WADE PRETORIUS takes a look back at the week that was in the Premier League.
The Good – Manchester is on fire
Is is too soon to rule out the Premier League trophy returning to Manchester? Many predicted wider race this season but it is turning into a straight shootout for league honours this term. The Red Devils have Jose Mourinho in charge and getting the best out of Zlatan Ibrahimovic -three goals in two games – and the world’s most expensive player Paul Pogba – who shone on debut with a dynamic performance against Southampton; third-most distance covered, most shots, most interceptions, most chances created – not bad for a player who had a severely disrupted pre-season after playing at Euro 2016.
The picture is equally bright across town where Pep Guardiola may not defenders if he keeps his strike force fit and firing. Sergio Aguero has three goals to his name, Nolito just one fewer, Raheem Sterling looks like a different player and has chipped in with two assists while Kevin De Bruyne has one to his name. City may suffer from spreading themselves across a number of competitions this season but they do possess a powerful squad which is capable of going the distance, and in style …
The Bad – Black Cats in trouble
David Moyes’ slumped to a defeat in the Wear-Tees derby and has a long, long road ahead of him as Sunderland manager. His squad overhaul has not-so-subtly suggested that his predecessors had built a week squad. Moyes has brought in some players that he has worked with before in Paddy McNair, Donald Love and Steven Pienaar, while Adnan Januzaj has joined on loan from Manchester United.
Former Sunderland player Kevin Kilbane has said that Moyes needs six or seven more signings while former England international striker Stan Collymore has questioned Moyes’ abilities after simply raiding clubs for former players. Whatever the case, Moyes needs a dramatic improvement in results if last season’s relegation scrap is to be avoided; two losses from two suggests that a different script is not on the cards.
The Ugly – Liverpool’s Burnley blunder
80.4% of the ball. 26 shots. Those are the damning numbers (see more here with our Opta-powered match centre) from Liverpool’s goalless performance at Turf Moor as they once again let themselves down after shooting down Arsene Wenger’s Gunners last weekend. You’ve heard it all before but simply put, the Reds are consistently inconsistent; brilliant one week and shocking the next. Under Jurgen Klopp, only Aston Villa (12) and West Ham (10) have made more errors leading to goals than Liverpool (9).
‘It was a difficult game for us. We lost the ball in the wrong moments, in open moments, counter-attack and counter-pressing.’ said Klopp after the loss. Liverpool fans surely won’t disagree when I say, they don’t care about losing the ball in whatever moment; all they want to do is win.
At the end of the day, the Clarets ensured a win with just over 19% of the ball – the lowest total by a winning side in the Premier League since this statistic was first kept during the 2003-04 season. Klopp must ensure his side add consistency to their creativity or another season of heartache will follow.