10 Stories That Have Defined The Premier League Season So Far
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With the grounds of Premier League teams silent this past week for the international break, it is a perfect time to take a breath and reflect on a crazy initial month of the season. These are the top ten stories of the first month:
1. CITY, CITY, CITY!!!
The dominant color of the Premier League during it’s first month of play was sky blue. Manuel Pellegrini’s side has looked untouchable in its four wins. On the offensive side, Manchester City is the highest scoring side in the Prem with 10 goals. Incredibly, Joe Hart and the sturdy back four have not conceded a single goal. In other words, they are an offensive juggernaut without any cracks at the back. But have they already got the title sewn up?
In a word, maybe. Chelsea, last year’s champions, swept their first four matches on their way to hoisting the trophy, yet Manchester City was able to whittle away an eight point advantage in the table at the end of November and found itself tied for first at the beginning of 2015. In other words, no lead is safe.
City’s lead will be tested this weekend as they travel to Selhurst Park in South London to face Crystal Palace, which sits second in the table. The league leaders will look to new arrival Kevin De Bruyne as they try to stay unblemished. De Bruyne hopes to bring the playmaking ability he flashed for Wolfsburg last year in the Bundesliga, where he set a record for most assists in a season (27) and became the first Belgian ever crowned Footballer of the Year by the Association of German Sports Journalists. De Bruyne will look to feed City’s other splashy summer signing, Raheem Sterling, who has had no problems making a home at the Etihad, scoring a goal and notching an assist in his first four games.
2. Chelsea In Need Of Medical Attention?
The defending champs had a tumultuous August that saw:
Manager Jose Mourinho lash out and suspend first-team doctor and fan favorite Eva Carneiro for running onto the pitch to attend to a downed Eden Hazard during the Blues first match against Swansea City, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
John Terry subbed at halftime for the first time ever in the Prem as the Blues were dismantled by Man City, 3-0.
The arrival of Pedro and his first goal within his first 20 minutes on the pitch in their win at West Brom Albion; their first and only of the season.
Failed attempts to pry John Stones from Everton and Paul Pogba from Juventus.
And, only the second home defeat for the Blues under Mourinho’s management when Palace outplayed the champs 2-1.
So, what can be expected for the rest of the season? Can Chelsea’s defense solidify and start to collect clean sheets? Will Hazard and Diego Costa return to last year’s form? If City’s lead (presently 8 over the Blues) continues to widen, will Jose make European silverware the priority? Time will tell, but one thing is for certain: drama will be present…especially the first week back as Chelsea travels to Goodison Park to take on Stones and Everton.
3. The “Hurrikane” Resembles A Slight Breeze.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane had a dream 2014-2015 campaign in which he scored 31 goals in all appearances, was named to the PFA Team of the Year and was also voted the PFA Young Player of the Year.
So far in 2015? With the departure of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado, he started the season as the Spurs only forward and through four games, no goals. The Spurs are winless.
In other words, not good.
However, the scheduling Gods have seen fit that the Spurs meet the worst defense in the Premier League, Sunderland, in their next match. Kane and new arrival Son Heung-min from Bayer Leverkusen will look to expose the Black Cats’ weaknesses and open their scoring accounts for the year.
4. Can Anyone Stop Gomis?
Four games for Swansea City’s Bafetimbi Gomis so far, and four goals. The French National striker has made it look easy against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, while the Swans have sprinted out to a fast start. Next up, winless Watford. Lord have mercy on the Hornets.
5. Or Can Anyone Stop Wilson?
Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson also has four goals in the young season. Three came against West Ham, where the Cherries pulled out the 4-3 win in the month’s most entertaining match. The fourth was a beauty against Leicester City:
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 29, 2015
6. Can Manchester United Find Success With Rooney, Martial, Or Fellaini As Strikers?
Four weeks in and Man U have scored three goals: Kyle Walker, a Spurs defender, scored an own goal in the first game; Adnan Januzaj put one past American keeper Brad Guzan and Aston Villa…and was promptly loaned to Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga; Juan Mata, with his goal against Swansea, is the only current Red Devil with a goal to his name this season. On top of the lackluster performance on the pitch, the Devils have struggled off it as well by losing out on the Pedro sweepstakes and making a mess of the David De Gea’s attempted move to Real Madrid.
