Kieran Davies on seven days of neighbourly disputes and duck-breaking, plus the odd princess or three.
The two sides of Manchester battled it out for bragging rights over who is the best team in the Premier League last weekend at Old Trafford. If only the league gave a trophy for the outcome of this contest……..hold on we have a caller from Leicester on the line…….apparently they do and Manchester was not on the menu. Despite the huge financial outlays of both teams, currently this game was just to decide who outshone The Hacienda! One thing it did offer us was a grudge match previously played out in La Liga between Guardiola and Mourinho. With both teams holding 100% starts to the season, neither having played major opposition, something had to give. Does £89m buy you a match winner in a local derby? Apparently not! Ironically it was somebody Jose Mourinho decided was surplus to requirements at Chelsea who turned the tide of this game, ladies and gentleman, Kevin De Bruyne. Pepes City opened the hosts up with more ease than Giggs and Neville’s attempt with Hotel Football Old Trafford. Only a mistake by Joe Hart’s replacement Claudio Bravo could give Joses side a foothold into the game at half time. Despite a better second half performance by United, the blue side of Manchester held on to take all three points. Apparently the largely anonymous Pogba needs time to settle in to the Premier League (despite having already plied his trade here before) but if a world record transfer fee doesn’t buy you the finished article, we might as well all pack up and go home now! While City registered a win in the Champions League midweek, their neighbours lost to Feyenoord in a competition their manager claimed to wish not to be in (a mindset he may live to regret if his side miss out on a top four position). A trip to Watford this weekend will test the credentials of Jose’s princesses as they aim to show everyone why they are too good for some trophies they are asked to participate in.
As Troy Deeney’s side performed a heroic comeback over a West Ham team who tried to mug off The Hornets at 2-0 up, they will no doubt relish the chance to follow this up with the challenge of Mourinhos stuttering side. In a battle of the wests this week, West Ham travel to West Brom finding themselves far too close to the relegation places for their liking. Bilic admitted last week if they defend as they did against Watford, they wont win a game this season. Without the distraction of European football, he will have had plenty of time to work with his side before their next league fixture. Under fire Tony Pullis will see this as an opportunity to silence his critics, for a week at least.
Performance of the week has to go to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool who faced reigning champions Leicester City at the newly developed Anfield. The Reds brushed aside Ranieris men with a comprehensive 4-1 rout, a scoreline that really didnt flatter the home side. Skys new toy, Friday Night Football, returned this week with Contes Chelsea hosting Klopps men. Mind games and quips aside, Chelsea were well beaten by the highest scoring side in the Premier League in 2016. While the scoreline suggested a tight encounter, aside from the usual calamitous defending,
Liverpool were by far the better side as Jurgen’s team made it two wins on the bounce at Stamford Bridge. A Jordan Henderson worldie silenced the West London fans and also gave his side the spoils in this one. A productive week on Merseyside saw them take a very big six points.
Having picked up their first win of the season last time out, Eddie Howe faces the tough task of taking his side to face Guardiolas City. They will feel relieved that midweek hat trick hero Sergio Aguero remains banned for this one. Ronald Koeman is enjoying a bright start in his
Everton reign as his side sit second in the table, unbeaten this season. They entertain Middlesbrough at Goodison Park as they look to extend their unbeaten run. With Romelu Lukaku introducing himself to the scoring charts in emphatic style against Sunderland, Karanka’s Boro side face a difficult test. After a very late and questionable winner against Southampton, Arsene Wenge’rs Arsenal team travel to Hull looking to make it three wins onthe spin to rectify their poor start to the season. With identical records so far, a great start for Phelan’s Hull, Gunners fans do not see it the same way and will demand nothing but three points from this encounter. After a disappointing defeat in the Champions League at their newly appointed temporary home, Tottenham look to maintain their unbeaten start with a victory over Sunderland back at the Lane. After sweeping aside Stoke quite emphatically last time out, Pochettino will be looking for a performance from his team in this one.
Celebrating a winning introduction to the Champions League, Leicester City will be looking to return to winning ways in the league as they host Burnley this weekend. With only one win to their name so far in their defence of their title, Ranieri’s side will be looking to dominate this game and put in a shift worthy of champions. After breaking their duck last weekend, Palace face bottom of the table Stoke City at Selhurst Park.
With manager Hughes under pressure after their poor start to the season, he will face a tough task in trying to gain a first win of the season at a ground where historically his side have struggled. After a demoralising defeat in added time at The Emirates last week, Puel will look to build on a first win as Saints boss with a Europa League win in the week with Swansea City visiting St Marys. While their Welsh counterparts gained a very creditable draw against Chelsea in their last game, they will need to build on this and capitalise on Southampton’s transition period of yet another new manager. While the season is still in its infancy period, three points are pivotal to not only league positions but to confidence and form, there’s only so long the excuses will hold up before we see our first managerial casualty in the cut-throat market of the Premier League.