Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all won their matches in this week’s midweek game week. Here are 7 things we learned:
1. Ashley Young proving his worth:
When Man United bought Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid in a deal worth £59.7m, he became the most expensive player in English football. Naturally, one would expect him to play week in week out. But a certain Ashley Young blocked his way and Di Maria had to be sold next season. Young had his fair share of injuries but as the fighter he is, he’s fought his way back into the team. Having to play as left back instead of his favoured left wing position hasn’t hampered his spirits. Instead, he’s come out fighting and has cemented the left back position, ahead of specialists Luke Shaw and Daley Blind. Though United will go into the market for new fullbacks next summer, Young has given plenty of food for thought for Jose Mourinho and his brace against Watford has helped his cause further.
2. Vardy-Mahrez combo is back at it:
One of the biggest reasons of Leicester City’s fairytale triumph in the 2015/16 season was the deadly Vardy-Mahrez combo. With Vardy scoring 24 goals and Mahrez contributing with 17, Leicester romped to the title.
They looked in imperious form this week too, with both scoring wonder goals. And if they continue with the same form, there’s only one way to go for Leicester from here and that is up.
3. City are not invincible:
Man City have had the dream start to their season with 40 points from 14 matches, and they lead 2nd placed United by 8 points. But their recent form shows that they certainly are not invincible. While they were winning by 4-5 goals during the start of the season, their last 3 matches against Feyenoord, Huddersfield and Southampton have been 1-0, 2-1 and 2-1. Though they haven’t lost a match this season their recent form should give some sort of hope to their rivals, Man United.
4. Arsenal coming into the groove:
Arsenal face Man United on Saturday and they’re slowly starting to get into the groove. A back 3 of Monreal, Koscielny and Mustafi, with Bellerin and Kolasinac as their fullbacks and Xhaka and Ramsey in Centre midfield and a front 3 of Ozil, Lacazette and Sanchez is a team to be feared of. But Arsenal being Arsenal, they haven’t clicked so far this season. But this week’s 5-0 marauding of Huddersfield sets them up perfectly for their big weekend clash.
5. Salah shows how to do it on a cold windy night at Stoke:
Mo Salah is being touted as the bargain of the season. Everything he has touched this season has turned into gold. While he started on the bench against Stoke, it didn’t make much of a difference as he came on in the 67th minute and had an immediate impact, scoring in the 77th and the 88th minute as Liverpool won 3-0 on a cold windy night away at Stoke.
6. Vintage Wayne Rooney:
Wayne Rooney turned back the clock with a sumptuous hat-trick as Everton romped past West Ham 4-0. His 3rd goal, from the halfway line, was the one which caught the eye. It was not the most brilliantly worked goal in Premier League history, but it was certainly as pure a sporting connection as you will ever see.
It was Tiger Woods hitting his one-iron stinger under the wind. It was Roger Federer brutally yet beautifully swatting a forehand on to the angle of sideline and baseline. It was Virat Kohli flat-batting a six over extra cover. It was Wayne Rooney, at his very best.
7. Lack of depth will haunt Chelsea:
Defending champions Chelsea are currently 3rd, 3 points behind 2nd placed United and a point above 4th placed Arsenal. Though they have begun well, the lack of depth in their squad will certainly haunt them later into the season. In a match where Eden Hazard didn’t start, Chelsea struggled to create chances. Though they won 1-0, it was far from convincing and Conte surely must look in the market for a few decent backups this January.