Each week, ‘In On Goal’ co-hosts Colin Murray and Dion Dublin give your their expert reaction and analysis from the weekend’s Premier League football. Don’t forget to tune into ‘In On Goal’ every Friday for your weekly football fix with previews and predictions of the weekend’s Premier League action.
Manchester City’s season goal tally now stands at 29 and they seem to be on a totally different planet to anyone else in the league at the moment.
Granted, Guardiola has got exquisite players at his disposal, something that Joey Barton pointed out yesterday, when questioning whether Pep would be able to play the same way with Burnley’s squad, for example.
Their pace and their movement going forward is frightening, and when you have someone with the class of Kevin De Bruyne in the middle of the park finding these runners with the quality of balls that he delivers week in week out, it’s difficult to see anybody knocking them off their perch at the moment.
This was the week that saw them move 2 points clear in the title race and add substantially to their goal difference. Is it too early to predict they’ll lift the Premier League trophy in May? Yes probably, but we’ll do it now anyway as they look to be head and shoulders the best team this season, and their so -alled title rivals did nothing to change that opinion this weekend.
The big featured game of the weekend, Liverpool v Manchester United was so dull that it ended up last in the running order on ‘Match of the Day’ on Saturday night. Lower down the bill than Swansea versus Huddersfield and Burnley versus West Ham.
It was a tepid affair, that started badly and got worse. These are two sides that would (at the start of the season anyway) have fancied themselves to mix it with the big boys and be challenging for the title. Liverpool’s leaky defence in recent weeks has shipped far too many goals and sees them currently sitting 8th in the league. That said, it’s only goal difference that separates them and ‘fellow title contenders’ Arsenal in 6th and Chelsea in 5th. That’s the same ‘fellow title contenders’ who lost to Watford and Crystal Palace respectively this weekend.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are all sat on 13 points after 8 games. Not disastrous figures, but certainly not championship winning form. However, the only stat that you have to look at is that they’re all now 9 points behind Manchester City who have 22 points from the same amount of games.
Will they make up that ground? Will they win three games without Manchester City picking up any points? It looks unlikely. The odds on Manchester City being crowned premier league champions 2017-2018 have been shortened by the bookies.
You’ll notice that Spurs and City’s neighbours Manchester United haven’t been mentioned yet. Spurs in third have been inconsistent to say the least. They only just won their first game at Wembley with a less than convincing 1-0 victory over Bournemouth. They have incredible talent going forward and in Harry Kane have a goalscorer capable of winning the golden boot this year, but they’re not Manchester City. They’ll give it a go this season but sadly won’t have the consistency needed I suspect.
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United would appear best equipped to challenge City and if Lukaku continues his goal scoring form this season (Saturday aside) then they have a real chance. But they’re the only ones realistically.
This is also discounting the other two sides in the top eight, Watford and Burnley. We saw what Leicester did two years ago under Claudio Ranieri and the two clubs possess two of the stand out managers in the league this season in Marco Silva and Sean Dyche. Like Ranieri, they are proving that teamwork, commitment and belief go a long way.
Elsewhere, a fantastic team performance from Crystal Palace saw them score their first goals of the season and earn their first points of the season. Chelsea were poor on Saturday, but take nothing away from some of the performances from the Palace players who are now hopefully starting their season, albeit a little later than the rest.
If only Ronald Koeman could somehow inspire his players to roll up their sleeves and give the sort of performance that they’re capable of. They’re not being helped by his team selection and baffling tactics at times, but Sunday’s insipid draw at Brighton did nothing to silence the doubters.
Had it not been for an injury time penalty converted by Wayne Rooney, this would have been another defeat for the Dutchman. He’s spent more than £150m this summer on the wrong players and seems to have no idea how to get the best from his expensively assembled squad. The Evertonians have lost patience with it, and he must surely be the bookies favourite to be the next big name in the Premier League sack race.
Don’t forget to tune into ‘In On Goal’ every Friday for your weekly football fix with previews and predictions of the weekend’s Premier League action.