I always like to wait until the international break (and the closing of the summer transfer window) to comment on how the Premier League season may pan out – though making an accurate judgement after just three games each is ridiculous really but here goes anyways ;DDDDDDD – In table order:-
Chelsea – Pre-season title favourites and they have done nothing to disprove this theory. Did most their transfer business early doors (the signing of Cesc Fabregas was a masterstroke) – supplemented by Loic Remy, once busted flush Torres was loaned to AC Milan towards the end of the transfer window. Diego Costa has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water – strong, powerful with guile and clinical – to be honest just like the whole team. If you finish above this team – you will likely be the champions – good luck.
Swansea City – A great start to the season – smashed the LVG feel good factor on opening day and have gone from strength to strength. Garry Monk has continued the tradition of easy on the eye football but has added some real steel within the team. Ashley Williams and Jonjo Shelvey have been imperious and the return of Gylfi Sigurdsson has been a masterstroke as his control in the middle has allowed Dyer, Routledge and Bony to cause havoc amongst opposition defences.
Aston Villa – After a summer of turmoil as owner, Randy Lerner, put the club up for sale, many Villa fans were fearing a season of struggle. Well their start has offered them hope with 7 points from 9. Manager, Paul Lambert brought in Roy Keane as assistant over the close season and their partnership is very fruitful as we stand. With the return of Christian Benteke on the horizon this may be a much better season than the supporters may well have thought.
Manchester City – The Champions have had a quietish summer – hampered somewhat by FFP rules but their transfer business was conducted quietly and effectively with Mangala, Sagna, Caballero and Fernando all being brought in to bolster the squad. An up and down start with defeat in the traditional curtain raiser of the Community Shield, followed by two brilliant victories once the real sparring began in the league. However a shock home defeat to Stoke has raised a few questions. However with the quality they have at their disposal, like Chelsea, if you finish above them you will likely be lifting the championship trophy this season.
Liverpool – After their near miss last year, Brendan Rodgers has beefed up his squad with a 100m+ summer transfer outlay after the departure of Luis Suarez. After a battling win over Southampton in their first league match, a defeat to Manchester City suggested they had a long way to go to consider themselves the real deal this season. However a peerless performance at Tottenham showed they may have what it takes to win their first title in 25 years. It would be foolish to write off the Merseysider’s with their strong, disciplined and pacey squad.
Tottenham Hotspur – Mauricio Pochettino is the latest manager charged with fulfilling the ambitions of Chairman, Daniel Levy and lead the North London side to a return to the Champions League. Four wins out of four (in all competitions) gave fans hope, however a home thumping by Liverpool (it’s now 12-0 against these opponents in their last 3 matches) brought them back down to earth especially as they were completely dominated again by a top team. With Levy’s firing history, Poch is now under pressure to rectify their weaknesses and fast.
Arsenal – The North London team have at last become big spenders with around a 80m outlay over the summer on Ospina, Debuchy, Chambers, a world star in Alexis Sanchez and the deadline day transfer of Danny Welbeck. A dominant 3-0 Community Shield victory over champions Manchester City gave fans hope that Arsenal could challenge for the title. However after scraping past Crystal Palace on the opening day, two draws have followed (albeit one a stirring comeback from 2 down against Everton). Lack of a defensive cover may be an issue; however the midfield quality they have will ensure they will be there or thereabouts through the season.
Southampton – After a summer of turmoil – manager, Mauricio Pochettino – GONE!!! captain, Adam Lallana – GONE!!! Lambert, Shaw, Lovren, Chambers – GONE!!! New manager Ronald Koeman has steadied the ship with new signings Tadic, Pelle, Forster and Long and their start to the season has been much better than many people would think. They were unfortunate to lose at Liverpool, a home draw with West Brom was disappointing but a fantastic away victory at West Ham has lifted the summer gloom around the club.
Hull City – A brilliant return season to the Premier League was nearly topped off with a cup final victory, but alas it was not to be. However Steve Bruce’s team have had an adequate start to this important campaign. A win at QPR followed by a battling home draw against Stoke, where even with 10 men, they were denied victory by some poor refereeing. A loss at Aston Villa was disappointing but this came after a Europa League match, which saw them go out of that competition on away goals. This may be a blessing in disguise and with Premier League hardened signings such as Livermore, Ince, Dawson and Snodgrass (though now injured which is a blow) – coming into the club as well as deadline day signings of the calibre of Hatem Ben Arfa, Momo Diame and the exciting Abel Hernandez, I foresee an exciting season ahead for the Tigers.
Stoke City – A great first season in charge for Mark Hughes which brought about a top half finish for The Potters for the first time in Premier League history, hence a lot of positivity was there going into this season. However a shock home defeat on opening day set them back, but they have responded well with a fortunate draw at Hull and then a fantastic victory at the champions, Manchester City, a modicum of revenge for Hughes after his sacking in 2009. If a similar season to the 2013/14 is to be had more performances like the one at the Etihad are needed.
