FourFourTwo's Premier League Picture – Week Three
So week three of the new Premier League season is in the books and we still have four undefeated teams – Manchester City, Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester United.
City are the only side still holding a 100 per cent winning record, cruising past Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park and equalling a 103-year-old record along the way, if you don’t mind.
Manuel Pellegrini’s outfit, maligned in some circles as needing a fresh injection of talent to compete at the top again this season, has responded by scoring eight goals without reply in three games. Touche Manuel.
Liverpool, Manchester United and the surprising Foxes all drew their games to move to seven points. The first two clubs are continuing their uncomfortable dance, both picking up two wins, one draw, two goals and zero conceded to date. In the unlikely event the two foes record the same result again this weekend, it will make for an even juicier clash when they meet at Old Trafford on the next game day on September 12.
One team that did secure a fresh injection of talent was champions Chelsea, who may have signed Pedro in the nick of time. When Nemanja Matic tripped West Brom’s Callum McNaman, and James Morrison stepped up to take the penalty, the commentator was gleefully informing viewers that a successful Baggies spot kick would leave Chelsea bottom of the table.
Thankfully for Jose Mourinho’s blood pressure, Thibaut Courtois saved the penalty to keep the score 0-0. That was in the 14th minute.
By the 30th minute, Pedro had a goal and an assist on debut and Chelsea held a 2-0 lead. It would end 3-2 to the Blues in an entertaining fixture that included a John Terry red card and some rather disturbing Mourinho wailings into a pitch side microphone at full-time.
Some of the ‘Special One’s’ behaviour early this season is bordering on the bizarre, even for a man who often carries on like that dishevelled uncle who drinks far too much at Christmas.
The round started with Louis van Gaal’s assertion that his United line-up was “three times better” than Newcastle in their early kick-off on Saturday. It was just a shame for the Dutchman that Newcastle had in fact just secured a 0-0 result at Old Trafford. Never let the scoreline get in the way of a good sound grab, as they say. Or as we say. Just now.
It was an admirable result for Steve McLaren, the latest in a lengthening line of managers trying to drag the Magpies back to respectability. The fact that a draw at Old Trafford left them in 17th place and flirting with the bottom three once more underlined their plight. But it was an excellent point gained and the type of outcome that can help teams kick on.
One comment Van Gaal refuses to make is anything along the lines of “we are interested in Neymar”. Of course every manager enjoying oxygen would be interested in him, but there are persistent rumours United could make a play for the Brazilian before the transfer window closes.
It seems fanciful and we here at FFT are saying it won’t happen. If it does happen, we’ll deny ever doubting the Dutchman. But it won't happen. Surely ... right?
England strikers Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney are also under a little pressure. Kane is assuring us all the goals will soon come to help a Tottenham side currently just goal difference out of the bottom three. Rooney’s goal drought has reached 10 games.
Finally, Petr Cech pulled off some great saves to deny Liverpool in a quality 0-0 draw at Emirates Stadium. Without him, they may have dropped all three points at home.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
It has to be those all-conquering, giant-killing Cherries. OK, so Bournemouth’s nickname doesn’t exactly strike fear. They also made hard work of a 4-3 victory over West Ham, blowing a 2-0 lead and then giving up another goal when in front 4-2 with just over 10 minutes remaining. But forget all that, Eddie Howe’s men held on and grabbed their first three points, away from home no less.
Sunderland got off the mark and it was a respectable 1-1 draw against an in-form Swansea side. They are in 19th, one place ahead of West Brom due to goals scored. Southampton are also surprisingly in the bottom three and still chasing a first victory in signs they are struggling to back up last year’s impressive campaign. Next up they host Norwich City, with the promoted Canaries currently sitting pretty at eighth on the table. Stoke City, Aston Villa and West Ham are among the teams sitting far too close to the bottom three for their liking at this early stage.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK – PEDRO:
“There was interest from other clubs in England. United, City and Chelsea, who resolved the issue quickly and showed the most interest in me. I'm happy to go there because of the chance to win titles, like at Barca."
The suave Spaniard rubs a little extra salt into Mancunian wounds.
Each week FourFourTwo's Managing Editor, Southeast Asia James Dampney will provide his take on the Premier League.