After a topsy turvy start to the Premier League season, game week 5 in the Premier League season proved yet again that the form book means nothing when it comes to predicting Premier League games. Goals, drama, debuts and controversial decisions were all at the forefront of the Premier League headlines, providing unprecedented entertainment for football fans worldwide. Here are some of the key things that were learnt over the weekend.
What a start for Mangala
The eagerly anticipated debut of Mangala did not disappoint as the Frenchman looked right at home alongside club captain Vincent Kompany. Mangala was arguably up against one of the world’s most physical strikers in Diego Costa, however Mangala didn’t only rise to the occasion, he made the Chelsea star look ordinary. His pace, strength and composure will bolster an already star studied Manchester City side. His physical attributes suit the speed of the English game and with a consistent run of games alongside Kompany, their partnership will only improve. Early viewing of Mangala suggests that City have found a real gem.
Who writes these footballing scripts?
What a reaction Frank Lampard received from Chelsea fans when he came on for Manchester City however, few would have predicted that Lampard would come back to haunt Jose Mourinho and Chelsea. Lampard seemed overawed by the situation but his professionalism shone through and his love with the Chelsea fans was shown by the standing ovation he received after the game. Nevertheless, Lampard’s late goal could prove crucial in the title race. The way Lampard handed the situation shows the class he possesses and he has definitely gained even more respect in the footballing world.
Good weekend for Arsenal
With none of Arsenal’s title rivals picking up maximum points over the weekend, Arsenal’s comprehensive win away at in form Villa was the perfect antidote after a disappointing European night against Dortmund. The biggest relief for Wenger would have been the performance of Mezut Ozil; the World Cup winner has been the scapegoat for Arsenal’s indifferent start to the season. Ozil was back to his mercurial best against Villa and when on form, Ozil can be a constant menace. Furthermore, Danny Welbeck managed to get off the mark for Arsenal. Welbeck will be delighted to get his first goal and will look to push on and get more goals for his new team and cement his placing in the starting eleven. If Welbeck keeps scoring and Wenger manages to keep his squad fresh and motivated, then Arsenal have all the capabilities to mount a serious title challenge this season.
Unpredictability of the Premier League looms large
Apart from Arsenal, none of the household teams managed to record a victory this past weekend. After Leicester’s incredible comeback against Manchester United on Sunday, West Brom’s win at White Hart Lane went under the radar. It was a great win for Alan Irvine’s men and one which few had predicted, while on the same day Crystal Palace went to Everton and managed to pull off a great scalp. On Saturday Night Football, a new look and much improved West Ham shocked Liverpool and made it an all-round tough weekend for the top sides. These weekends are what makes the Premier League better than the rest as any team in any fixture have the ability to clinch 3 points.
Alan Pardew is fighting
2-0 down at home to Hull City and the mood at St James Park had hit rock bottom. Many have predicted that Pardew’s time at Newcastle United could come to an abrupt end given the recent run of results. The fight back shown by his players was one that must have thrilled Pardew and showed that his players are still behind him. Papisse Cisse was the hero for Newcastle; Cisse scored 2 for Newcastle and clinched a point for the Geordies. Pardew will need to significantly improve results if he is to start regaining the faith of the fans. Could the point against Hull be the start of a much needed upturn in form?
Great Start for Leicester
Leicester’s comeback win against Manchester United epitomized all of the fighting qualities that the club possess. Jamie Vardy typified the clubs hard work and gave real hope to lower league players; it was only 3 years ago that Vardy was playing non-league football with Fleetwood Town. Vardy was a constant menace to United’s defence and turned in an outstanding performance. The game against United was Esteban Cambiasso’s first start for the Foxes and he played a pivotal role in Leicester’s comeback and it appears that the additions of him and Ulloa have bolstered Leicester’s side. Considering Leicester have already played Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton, they will be ecstatic with their start and judging by early season performances, Leicester look the best equipped out of the promoted teams to stay up this year.
Manchester United- From the sublime to the ridiculous
The game against Leicester summed up Manchester United right now. Yes United’s forward line is scary, but teams are licking their lips when they face United’s defence. Losing the experience of Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra in the summer is looking more and more prominent as the weeks go by. There were however positives for Manchester United, with the forwards and Di Maria in particular looking a constant threat and in Herrera, they finally have a central midfielder that can score goals. It’s too early to write United off but taking into account the teams that United have faced, Van Gaal’s men would of hoped to of have had more points on the board. January will be key for Van Gaal and defensive reinforcements should be high on the agenda.
Liverpool’s struggles continue
After an indifferent start, Liverpool needed to go to West Ham and prove that the defeat against Aston Villa a week earlier was only a blip. The response that Rodgers and Liverpool fans craved never materialised, with the performance against West Ham being subdued and lethargic. With Liverpool being back in the Champions League they have something that they didn’t have to contend with last season, extra midweek games. Many pundits have questioned Steven Gerrard’s involvement in every game this season as Gerrard has not been at his influential best this season and in some games this year, he has looked leggy. Rodgers may have to start using Gerrard sparingly and saving his captain for the big games. Liverpool’s defence was their downfall last year and early indications suggest that those problems have not been solved. With their talisman Luis Suarez no longer around, Liverpool are going to struggle to reach their goal scoring exploits of last season.
West Ham/Allardyce- Change of footballing philosophy
The pressure was on Sam Allardyce before the season had even started with fans having become tired and disgruntled with Allardyce’s direct tactics. Allardyce knew that he had to change his philosophy in order to stay at the club and win over the owners and fans. Signing the likes of Zarate, Song and Valencia were massive for West Ham and early season form suggests that the new players have settled in to life at Upton Park well. Allardyce’s new look team look comfortable on the ball and have the ability to spring surprise results, as they did against Liverpool. It’s been a great start for West Ham and fans will be hoping that the club can continue to play good football and produce positive results.
Everton leaking goals
Roberto Martinez’s Everton have not got off to the best of starts. Last season Everton’s defence was rock solid and proved very hard to unlock, however his year has been significantly different, with Everton shipping the most goals in the league and looking very leaky at the back. Is it time for John Stones to become the vocal point at the heart of the Everton defence? Everton also have to contend with the added pressure and games of the Europa League and as Everton are not blessed with the biggest of squads, competing in Europe could hinder this year’s league position. Martinez will hope that his Everton side hit form soon and that talismanic figure Ross Barkley returns to boost the Toffees.