West Ham United – A close season of will they or wont they – in terms of whether they were going to dispense with the services of Sam Allardyce, if some fans had their way he’d be gone. Needless to say, Big Sam is still in situ, though a remit of ‘more attacking football’ has been ‘requested’ if you know what I mean. Three strikers and Teddy Sheringham as attack coach will help with this, though a win and two defeats (both at home) is not the ideal start. West Ham move to the Olympic Stadium in a couple of years and top flight football is a must for that first season. Is Sam the man to lead them? Improved results are required and fast.
Queens Park Rangers – Promoted last season thanks to Bobby Zamora’s last minute winner and with Harry Redknapp at the helm anything is possible. A much more sensible transfer policy has been brought in with young hungry players such as Caulker and Mutch brought in from Cardiff along with the experience of Rio Ferdinand and Sandro. Two defeats with five goals conceded in their first two games, I think tells us it will be a long hard season for the Hoops despite a morale boosting victory over Sunderland in their last league game.
Sunderland – The fact they are in the Premier league this season is an achievement. A fantastic run at the end of the last campaign saw them survive (including victories at Chelsea and Manchester United and a draw at Manchester City). They have recruited well in the summer in regards to defence and midfield reinforcements; however their lack of striking options is their problem as they have started the season well but have not been able to take their chances, hence only two points gained from the possible nine. Once their forward players find their scoring boots, they should not be scrabbling for survival come the end of the season.
Manchester United – An awful start for the fallen champions – who are now in crisis (until they start winning football matches), especially if you take into account the amount of money they have spent in the last three windows at the hands of Ed Woodward, who likes to disappear between July and start of the season!!!!!!! But he has actually pulled his finger out and despite paying over the odds he has now brought in the calibre of players that their fans cannot complain too much about, even though there is an arguement they have not bought players in the positions of high need and most of the buys should have been secured before the start of the season. With the massive cash outlay the target of 4th place is a minimum or their future spending will undoubtedly be effected. David Moyes thought he was under pressure, we will now see if the Louis Van Gaal philiosophy is still effective in todays modern day game.
Leicester City – Last years runaway Championship winners have had a promising start to their campaign. They have shown excellent attacking prowess and shown they are in the Premier League to cause the opposing teams problems than just to sit back. They have been behind three times in their home matches against Everton and Arsenal to attain draws and performed admirably in defeat to the title favourites Chelsea. It will be a hard season for Leicester but judging by their performances so far they will not end the season wondering what might have been.
Newcastle United – The pressure is building on Alan Pardew. Despite a diligent and well planned summer– (six players brought in for around 30 million pounds) they have not begun the season as expected. Yes they lost to the champions, Man City in their opening game, but two draws have followed and the Toon Army are not happy and they cannot blame the owner as he has put his hand in his pocket this past transfer window. I feel given time Newcastle will push up the table, but the sooner they do so the better it will be for the beleaguered boss.
Everton – If one team is in a false position this season it’s the Toffeemen of Everton. They have played some great football under Martinez (continuing on from last season); even in their defeat against Chelsea they kept pressuring the London team until two late goals broke their spirit and 3-6 was not a fair reflection of the game. However their inability to keep a lead is the reason why they have ended up winless in their first two games only managing two draws. They won’t be this low for that long, though work will needed to be done on their defensive structure as ten goals conceded in three games is far too many.
West Bromwich Albion – Alan Irvine was not universally lauded when he was given the managers job at The Hawthorns. After last season’s managerial issues, Jeremy Peace will be hoping for some stability throughout this season. Two draws in their first two games, but a 3-0 defeat to Swansea in their last outing has put them into the bottom three, which even though it is early days is not somewhere you want to be. With the fans underwhelmed improved results will be needed quickly.
Crystal Palace – Tony Pulis was Premier League manager of the year last season, however days before the season started the issues between himself and Steve Parish resulted in a parting of the ways. Two defeats followed and a season that fans were looking forward to was now becoming a nightmare. Neil Warnock has been appointed (his second stint as manager) now and the Londoners picked up their first point of the season with a battling draw at Newcastle (Wilf Zaha returning with a crucial goal). They will need to continue to put in performances like that to get themselves up the table.
Burnley – The bookies favourites to finish bottom let alone escape relegation. Burnley, were for me the team of the Championship last season. On a meagre budget they took it by storm to achieve promotion. Manager, Sean Dyche, has openly admitted that they have struggled to recruit players but they have made an adequate start to what they know will be a tough season. Defeats to Chelsea and Swansea (the only two teams with a 100% record too), then a more deserved draw against Manchester United followed which definitely showed that Burnley don’t just plan to just be making up the numbers this season.
Let me know what you think – you can also tweet me @biggishmouth or go to my facebook page at www.facebook.com/thebiggishmouth