1. Can Chelsea avoid the Blues? You have to feel for Roberto Di Matteo. Not only winning the FA Cup and the Champions League hasn’t been enough to receive a formal endorsement from Roman Abramovich, now he sees Chelsea’s best start to the Premier League in seven years overshadowed by John Terry’s court case and Ashley Cole’s petulance on Twitter. The Chelsea boss deserves credit for his side’s blistering start but now face an almighty task to keep the club’s reputation intact. Will he raise or fold? Spurs up next.
2. Fergie’s hail Rooney. If ever, in the history of the Premier League, there has been a side with undoubted bouncebackability, it is Manchester United. The Red Devils had looked hopeless a week ago against Spurs and a trip to Newcastle was hardly an occasion to relish, but Fergie’s new-found bold approach ensured United grasped the game by the scruff of its neck. Whisky nose stuck his left nut out and played Rooney in midfield, as Newcastle were no match for an attacking Manchester United.
3. QPR still looking for their Sparky. A year ago, after seven games, newly-promoted QPR sat comfortably in eleventh place on the table, having won two and draw two for a respectable return of eight points. Twelve months, a last-gasp escape and a very busy transfer window later, they find themselves rock bottom and are yet to register their first win. Tony Fernandes’ backing of Mark Hughes is commendable, but even Derby County in 2007-08 (when the Rams went on to register the lowest point total in the Premier League in his current 20-teams format) had more points at this stage.
4. Konè-stly good business. Roberto Martinez has unearthed a few gems in his transfer dealings (see Mauro Boselli), but it looks like he has struck gold this time. Following Arouna Konè’s performances this season, many would argue the Ivorian is well on the way to justifying his £4m price tag. Three goals in total and two assists, one of each against Everton last Saturday, Wigan fans will have some more of that!
5. Liverpool hit the post, but can Rodgers keep his? Things are not great for Brendan Rodgers – against Stoke, Liverpool failed to score for the second time in league matches at Anfield and still haven’t won at home…the pressure is mounting. Brendan Rodgers lauded the fans’ support after the final whistle, but even the most optimistic Liverpool fan would struggle to deny that their team is in exactly the same situation where they found themselves in two seasons ago with Roy Hodgson at the helm. Also, loaning Andy Carroll out claiming that he doesn’t fit the team’s football philosophy was plausible until Martin Skrtel had to play centre-forward for the last ten minutes of a game.
6. Left it be. If, as it seems highly probable, the FA decides to ban Ashley Cole, at least Roy Hodgson can find some solace in Leighton Baines’ wonderful run of form. The Everton left-back is having arguably the best season of his career yet, at both ends of the pitch. Baines’ penalty rescued a late point for Everton on the weekend as the blue half of Merseyside sits comfortably in fourth place.
7. Saints are sinners at the back. The majority of newly-promoted clubs are worried about being good enough to score goals in the top-flight. Goals obviously win games, but so do defence solidity and organisation. Southampton might have narrowly avoided defeat against Fulham on Sunday, but the two goals they conceded mean they’ve now let in 20 in seven games, eight of them at home. Nigel Adkins need to sort out the defensive frailties if the Saints are to avoid the drop.
8. Lambert the Villain? Paul Lambert is human after all. Twelve months after steering Norwich City to twelfth spot on the back of consecutive promotions, the Scotsman finds himself involved in the sorry mess that Villa fans have become accustomed to – a mixture of overpaid players surrounded by a supporting cast simply not good enough. Sunday’s defeat at Spurs was Villa’s fourth in seven games and leaves them only two points above the relegation zone. At this stage last season, under the much maligned and boring-football enthusiast Alex McLeish, the Villans were seventh in the table, with a record of two wins and five draws.
9. AVB’s finding his feet at WHL. Turns out that Andrè Villas-Boas isn’t half bad. Sunday’s win against Villa was Spurs’ fourth win on the trot and they are now fifth in the table, level on points with Everton and West Brom and only a point behind the two Manchester clubs. With none of the sloppy defending that characterised Chelsea during AVB’s spell in charge at Stamford Bridge, Spurs look like the genuine top four club that Daniel Levy imagined them to be when he hired the Portuguese.
10. Baggies flying higher and higher. 14 points in seven games are West Bromwich’s best ever start to a Premier League campaign. Steve Clarke’s men continued their splendid form by beating QPR 3-2 on Saturday with another brilliant display from Garth Crooks England hopeful James Morrison who scored one and assisted another (by the way Garth he is Scottish!). Unexpected bright starts have the potential to backfire spectacularly, but can Clarke keep the good ship Baggie on course for the whole season? Time will tell.
How have your team started this season? Are you happy with the manager? Who is playing well and who is playing badly? Let us know, we want to hear from you! Come and join the banter on Twitter and keep up with the latest on Facebook.