This weekend was a wild ride, to say the least. We had a massive upset (City losing to Stoke), and two blowouts (Chelsea over Everton and Liverpool over Spurs). Every week, we see a little more of the season unfold. So, what have we learned this weekend? Well:
1. Di Maria isn’t the magic wand that United were hoping he would be:
This won’t be a shock for many of you. Many people, myself included, where not impressed with the signing of Di Maria (and the loan signing of Radamel Falcao). They just don’t cover the areas that Manchester United are really hurting. In central defense, where over half of shots taken against United are from, they are incredibly weak and their midfield simply doesn’t create enough. While a staggering 73% of their play comes down the wings, 61% of their shots comes from the middle of the field. This is either coming from crosses or the wings cutting deep into the center of the field. There is not enough production from the team overall and the team has one of the softest centers of a side challenging for the top for in a decade. I could go on about the issues facing Manchester United and their transfer window, but that’s an article for another time.
2. Liverpool are spreading the goal burden this season:
With goals from Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard, and Alberto Moreno, we’re seeing a Liverpool team that isn’t reliant on one player to put the ball in the back of the net. When taken into account that only one of Liverpool’s goals this season have been scored by one of their strikers, it seems the team are taking Brendan Rodgers’ challenge to score more goals to heart.
3. Chelsea are scary:
This squad looks terrifying at the top of their game. This is a team that can be unimpressive for long stretches of time and pop up with 10 minutes of pure quality and blow a team away. We weren’t sure if they would be able to do that against a team that won’t be battling relegation this season and Everton were the first real test. They passed with flying colors. Six goals will be tough to beat. Now, many Evertonians have been sure to mention that it was a terrible day at the office for many of their players, which is a good point. That said, the result could have been much worse and taking advantage of a team when they are down is what a team with ambitions of the title must do. Letting in three goals is a very un-Chelsea thing to do. It might be a weird season.
4. More shocks to be expected this season:
Who guessed Stoke would beat Manchester City at the Eithad, raise your hands? Now put your hands down because I can’t actually see your hands up. Also, you’re lying. Who would have predicted that Leicester and Burnley would draw Arsenal and Manchester United? This one was a bit easier, but still a surprising result. This season has just started and we’re already seeing some real upsets, and it looks like there are many more in store for us this season.
5. The new guys aren’t going down without a fight:
Going hand in hand with my last point, at this stage in the season I can see all three of the promoted clubs staying up this season. Looking at this weekend’s results, none of the new clubs to the Premier League lost. That’s certainly happened before, but it’s really impressive when you consider that they played Manchester United, Arsenal, and Sunderland. The race from the bottom might be as exciting, or more depending on who you root for, than the race for the top.