It only feels as though it’s been back two minutes, but we’re about to have our beloved Premier League football snatched away from us because of those three dreaded words – the international break.
At least we’ve been served up another dollop of entertaining, dramatic, hell for leather football to keep us all primed over the next fortnight of pain. Here is what we learned from this weekend’s action.
Chelsea in it to win it
Many of us were in two minds about Chelsea going into this season. Maurizio Sarri’s appointment seemed to be dangerously experimental and several of their star players looked set to leave. Four weeks on and things look decidedly rosy for Chelsea fans. Four wins from four, Hazard not only staying, but orchestrating the play as he only he can do, and an exciting brand of attacking, ambitious football on display in all four games. Things are looking up at The Bridge.
It’s only early days, but Chelsea’s win over a plucky Bournemouth side leaves them second in the table and matching Liverpool step for step. They are looking like a well oiled machine under Sarri and if they can carry on with this form, then they will take some stopping.
High flying Hornets earning their stripes
Like Chelsea, Watford are keeping pace at the top of the Premier League after the unlikeliest of perfect starts. Their famous win over Spurs was far from a classic match, but Garcia’s men showed their ability and character in sufficient measure to turn the game around after going one nil down.
They have already impressed in wins away at Burnley and at home to Brighton and Palace, but today was supposed to be the day they came back down to earth with a bump. That didn’t happen though, and they will now be hungrier than ever to resume hostilities after the international break. Free of any real expectation, they could well go on to earn a few more scalps this season.
Over confidence almost trips Liverpool
For a long period of Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Leicester it looked as though the game could have been filed away with Palace away, as a match well managed and won. Then came an almost catastrophic error from their £67 million new goalkeeper, Alisson Becker. He allowed himself to be disposed at edge of his six yard box after trying to be too clever on the ball. The howler allowed Leicester back in to the game at a time when they were on top and looking good.
Thankfully for Liverpool and Alisson they were able to weather the storm thrown at them by Claude Puel’s men and hang on for the win. It was though, without doubt a glaring example of over confidence by their Brazilian keeper. After a good start to his Liverpool career, he will need to curb the unnecessary showmanship; he may not get away with it again.
Silva’s set piece nightmare continues
Everton are unbeaten in the league under Marco Silva. Most Evertonians though will feel massively aggrieved to have only won one of those four games. They have dropped points cheaply so far and although six points from four games is far from a disaster, they could have had it so much better.
Their slapstick approach to defending set plays will be keeping many a supporter grumbling, but it’s something of weakness for their new – tieless manager. In just fifty-three Premier League games Silva has managed, he has conceded a staggering thirty-six goals from corners and set pieces. Everton’s zonal marking looks bizarrely haphazard, with nobody bothering to pick any one up. As long as it’s there, unresolved, Everton will continue to ship points cheaply.
Pellegrini already running out of time
Anybody can go to Anfield and The Emirates and lose a game of football, even the most ardent West Ham fan can reflect on that today, as they sit bottom of the league. However, the manner of the defeats, plus home reversals to Bournemouth and most recently, Wolves, will leave their supporters positively furious.
West Ham were far too tame and lacklustre in their performance on Saturday. It should have been a reasonable chance for them to get off the mark with Wolves losing their last two away games and looking dodgy in front of goal. However, they just didn’t look keen or sharp and were roundly booed off the pitch as they lost a fourth successive match at the start of the season. Last time they did that they went down, and despite the expensive outlay on players, their talented manager could soon become the first casualty of the season, unless he can turn things around.
They are already facing an uphill battle and will need some of those big name signings to start performing otherwise Pellegrini’s rein will be over before it really started.