Here’s our pick of the action from week two of the Premier League season…
It’s never too early for crisis talks
After losing 3-1 to Norwich on Saturday, and 4-2 to Leicester on the opening day, Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat called in his team on Sunday for crisis talks.
To outsiders looking in this may seem like extreme measures, but it’s the manner of those defeats that will really worry the club’s hierarchy, especially as those defeats have come against potential relegation rivals.
The Black Cats looked disinterested against The Canaries, with many of them failing to close down and understand their defensive roles. Lee Cattermole, Sunderland captain hasn’t exactly been inspirational either, as he’s looked dazed during games and often lost his head making rash tackles.
This week he was joined in midfield by new boy Yann M’Vila, who was lucky to play after being sent off for Sunderland’s u-21’s prior to this game. Once a French international, M’Vila offered little resistance in midfield, a poor disciplinary record has seen the Frenchman yet to settle at a club and this has hardly been the ideal start.
Advocaat said this week “We still hope to bring in one or two players more”. Unfortunately for Sunderland their transfer window hasn’t exactly gone according to plan with Leroy Fer failing a medical and Adnan Januzaj set to join on loan, before impressing at Manchester United. On the positive side it appears Fabio Borini could finally join the club after a successful loan spell in 2012/13 season, scoring seven goals in 32 appearances.
This week they face Garry Monk’s Swansea team, who have looked very sharp in their first two matches, the Sunderland faithful will be hoping for a change in fortune from the two games so far.
Manchester clubs fast out of the blocks
After two games, both the sky blue and red side of Manchester can boast that they have won two out of two. Albeit in different styles.
Manchester City showcased on Monday Night Football what they’re all about beating West Bromwich Albion 3-0 away. Yaya Toure often linked with a move away this summer, showed everybody why Pellegrini was right to keep him, smashing in a goal and setting up another.
Chelsea clearly didn’t get the memo as they suffered the same fate this Sunday losing 3-0, after goals from Aguero, Kompany and Fernandinho sealed the points for City. It was a statement of intent from Pellegrini’s side who look rejuvenated and fresh after a good pre-season.
After the match, the Chilean said: “These players are hungry and angry. Now they want to win every game.”
On the red side of Manchester, United will also be happy with their start to the 2015/16 campaign. Two clean sheets and two wins over Tottenham and Aston Villa sees them currently sat in 3rd.
Whilst they haven’t been the prettiest of victories, United have rediscovered that skill of winning ugly which hasn’t been seen since Sir Alex Ferguson left.
The performances so far though will concern united fans, especially Rooney’s ability to lead the line, he’s looked very uncomfortable playing up top and consistently dropped deep during the game, having only one touch of the football in Villa’s penalty area.
New recruit Memphis Depay has looked sharp in his first few games, but also squandered opportunities to net his first goal, if United want to maintain a title challenge they will need to sign a striker before the deadline.
Leicester City surprisingly find themselves sitting in between the Manchester clubs in 2nd. After a spectacular win over Sunderland, they followed that up this week by beating West Ham away.
For the Foxes fans the bubble is yet to burst, they’ve carried their form from last season into this one, winning nine of their last 11 games.
After appointing the Tinkerman Claudio Ranieri, Leicester fans feared the worst, but it’s been a dream start, much thanks to the great form of winger Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian has scored three goals in the opening two games and is fast becoming a feared man for any left-back.
New Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki also got on the score sheet and it was set-up by Jamie Vardy, who after a controversial week desperately needed a good performance. It appears Gokhan Inler is also set to join the club, who will be a well suited replacement for the much missed Esteban Cambiasso.
It only appears to be good news coming out of the midlands club and they’re riding a wave of success. This week they welcome Tottenham to the King Power and they will fancy themselves against a Spurs team who have failed to register a win as of yet.
Spurs overdependent on Kane
This weekend Spurs were leading Stoke City 2-0 after 70 minutes, when manager Mauricio Pochettino was forced to bring off Harry Kane due to injury. He replaced him with winger Erik Lamela and Spurs no longer had an outlet, this turned the game on its head and Stoke pulled it back to 2-2.
The unfortunate situation only reiterated how short The Lily Whites are in the striking department, with Roberto Soldado on his way out and Emmanuel Adebayor being left in the dark, Spurs are currently way too dependent on Harry Kane.
The Englishmen has failed to score in the first two games, and is clearly lacking match fitness. With the window close to shutting Spurs desperately need to find back-up or a potential strike partner for Kane.
Two men that fit the bill and have been heavily linked with White Hart Lane are Saido Berahino of West Brom and Charlie Austin of QPR, both of which have proved they have Premier League goals in them.
Spurs appear to be closing in on the signing of Berahino, but if they can’t strike a deal they will have a real crisis on their hands, especially if Kane can’t hit the heights of last season. The pressure is on Pochettino to solve this issue before the window shuts in just a matter of weeks.
Mourinho’s got the blues
Defending champions Chelsea have only managed one point from six so far this season, and whilst it’s too early to hit the panic button, they now face an uphill battle to catch up with the Manchester clubs.
On Sunday The Blues travelled to the Etihad, but left empty handed losing 3-0 after an underwhelming performance. Jose Mourinho branded the result ‘fake’ saying it could have easily been different had Eden Hazard converted a chance at 1-0 down.
The Chelsea boss did something he’s never done before in his managerial career, he substituted John Terry. Mourinho has trusted his captain Terry in over a 170 games, but he swapped him for Kurt Zouma at half-time.
When explaining the change he put it down to Zouma’s pace as he knew Man’City would look to counter, although many believe it was an in-direct statement to the owners to go and sign John Stones from Everton.
Either way all is not harmonious at the bridge and things will need to improve fast, including Branislav Ivanovic’s form as he’s been the brunt of criticism after looking a shadow of his former self in Chelsea’s back four.
They face West Bromwich Albion away next week, in search of their first three points.