It was another fantastic weekend in the Barclays Premier League and it’s not over yet as we can look forward to Arsenal and Liverpool doing battle in the Monday night war, but here’s five things we did learn from the weekend’s fixtures.
Stoke have a keeper
When Chelsea signed Asmir Begovic, Stoke lost a genuine world class keeper, and they say a top class goalie can save you 7-10 points a season. The Potters needed to address the whole left by the Bosnian international and they signed Shay Given to add experience.
However up stepped England’s u-21 goalkeeper Jack Butland to claim the number one spot, he joined Stoke in 2013, probably on the basis that Begovic was rumoured to leave, but a move didn’t materialise and Butland found himself waiting in the wings. He was sent out on loan twice to gain experience impressing at both Derby and Leeds.
This season Mark Hughes put his faith in the youngster promoting him to the number one spot and already it’s paying off. He produced three sensational saves against Norwich to earn Stoke a point, and manager Hughes said ‘they would have come away empty handed if it hadn’t been for his goalie’.
The finest of the saves came when Nathan Redmond was sent through 1 on 1, but a sharp dive to his right meant Butland denied his England team-mate a third goal of the season.
The young shot-stopper will certainly have a lot to learn on his journey and mistakes will be inevitable, however performances like this one will definitely put him on Roy Hodgson’s radar, so don’t be surprised if he’s selected for England’s senior squads in the near future.
Wilson, Wilson, Wilson?
Callum Wilson fired three goals past West Ham’s Adrian to ensure Bournemouth gained their first three points of the season in a dramatic thriller. With Wilson scoring three goals all that comes to mind is Tom Hanks shouting “Wilson” in the film Cast Away, and this game certainly produced a match worthy of Hollywood.
The Cherries appeared to have choked after leading 2-0 and throwing it away, but Callum Wilson converted a penalty late on to ensure Bournemouth took all the points in a 4-3 spectacle.
It’s their first win of the season and it’ll settle them to know they can win games in this division. In Wilson they also have a goal scorer capable of hitting the net consistently which is needed for any team fighting relegation.
Eddie Howe will be less than pleased with the defending side of his teams performance and the ability to kill the game off, but his team showed character and refused to give up despite being dragged back to 2-2.
So we now know Bournemouth aren’t to be taken lightly and they’ll be looking to replicate this result when they take on the in-form Leicester next weekend, hoping to register their first points at the Vitality Stadium.
Say hello to my little friend (Pedro)
Spanish international Pedro signed for Chelsea this week and it didn’t take him long to impress at his new club. His small intricate figure is very similar to the likes of Messi and David Silva, and he proved against West Bromwich he can play like them too.
After 20 minutes the former Barcelona man broke forward and scored from the edge of the box, after a big deflection, not the prettiest finish from the Spaniard, but what a way to introduce yourself to life in England.
Chelsea fans will be gleaming with happiness as Pedro looked threatening all game and quite frankly showed all the qualities that Eden Hazard has in the past. He wasn’t content with just scoring either, he also went on to assist Chelsea’s second and third goals.
It is believed that Pedro was about to join Manchester United, before Jose Mourinho persuaded him to join the London club, and so far it’s paid off perfectly and at £21 million it looks like Chelsea have landed a bargain.
Man City are refreshed
Manchester City maintained their 100% start to the season after beating Everton 2-0 away. Despite it being very early in the season the Sky Blues have looked dominant and assertive in all their games so far and it’s been very reminiscent of the Manchester City side that won the title in 2013/14.
City’s team hasn’t changed that much since they were champions, but last season after looking pretty poor throughout, many thought they would need an overhaul of players with Yaya Toure’s form particularly in question.
However we haven’t seen much of an overhaul, instead it’s been more of a reboot, the Toure doubters who believed he should be shipped off to Inter Milan are now eating their words, as he looks powerful, refreshed, relaxed and a player to be feared once again.
On top of that Captain Vincent Kompany has started every game so far in defence, often a key part of Manchester City’s successes, his fitness is pivotal to the team keeping goals out and he’s already netted two himself.
City’s new £49 million signing, Raheem Sterling, is also going about his business quietly, whilst has yet to get off the mark goals wise, he adds pace, vision, and his ability to link up with Aguero and Silva have meant City consistently look threatening going forward.
Whilst you certainly can’t win anything in August, Pellegrini’s men have made a statement to their title rivals and they have the resources to add to their squad before the deadline if they feel they need to.
Watford’s goals have gone missing?
The Hornets netted 91 goals in the Championship last year and they opened up their account on the first day of the Premier League season scoring twice against Everton.
Although in their last two games at Vicarage Road they’ve failed to score, strange for a team that usually thrives in the attacking department with the likes of Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo and Matej Vydra firing them to promotion with heaps of goals.
It’s not a crisis as of yet, but teams that don’t score goals are usually the ones that find themselves in the relegation places, so Watford will be keen to rectify the problem and perhaps shooting practice will be on the agenda this week at London Colney.
Despite the lack of goals newcomers Watford remain unbeaten having drawn their first three games and will be able to take lots of positives from their start. However they face Man City next week so it could be another goalless game for the Hornets.