Premier Ratings: City 'set a marker' as Arsenal verge on the criminal
FourFourTwo.com's James Maw plays the numbers game following a breathtaking weekend of Premier League action...
Manchester City 9.5
(W 5-1, Spurs A)
Although Spurs may have played into their hands somewhat by not bothering to play anybody who would even pretend to tackle a City player in central midfield, Roberto ManciniÃ¢ÂÂs side really Ã¢ÂÂset a markerÃ¢ÂÂ by winning so emphatically at White Hart Lane. Samir Nasri slotted in effortlessly as Edin Dzeko continued his Ã¢ÂÂresurrectionÃ¢ÂÂ with his most complete performance in English football to date.
Manchester United 9
(W 8-2, Arsenal H)
A mark for every goal (and an extra one for the funny faces Anderson pulled as Wayne Rooney lined up those free-kicks). We place them below City as torturing a massively under-strength Arsenal at home is marginally less impressive than thrashing last yearÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League quarter-finalists on their own patch. Fergie wonÃ¢ÂÂt be happy his side allowed the Gunners to score twice and have a further 18 attempts at goal, but will at least be chuffed they netted eight against a Ã¢ÂÂtitle rivalÃ¢ÂÂ. Obviously.
(W 3-1, Bolton H)
With Arsenal and Tottenham faltering, Liverpool look huge favourites to grab the final Champions League spot Ã¢ÂÂ or better. Midfielder Charlie Adam came to the fore as he and Jordan Henderson scored first goals for the club in another impressive attacking display from Kenny DalglishÃ¢ÂÂs side.
Wigan Athletic 7.5
(W 2-0, QPR H)
Roberto MartinezÃ¢ÂÂs side have had an expectedly smooth start to the new season, despite losing star man Charles NÃ¢ÂÂZogbia and having to fend off interest in Hugo Rodallega. TheyÃ¢ÂÂll do well to Ã¢ÂÂmake hay while the sun shinesÃ¢ÂÂ in these early months, as three points pinched from QPR could look all the more crucial should the winter be a bleak one.
Newcastle United 7.5
(W 2-1, Fulham H)
Like the Latics, Alan PardewÃ¢ÂÂs side have made a solid start to the season. The Magpies managed to navigate round the storm that was Joey Barton's departure with a fairly routine home win, and at present look a long way from being candidates for the drop - whoever wouldÃ¢ÂÂve thought it, eh? (clue: check the fourth entry downÃ¢ÂÂ¦ and ignore the bit about Wigan struggling).
Stoke City 7
(W 1-0, WBA A)
Stoke had to weather something of a storm during their trip to the Hawthornes, with the Baggies dominating for large spells of the match, enjoying 60 percent possession and 11 more attempts at goal than the visitors. Yet it was the Potters wot won it, thanks to Ryan ShottonÃ¢ÂÂs last-gasp prod out of Ben FosterÃ¢ÂÂs mitts, which just goes to show youÃ¢ÂÂve got to make those chances count in this here Premier League.
(W 1-0, Blackburn A)
WhatÃ¢ÂÂs that? A 1-0 away win thanks to a late, controversial goal? Oh go on then. The Toffees won their first league match of the season at the second time of asking - uncharacteristically early for a side gaining a reputation as sluggish starters - thanks to a baffling penalty awarded against Chris Samba in the dying minutes. This certainly wonÃ¢ÂÂt be the last time they dig deep, knuckle down and pinch points this season.
(W 3-1, Norwich H)
Seven points from nine represents a far from disastrous start to life in West London for Andre Villas-Boas, but itÃ¢ÂÂs the nature of the performances that has raised eyebrows. The Blues appear to lack a little fluidity and imagination and, while Juan Mata will surely get the LondonersÃ¢ÂÂ creative juices flowing once heÃ¢ÂÂs up and running, thereÃ¢ÂÂs still a need for a little more artistry.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 6
(D 0-0, Villa A)
Although the Molineux men lost their 100 percent record to Aston Villa, this is still WolvesÃ¢ÂÂ best start to a top flight season since 1979. Their newly-found defensive solidarity west tested in SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs derby, but Roger Johnson and co passed with flying colours, holding off their rivals to secure a well deserved point.
Norwich City 6
(L 3-1, Chelsea A)
Despite ultimately succumbing to defeat in West London, the Canaries gave a more than creditable account of themselves on their trip to the capital. At one stage the Norfolk side even looked the more likely winners, before Ramires Ã¢ÂÂwonÃ¢ÂÂ the penalty that saw John Ruddy dismissed and Paul LambertÃ¢ÂÂs side crumble.
