1) Blue is the colour (part 1). If any of you doubted Chelsea’s credentials this season, Saturday’s result should have cleared the air once and for all. The Blues are here to stay and are as genuine a title contender as any. The style might have changed, but the results remain – so far – the same as they have done the last few seasons. Eden Hazard looks more confident with every game he plays and Mata has been reinvigorated by his two-week break. The league won’t be a two-horse race between United and City.
2) Blue is the colour (part 2), so much for the old cliche of Everton being slow-starters. David Moyes’ men have sprung out of the blocks with the same speed we became accustomed to during the Olympic extravaganza this summer. After his double against Southampton, Nikica Jelavic could be ready to start banging in goals for fun, while Fellaini has shown what a big player he is for the Toffees as he continues to fill a Tim Cahill shaped hole, with another assured display. Kevin Mirallas looks a shrewd signing and Naismith looks handy – Everton’s XI are quite the potent force…but is the squad deep enough?
3) Second time lucky for AVB? One could have been forgiven for thinking that Tottenham had just won the league on Saturday, such was AVB’s celebration when the final whistle went at Old Trafford and that’s without mentioning the fans…but then again, it was the first win in 23 years and the pressure has been building. While the Portugeezer’s reaction might have been slightly over the top, perhaps so were the critics he was subject to in the early weeks of his North London’s tenure. Spurs may have lost Luka Modric, but Mousa Dembele, Clint Dempsey and Jan Vertonghen are starting to impress, and not just in financial terms as the seem to fit perfectly in to AVB’s system. If Spurs can replicate their Old Trafford showing they’ll be a tough test for anyone this season. Oh, and who knows, Hugo Lloris might eventually get a game too.
4) Choc United? No, it’s not a reference to one of Rio Ferdinand’s rather misjudged tweets, but United really do resemble a Swiss chocolate – crunchy on the outside (read firepower) and melted (or thereabout) on the inside (read midfield). After signing Robin van Persie, Fergie was adamant that United won’t let another title slip on goal difference, but the “You score four, we score five” approach is a rather dangerous approach as United’s lack of solidity and dynamism in midfield gets exposed week in, week out. Oh and Rio Ferdinand looks like he running on a treadmill rather than a football pitch.
5) The Baggies are flying high! At the start of the season, Steve Clarke was probably everyone’s favourite to become the first casualty of the season, but the former Chelsea no2 has done a fine job so far at The Hawthorns. West Brom have picked up three wins and a two draws so far and while the main focus will remain to avoid relegation, at this rate a top-eight finish could be a realistic opportunity. Fair play.
6) Liverpool are back! Well not really, that was hugely over the top, but their demolition of Norwich showed there is life in the old dog yet, whilst the victory bought Brendan Rodgers so breathing space. Suarez showed he can finish with 3 goals from 3 shots on target (3 off target) and he can head up Liverpool’s attack. Nuri Sahin looks to be starting to reach match fitness and Raheem Sterling is continuing to impress, but there is still along way to go and consistency is needed.
7) Second year syndrome. As tedious and predictable a clichè as it might be, these three words describe Norwich’s season so far with pinpoint accuracy. Back-to-back promotions followed by a 12th-place finish perhaps set the bar unrealistically high, but the Canaries really have struggle so far this season. Paul Lambert’s departure hasn’t helped, as Chris Hughton is a totally different kind of manager, and neither has Grant Holt’s lacklustre start to the season, the club’s top scorer last season has netted only once so far, but continues to put in plenty of effort.
Fletch is the man, possibly signing of the season, well at the moment. Many questioned Martin O’Neill’s decision to spend £13.3m on a player that had just been relegated, but the Scotsman has since repaid the financial effort made by Sunderland. Steven Fletcher has five goals in six games while his team-mates have a combined grand total of, ehm, none. That’s where the problems start for the Black Cats.
9) Hero or Villan? The summer, as usual, promised a lot for Aston Villa. With the appointment of Paul Lambert Villa fans hoped to see their club climb out of the relegation zone they had too often flirted in the last few seasons, but the start hasn’t exactly been promising. Following Sunday’s 1-1 draw between Villa and West Brom, Baggies manager Steve Clarke said: “Maybe that is a measure of how far we have come that we are coming away from Villa Park with a point and feeling disappointed.”…Or an indication of how far in the wrong direction Villa have gone.
10) Table makes tough Reading for the Royals. By drawing against Newcastle (admittedly after Demba Ba showed he’s a complete striker who can even score with his hands) Reading equalled the worst start for a newly-promoted side since Derby in the 2007-08 season. The Rams record at the end of that season? (Reading fans look away now) W1 D8 L 29 F 20 A 89. Ouch.