LVG has tapped Marouane Fellaini and his 6’4” (6’9” with the hair) frame to move to the front to help Wayne Rooney find the goal. He has also signed the world’s most expensive (and scrutinized?) teenager, Anthony Martial. Rooney, Fellaini, Martial and Memphis Depay (who has the dubious distinction of shooting the most in the first month without scoring a goal) will welcome a humbled (see #10 below) Liverpool squad to the Theatre of Dreams the first week back.
7. Is Riyad Mahrez The Best Midfielder In England?
Leicester City is unbeaten in their last eight Premier League games, stretching back to last season. The Foxes have scored eight goals, half of those courtesy of Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez, who signed a contract extension over the summer, has pushed his team to their best start in their history. He also has been declared Man of the Match in three of four matches.
He will look for four from five when Leicester welcomes Aston Villa to the King Power Stadium after the break. Speaking of the King Power Stadium, have you considered it for your Conference, Meeting or Banqueting needs? Feel free to click here for the perfect venue for any occasion. Or don’t.
8. Can Arsene Wenger Get Arsenal Headed The Right Direction In Time?
August started so well for Arsenal. Petr Cech took the Tube north and east from Stamford Bridge to the Emirates to give the Gunners a major upgrade at keeper. Then, Cech went out and shut out his former team, Chelsea, in the Community Shield match on August 2nd. The 1-0 Arsenal win at Wembley was their first victory over their London rival in over three years and Wenger’s first triumph over Jose Mourinho in his fourteenth attempt. Things were looking up!
Then West Ham visited on the first weekend, and, well…this happened. The sting of the Irons’ first victory over Arsenal since the spring of 2007 was lessened the next week with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace thanks to a second half own goal by Palace’s Damien Delaney. The Gunners shared the spoils with Liverpool in a back and forth 0-0 draw, before emerging victorious from a tussle with Newcastle at St. James’ Park that saw the home side play the last 76 minutes with 10 men and score Arsenal’s only goal when Fabricio Coloccini notched one for the wrong team in the 52 minute. In summary, the Gunners two wins have been thanks to goals from the other team’s center-back…meh. If you are an Arsenal fan you have to believe that an attack comprised of Alexis, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Mikel Arteta should be productive. Stoke City visits the Emirates after the break to test that theory.
9. Which Of The Promoted Teams Looks Most Fit To Stay Up?
The new season welcomed Watford and Norwich back to the Premier League and said hello for the first time to the Cherries from Bournemouth. The transition for all three has been far from easy; after the first month all three teams are outside of the relegation zone. Watford is still looking for its first win, but impressed in its opening match 2-2 tie against Tim Howard and Everton at Goodison. The Hornets will look to slow down Swansea after the break as the Swans pay a visit to Vicarage Road. The other new arrivals face each other next week in a crucial matchup. Bournemouth travels to Carrow Road to face Norwich and both sides will look to walk away with full points. The Canaries manager Alex Neil will look to winger Nathan Redmond who has scored twice in the young season to push the Cherries. Bournemouth’s coach, Eddie Howe, promises offense as well as Callum Wilson (see above) will be on the hunt for more goals. It should be a back and forth affair with many goals…or it could be a pedestrian nil-nil bore, one never knows!
10. Will Brendan Rodgers See Christmas As The Liverpool Manager?
Oh Liverpool. Why must you be so cruel? After starting the season with two 1-0 wins, the Reds looked downright dangerous (seriously!) in a thrilling 0-0 match against Arsenal, only to return to Anfield and suffer a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of a West Ham team that had not won a league match at Liverpool since 1963. On top of that misery, Phillippe Coutinho, who has been the best Red so far this season, was shown red against the Hammers and will miss the trip to the Theatre of Dreams to face Manchester United. Not good.
Rodgers is in his fourth season at the helm and has yet to win any silverware. Ownership has shown faith in the Northern Irishmen; he became the first Liverpool manager since the 1950s not to be sacked after three years and no titles. In addition, the owners used the proceeds from the Raheem Sterling sale to Man City to secure Christian Benteke from Villa and Brazilian youngster Robert Firmino from Hoffenheim to bolster an attack that is still waiting for the return of Daniel Sturridge. Sturridge should be back in November after hip surgery. If Sturridge can return to the 2013-2014 form that saw him score 21 league goals, while complimenting the other offensive components, a Champion’s League spot is not out of the question. However, if the Reds take another step back, Rodgers’ job could be a casualty.
Did we miss any storylines from the first month of the Premier League season? Let us know at email@example.com.