Kieran Davies looks from a safe distance at a week of dangerous delights, Peaky Blinder attire, and nightmares at the Theatre of Dreams.
Eden, translating from the Hebrew name for ‘delight’. A hazard is defined as a danger or risk. It seems quite apt that we describe Eden Hazard as a ‘dangerous delight’. On his day, there may be no better in the world. When he is off his game, you could be forgiven for charging him an entrance fee to the game. While all the star names boasted by the Premier League still try to find their form, Chelsea’s talisman is turning on the style and seems to be benefiting from the extended rest manager Sarri gave him. Liverpool were on the sharp end of the clinical Hazard this week. The goal itself was sublime and begrudgingly Scouse fans themselves have to admit that a piece of genius like that deserved to win any football game it graced. With the two sides meeting this weekend, Jurgen Klopp must have had some sleepless nights since Wednesday trying to dream up a tactic to nullify the threat of the Belgian. There will be a lot of changes to both sides before this game kick offs, have no doubt. Defeat for either side this one, even at this early stage, makes a comment about title credentials or lack thereof.
What Jose Mourinho would give to have his Manchester United in such a predicament. Things are not rosy in the North West. On the pitch, the side look very beatable and the days of Fergie’s teams who could turn any match around and sometimes seem unstoppable must be all too distant memories to the Old Trafford faithful. Their manager is in that sticky third year that never seems to end well for him. Discourse in the dressing room is usually the first sign that Rome is about to fall. I’m not sure there is a manager out there who could change the fortunes of this side without a period of rebuilding. Unfortunately, the hierarchy seem unable to withstand the voice of the terraces and want instant results, not interested in long term plans. The pressure of a dominant City and re-emerging Liverpool seems to be causing some unease at the Theatre of Dreams*
(*dreams will vary from person to person and the club are not responsible for any nightmares)
Already we are learning plenty of things this season. One of them being, when Pep Guardiola sits in the stands in full kit wanker, Peaky Blinders kit, City lose. After an easy win in South Wales last weekend, Chris Hughton’s Brighton are next up at the Etihad Stadium. It is a tough ask for the seasiders to get anything from this one. They have not been free-scoring this season so far and keeping a clean-sheet against City’s plethora of attacking talent seems a task beyond this team. Surprise package Watford will look to take another North London scalp as they travel to Arsenal. While many lament their attacking duo of Aubameyang and Lacazette, the only two tests Emery’s side have faced so far, they lost both. They have a lot more to prove before they can be considered more than ‘fixture fortunate’ in their league position.
West Ham have managed to find some form and points of late and will look to take that positivity into their home game with Mourinho’s side in the early kick off. Not a fixture they have fared too well in of late, there seems no better time to face Jose’s side. Mauricio Pochettino and his team have been heavily under the spotlight of the media in recent weeks after a trio of defeats. The lack of activity in the summer suggests, there is no one out there who is better or adds anything more than my current squad already do. A bold claim by a trophyless team to state that they cannot improve on the quality of their playing staff. A manager really putting his head on the chopping block as surely the only other contributory factor preventing success given this statement. Struggling Huddersfield, rooted to the bottom of the table, Spurs will be looking to make this a comfortable three points.
Wolves are a team who even if not a fan, are good to watch. With the creativity they boast in attacking areas, they are a threat to any team home or away. After last week’s trip to Anfield, Mark Hughes will not find things any easier travelling to Molineux this weekend. History tends to repeat itself and one thing you will see in the Premier League every year, the teams who get relegated are the ones who don’t have a striker capable of getting in excess of fifteen goals. Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle currently fall into this category. They are by no means the only team in the league, there are probably about five or six, but none the less they are one of them. Leicester City will provide a tough test even if the Magpies do boast home advantage, a much needed three points is the order of the day for the Spaniard.
The same could be said of newly promoted Cardiff City. Impressive at home against Arsenal one week, crushed by Man City at home another week. Nobody said the Premier League was going to be easy but Warnock’s team need to make sure they are competitive. The home fans will be as much part of the effort for three points on Sunday when they host Burnley, another team finding form eluding them. It will take a few more weeks before teams need worry about their position but it is important that players and teams start finding some form. Nobody needs to be digging themselves out of a rut this early in the season. As Tottenham can attest you are only ever a few defeats away from a bad run and in a league as competitive as this, you cannot afford to lose ground on your rivals.