suggests it can work for the Premier League too.
Everton could challenge for the top four
The Toffee’s have been flying under the radar so far, but it may be time to recognise the sweet start they have made to the season.
A 3-1 win at home to Middlesbrough moved Everton into second place in the Premier League standings, only two points behind Manchester City. A lot of credit must be given to Ronald Koeman who has come in and made Everton a force again after a few years in the wilderness.
This is the best start to a season for Everton, who are riding a four match winning streak. That in large is down to their attacking talent that includes Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley who are performing well thus far.
There is still a question on whether they will be able to keep this form up, and if they can perform against the bigger sides. Spurs are the best side they have faced thus far, and will continue to be until they travel to the Etihad on the 15th of October. Stranger things have happened than Everton finishing in the top four this season (Leicester anybody?), and their current form suggests that it is certainly possible.
Full Premier League results
Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool
Hull 1-4 Arsenal
Leicester 3-0 Burnley
Man City 4-0 Bournemouth
West Brom 4-2 West Ham
Everton 3-1 Middlesbrough
Watford 3-1 Man United
Crystal Palace 4-1 Stoke
Southampton 1-0 Swansea
Tottenham 1-0 Sunderland
Premier League Matchweek 6 takes place between 24 – 26 September.
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