Aston Villa 5.5
(D 0-0, Wolves H)
A solid, if unspectacular start to the season continued in solid, if unspectacular fashion as Villa stopped Mick McCarthyÃ¢ÂÂs party bus gaining too much speed. Villa fans may have fancied their team as the favourites for this one, but McLeish is one of several managers still looking to chop and change his playing staff, and may be happy just to avoid getting off to a bad start.
(D 0-0, Swansea A)
Steve BruceÃ¢ÂÂs side extended their winless start to the season to three matches, although will take some solace from being unbeaten on the road. Maybe. Their biggest concern will be a lack of goals Ã¢ÂÂ just one from 40 attempts so far - that has this morning seen the club linked with a move to Peter Crouch.
Queens Park Rangers 5
(L, 2-0, Wigan A)
Granted, the Super Hoops are in the midst of a rather encouraging squad shake-up, with the likes of Joey Barton, Luke Young and Armand Traore only likely to improve the Shepherds Bush side, but come the end of the season they may live to rue surrendering three points to the Latics without too much of a fight.
Swansea City 5
(D 0-0, Sunderland H)
Three Premier League games without a goal will have Swans boss Brendan Rodgers a little concerned, especially given two of those matches were at home to sides who finished in the bottom half last term. On the plus side, another clean sheet and another near faultless performance from goalkeeper and potential cult hero Michel Vorm.
Bolton Wanderers 5
(L 3-1, Liverpool A)
Another defeat and another three goals shipped see the TrottersÃ¢ÂÂ opening day rout at Loftus Road a distant memory. While Owen Coyle will be pleased with the number of chances his side are creating - and particularly how many Ivan Klasnic is converting - he wonÃ¢ÂÂt be with how many Zat Knight and co. are allowing down the other end. Still some defensive tweaking to be done, and thatÃ¢ÂÂs if they can actually keep Gary CahillÃ¢ÂÂ¦
(L 2-1, Newcastle A)
Their stroll to the Europa League group stages has perhaps masked how stilted a start the Cottagers have made to the Premier League campaign. Although Clint Dempsey flicked home their first league goal of the Martin Jol era, the Dutchman is still looking for his first league win and will be keen to get it before the rigours of another season in Europe hit.
West Bromwich Albion 4.5
(L 1-0, Stoke H)
While there were crumbs of comfort to take from their defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea, there was less to gleam from a loss to Stoke that sees the Baggies still to get off the mark. Roy Hodgson (we only call him Woy to be affectionate when heÃ¢ÂÂs doing wellÃ¢ÂÂ¦) was quick to criticise keeper Foster for his part in StokeÃ¢ÂÂs goal, a move hardly likely to quell suggestions heÃ¢ÂÂs lacking when it comes to man-managementÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Tottenham Hotspur 4
(L 5-1, Man City H)
Their defeat was perhaps more embarrassing than humiliating. Spurs played reasonably well in spells and came up against a highly talented team somewhere near the top of their game, but there will still be tactical questions over which Harry Redknapp will have to mull, but first heÃ¢ÂÂll be looking to squeeze a little cash out of Daniel Levy. He is Ã¢ÂÂdaaaahn to the bare baaaahnsÃ¢ÂÂ, after all.
Blackburn Rovers 3
(L 1-0, Everton H)
There was an air of inevitability around the nature of EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs late win at Ewood. BlackburnÃ¢ÂÂs concerned fans wouldÃ¢ÂÂve been half expecting the Toffees to win with a penalty, after their side had twice failed to score from the spot. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs the way things are going for Rovers at the moment, the question is, does Steve Keen have the personality and nous to turn things round?
(L 8-2, Man Utd A)
The number of first-choice players missing shouldnÃ¢ÂÂt mask exactly how awful a performance the Gunners put on at Old Trafford, and the severity of the spanking doesnÃ¢ÂÂt say much for the depth of Arsene WengerÃ¢ÂÂs squad. Heads dropped and lost causes werenÃ¢ÂÂt pursued, and against a side like Manchester United those are acts verge on criminal. The next two days will most likely prove the most important of ArsenalÃ¢ÂÂs season.
HEROES & VILLAINS Wenger's gap year, suicidal Redknapp and Shearer's hairline