5 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend
New stars at United, Arsenal fans start to get very optimistic and Liverpool show a bit of fight.
Fergie unveils some new faces
While some have been predicting the demise of Patrice Evra at Old Trafford for a while, the debut of Alexander Buttner may hasten the Frenchman’s departure. The Dutchman arrived from Vitesse this summer and while it was hoped by many he would get his shot, Fergie threw him in against Wigan and he had a fine debut.
Scoring a goal certainly helped grab the headlines for Buttner and while he will face stiffer tests than Wigan in his Manchester United career, it was as good a start as he could have hoped. Another newbie, Nick Powell, also scored on his first game at Old Trafford. United may still rely on old heads like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs a little too much but fresh legs are making an impact too.
City are very leaky
Defending champions Manchester City have conceded six goals in their opening four games and they have yet to manage a clean sheet. Last term, they conceded just 27 all season and defensive solidity was the hallmark of Roberto Mancini’s team.
We know that the Italian described Stoke’s goal on Saturday as more akin to basketball than football but Stoke managed just two attempts on target in the game, and it proved enough to share the points. Southampton almost embarrassed them on opening day and even QPR scored on them.
City aren’t in crisis, far from it, but with Arsenal next up at the Etihad, a clean sheet will be required if City are to get anything from the game.
Wenger bus is revving up
With RVP walking away in the summer, many Arsenal fans were fearful of the season ahead. Now some are looking at taking a few days off in May for title celebrations and pricing up ‘Champions 2012-13’ tattoos at the local tattoo parlour.
The Gunners hit Southampton for six at the weekend and even though Saints gifted them two own goals, Arsenal continued their early season excellence. They conceded their first goal of the campaign after a blunder by Wojciech Szczesny but aside from that they looked solid at the back and dangerous in attack. City at the Etihad next week should be a cracker, and a real test of their title credentials.
‘Pool show appetite for the fight
After an emotional week at Anfield, it wasn’t surprising to see Liverpool begin flatly against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. The home side weren’t much better but in their solitary first-half attack, Steven Fletcher scored.
Liverpool were better in the second half, with a number of players peppering shots on goal before Luis Suarez poked an equaliser home. The Uruguayan was booked for diving in the first half but he makes up for most of his faults with his industry and effort. Brendan Rodgers’ side may still be searching for a first Premier League win of the season, but they have a bit of fight, which is start.
Reading and Southampton have gotten off to dreadful starts to life back in the top flight. The Saints are pointless and while they had a tough fixture list, the signs aren’t good that they will be able to turn it around. Reading were picked apart by Spurs on Sunday and defensively they look very shakey.
Both currently sit in the bottom three and while they both play attractive football, they seem to lack the steel to back it up and prevent themselves being torn apart. We hope they find their feet and settle in but the early signs aren’t good.