We have entered that time of year when Premier League fixtures are coming at us hard and fast, after another entertaining midweek round of top-flight fixtures it’s time to have a look at 5 things we learned …
Guardiola’s City set new consecutive win record
As Pep Guardiola’s Man City team brushed Swansea aside 4-0 at the Liberty Stadium last night, they broke the Arsenal ‘’Invincibles,’’ long-standing record of 14 consecutive Premier League wins.
The Citizens also fittingly scored their 50th goal of the season, and are on course to break the records for total points and goals in a Premier League season.
This City team is currently playing a brand and level of football that has never before been seen on the shores – even the great Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea teams of yesteryear would struggle to get near them.
If City continue in this vein of form we may not just be crowing them as Premier League Champions come May, but as the greatest side ever to play in the English top-flight.
Mahrez’s star is shining bright again after positional switch
Claude Puel’s changes to his Leicester side can be described as more subtle than wholesale in nature, although one of these tweeks is paying more dividends than most, and that is the decision to move Riyad Mahrez away from his usual right-wing position and into a more central role behind the striker.
The Foxes were excellent at St.Marys as they romped to an impressive 4-1 victory and the 2015/2016 POTY was the key architect in the South Coast clubs demise.
Mahrez is revelling in the extra freedom his new role provides and has scored a selection of superb individual goals recently. The Algerian international has now in fact matched his total of nine goals and assits last season in just 16 games.
Those of a cynical nature will of course point to the fact that this resurgence in form may in fact be closely linked to the transfer window opening in a couple of weeks. Whatever your view on this, I really do find it astounding that none of the Premier League’s top-six showed a more concrete interest in the talented attacker during the summer, after all, Mahrez is a player who has proven time and time again that he has the ability to make even the most experienced of top-flight defenders look like complete and utter mugs on his day.
Mourinho should tell Lukaku to stay away from defending corners
Although Romelu Lukaku finally got back on the score sheet in the Premier League in his sides 1-0 victory over Bournemouth last night, the Belgian international’s new party trick of almost or actually causing his team to to concede from a set-piece reared its ugly head yet again.
Last Sunday, the £75 million strikers defensive mistakes in his own area resulted in his team conceding both goals in their 2-1 Manchster Derby defeat. Also, against Arsenal had it not been for a David De Gea wonder save he would have scored an OG, and then against Bournemouth a scuffed clearance laid on a chance for Steve Cook that the Cherries defender really should have done better with.
It’s obvious Mourinho is trying to use Lukaku size and strength as a defensive weapon, but at the moment he seems to be more of a hindrance than a help, so maybe its best if he stays up around the half-way line when his team are defending corners from now on.
Hughes on borrowed time at Stoke
Despite initial progress and guiding Stoke to ninth placed finishes in his first two seasons at the Bet365, Mark Hughes’ side have been regressing badly over the last couple of season.
They currently sit in 15th place in the table, have won only four games and have the leagues worst defence.
In fact, Stoke have managed to pick up a paltry 64 points from their last 61 Premier League games, a shocking return by anybodies standards.
Hughes like most experienced managers is an expert in self promotion and deflecting blame, but a run like that is just unforgivable, if the Stoke board do not act fast and sack their manager they will sleepwalk their way into relegation.
The fans lost patience with Sparky along time ago, its now just a matter of time before the Coates family do too.
Newcastle begin to feel the winter bite
Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle are in a rotten vein of form, and have lost six of their last seven Premier League fixtures.
Their managers tactical nous may have seen them briefly occupy the top six early this season, but now as the dark days of winter approach The Geordies are slipping dangerously towards relegation.
The reason for this is simple: Benitez was not properly backed in the summer transfer window and because of that this squad is woefully short of Premier League quality.
I’m sure the best xmas present any Newcastle fan could get is for Amanda Staveley’s takeover to go ahead asap, and for Rafa to be given funds to invest in January, otherwise The Toon Army may be travelling to Championship grounds again next season.