By Russell Berrisford
With the second round of fixtures now completed my “Five Things to Look For in the EPL” have all been well and truly seen. Here is what happened;
1) Can Manchester City win on the road?- Yes. Their 3-2 win at Bolton wasn’t just a good three points, it demonsted that with Dzeko, Aguero and Silva playing up front coach Roberto Mancini has the attacking flair at his disposal to attack teams on the road, something that he was famously reluctant to do last year. The fact that they also concede goals could make City the most enjoyable side to watch this season (a thought that would have seemed borderline insane less than four months ago).
2) Are Arsenal or Liverpool in crisis?- Arsenal. For seventy minutes the game looked to be heading for an uneventful stalemate then Emmanuel Frimpong got sent off, Kenny Dalglish threw on Suarez and Meireles, and the match was turned on it’s head as the visitors scored two late goals. Arsenal also have an alarmingly high number of injuries to key players and face the second leg of their Champions League tie on Wednesday followed by a visit to Old Trafford in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger has done wonders for the club but for the first time in his stewardship the vultures are circling. It would be genuinely tragic if he left under a cloud after the number of great days he has given Arsenal supporters.
3) How bad are QPR?- Not too bad at all (unless Everton really are dire). QPR followed their 4-0 home defeat by Bolton with a 1-0 win at Goodison Park. Points away from home are like gold dust to promoted teams, as are clean sheets, so this will be a huge boost to the club and may even persuade the chairman to back manager Neil Warnock and bring in some much needed new players.
4) Are Chelsea title contenders?- Probably not. Their 2-1 win at home to West Brom was workmanlike rather than wonderful and they still can’t seem to click when Fernando Torres is leading the front line. Since the game they have signed Juan Mata from Valencia who will need to provide a creative spark and they are still pursuing Luka Modric who would definitely do the same. The big issue for new coach Andre Villa-Boas though is that he has to find a way to fade out the old guard and fade in the new without upsetting key players. A tough task.
5) How good are the Manchester United youngsters? – Very Good. With an average age of 23 they overpowered Tottenham 3-0 at Old Trafford. Wellbeck, Jones Cleverly and Smalling all looked made for the big stage and played with a pace and energy that Spurs couldn’t match. For the first time in a number of seasons United may actually be great fun to watch (as opposed to being ruthlessly efficient). Still the favourites for the title.
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