Sunderland vs.Fulham 0-1
Sunderland deserved a reward for their efforts in attack and Fulham will be pleased at stealing all of the points. Sunderland were one of the deeper playing sides in the division last season but the Di Canio era is likely to see a more forward approach. 21 shots at goal, of varying quality, may herald this new dawn.
Swansea vs.Manchester United 1-4
Can’t really add to the superlatives that describe Van Persie’s play. 2 goals don’t make a season but surely Welbeck can improve in the knowledge that he’s likely to be first choice to partner Van Persie in attack. It was only late in the second half that the power trio of Michu, Bony and Shelvey all found themselves in the box at the same time for a crossed ball. Unfortunately the ball missed the three of them but this tactic will pay off in the future against teams that are poor in the air.
Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham 0-1
Tottenham had the opportunities to win more convincingly and the wide players are clearly going to be a major part of AVB’s plans. What was more disconcerting was that against a better side they would have nearly certainly conceded a goal on the break. Tottenham topped the division last season in their use of the offside trap. A prospect that John Terry didn’t fancy in AVB’s spell at Chelsea. The problem was that Spurs’ goals against record wasn’t impressive and that should make for some entertaining games to come.
Manchester City vs.Newcastle 4-0
Pelligrini favoured a reasonably compact and forward thinking approach at Malaga and it has to be odds on that City will better last season’s goals total. A mightily impressive display by City but it’s a little early to be drawing any firm conclusions as regards to their championship credentials. The Yohan Cabaye situation echoes of how Mascherano exited Liverpool. Liverpool no doubt had a plan in place to contain City that evening with the Argentine a key player in that scheme. At the eleventh hour Mascherano was unavailable and as a result Liverpool were a defensive shambles and conceded the game 3-0. Newcastle obviously suffered from a similarly turbulent preparation and were as ruthlessly dispatched.
Arsenal vs. Aston Villa 1-3
Arsenal had a peculiar record last season when it came to receiving disciplinary cards. They topped the league for red cards and came bottom for yellows. All the more extraordinary was the fact that they had more possession than any other side. The Gunners are another side to rely heavily on playing for offside but when the trap fails to spring the results appear to be catastrophic. Full marks to Villa for exploiting the situation to the maximum. In contrast, Real Madrid were abysmal at unhinging Betis on Sunday night when faced with similar tactics. It will remain that Arsenal will have the capacity to self destruct if their defenders continue to be caught out of position. Arteta has probably helped to cover some of the gaps and his continued absence has to be a concern.
Chelsea vs. Hull 2-0
Real Madrid opened the scoring in the first 15 minutes on 18 occasions last season, in the league, a record far superior to title winners Barcelona. Mourinho seems to be taking the same tact with Chelsea if yesterday’s display against Hull is any guide. Arguably, Mourinho has a more talented group at his disposal this season to effect his plans, so expect the Blues to come out of the traps with pace more often than not.
Liverpool vs. Stoke City 1-0
Liverpool were so nearly caught cold at the end of the game but for Walters not taking advantage from the penalty spot. It was a similar story to last season where Liverpool comfortably had enough chances to seal the win and on this occasion they were unfortunate to come up against an inspired display of goalkeeping. Whether again this term they make most of the running and only be partially rewarded remains to be seen. Stoke on the other hand just about did enough to merit getting onto the scoresheet and they cannot be any less progressive in attack than they had been under Tony Pulis.