EPL - 6 Thoughts from the Opening 2 Rounds of Fixtures

EPL - 6 Thoughts from the Opening 2 Rounds of Fixtures

United Looked Ominous In Win. 

It might have only been an overmatched Bournemouth and a Southampton side under new management, however Manchester United carried a swagger about them in cruising to 2 wins from 2 games. This is a Jose Mourinho side starting a season full of intent and winning with ease. It should send a shudder down their rivals' spine.  United carried a swagger that had been sadly lacking under David Moyes and Louie Van Gaal. Mourinho had his side in total control here as they asserted themselves on both games from about the half hour mark. Zlatan Ibrahimovich to me looks like a Didier Drogba type inspirational player. He might be 34 and in the twilight, however he has an air of authority and his goals have already been of high quality. Wayne Rooney looks to have a new lease of life in the number 10 role. United looked solid defensively with Eric Bailly impressive. With Paul Pogba making an exceptional second debut for United they look to be the team to beat. Pogba looked like the biggest kid in the playground just dominating and doing what he wanted. Mourinho is an outstanding front runner and once again he has come out of the blocks flying. Everyone else should be worried, very worried. 

Arsenal A Mess

Arsenal have started the season in typically haphazard manner claiming just 1 point from a possible 6. While Arsenal were better in their 0-0 draw against Champions Leicester City, they still looked far from a side ready to challenge for the title any time soon. They were a complete mess in losing 4-3 to Liverpool at the Emirates last Sunday. It is the third straight season Arsene Wenger's men have dropped their opening game at home in shambolic fashion. This side constantly manages to start seasons with players injured, and confusion reigning over whether they should enter the transfer window or not. With other big guns getting their business done early, Arsenal fans have a right to be furious about their lack of activity. Arsenal currently look short of quality at the back and up front. However Wenger and his Board are dallying once again. Arsene Wenger's contract is up at the end of this season and I just can't see him getting another one based on what I am seeing at the Emirates. Arsenal fans are already arguing with themselves in the stands and the mood around the club seems divisive. Arsenal will get some troops back - however the same problems still exist. They lack leaders, they lack winners, they don't win any transfer windows and they ship cheap goals too often. 

 Liverpool Typically Hot and Cold

Liverpool have thrilled and flopped in the opening 2 matches in a sign they are yet to overcome the inconsistency that plagued their last campaign. Liverpool were breathtaking at times in their 4-3 win at Arsenal at the Emirates.  Jurgen Klopp went wild celebrating some of the sublime individual and team goals that his team produced. He even went as far as apologising for over celebrating Liverpool's 4th goal as Arsenal staged a late fight back. However they showed they remain a real work in progress with a shock 2-0 loss at Burnley. With some great team work and individual brilliance the Reds are going to be a real handful going forward this year. However they still look all over the place having conceded 5 goals in the opening 2 fixtures. Klopp will need to address that quick smart if they have any intentions of being title contenders. 

Chelsea Might Have Their Bulldog Spirit Back

Chelsea are the sleeper in this title race. They still have a squad chock full of world class players - however they were so poor last year it's really hard to know where they are at. Chelsea at their best have never been an entertaining and free flowing side. Under the likes of Mourinho, Hiddink, Di Matteo and Mourinho a 2nd time around they have had a gritty core of senior players that thrived on winning rather then entertaining. They won trophies with defensive solidarity, bulldog spirit and a siege mentality. Last year Chelsea were a disaster as Mourinho seemed to lose the players and they lost everything they stood for. They were easy to beat, they looked totally disorganised, and unfit. Antonio Conte has come in and worked the players into the ground in the pre-season. He is an intense manager that demands high work rate and high intensity football. At Juventus he was known for winning above entertaining and that sits well with me as a Chelsea fan. Conte could not contain his emotions as he celebrated his side's late winners both scored by Diego Costa against West Ham and Watford. John Terry, Branislav Ivanovich, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard have all started this season in far more acceptable form than they did the last. Conte has stressed work, work and more hard work is the only answer to getting his Chelsea slackers back firing again after a dismal campaign last season. The early signs are good as Chelsea have grinded out wins which is what they built their success on. Chelsea have looked  more disciplined and organised with the addition of N'Golo Kante to midfield. Late wins over moderate opponents are not exactly going to put the fear into the 2 Manchester Clubs, however it will prick their attention that Chelsea are 2 wins from 2 and yet to gel. 

Hart On The Outer At Resurgent Manchester City

Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City charges are also sitting pretty with 2 wins from 2 games. City opened their campaign in unconvincing fashion in securing a late winner at home to beat Sunderland 2-1. However they had a swagger about them in trouncing Stoke 4-1 away from home. The English Press always wondered what Pep could do on a wild and windy place like Stoke. Well he did win and in emphatic fashion. However it might be curtains for England International Joe Hart at Manchester City after Pep Guardiola banished him to the bench for the opening 2 games. Guardiola is after another high profile goal keeper in the transfer window, with the writing well and truly on the wall for Hart. Back up goal keeper Willy Cabellero was given the nod to face Sunderland and Stoke. Guardiola seems intent on having a keeper who is accomplished at playing out from the back with Claudio Bravo from Barcelona rumoured to be on his way. It is a big call from Pep to drop one of the City fans favourite sons. However he has shown in the past there is little room for sentiment for players that don't fit in with his vision of how football should be played. 

Hull The Surprise Package

Hull players managed to put aside the turmoil surrounding their club with a home upset of Champions Leicester City and a win on the road at Swansea in a stunning start to their Premier League season. With Steve Bruce resigning before a ball was kicked, Hull started the season with an interim manager and huge protests by club supporters about the current ownership. It was a fairly toxic environment to start however under interim boss Mike Phelan the players appear united and strong for now.  Whether they can keep it up over 38 games remains a big question - however Phelan is doing a great job and might well win the job on a full time basis.