Premier League Naphand: Five talking points, week 3
A dull Saturday was made up for by a superbly entertaining Sunday with two derbies. Despite the lack of goals and the lack of surprise results this time around, there was still plenty to discuss. ANTOINETTE MULLER picks five of the biggest talking points from the third weekend of the Premier League.
A rather dull and dreary Saturday was followed up by two derby-clashes on Sunday. On Saturday, Manchester City bounced back from their defeat at Cardiff last weekend, but the rest of the fixtures left much to be desired. It’s been one of the slowest starts in terms of goals in the Premier League’s history and most sides are looking pretty rusty. Sunday was much better, though, with Liverpool pipping United in the derby in Merseyside, with United looking particularly out of sorts. Arsenal, meanwhile, continued to bounce back from that awkward defeat on the first day of the season as they clinched the North London derby. We’ve picked five talking points from the third weekend out at the Premier League.
Rooney transfer saga halted, but it won’t be a happy season
There’s been much talk about how loved Wayne Rooney is and how that should have convinced him to stay. It’s not so true, though. David Moyes and Rooney know each other from back in the day when the pair were at Everton together. Even back then, their relationship was scratchy and the extent of it was revealed a few years later. Moyes sued Rooney for libel in 2007 with the end result being an apology from Rooney and a reported £50,000-£150,000 settlement for Moyes. The disagreement centred around Rooney suggesting in his biography that Moyes leaked details of a private conversation to a tabloid. The pair are hardly best mates and it's unlikely that Rooney’s insistence on wanting to move would have done anything to mend the already rocky relationship. With Rooney already playing second fiddle to Robin van Persie, it’s likely that he’ll spend most of his season earning his money while warming the bench – or being left out of the squad completely. That Rooney was not allowed a move away from Old Trafford is a bit sad.
Everton is questionable in front of goal
Everton and Cardiff City played out to a rather stale 0-0 draw just a week after Cardiff snuck past Manchester City. Everton was largely impotent in front of goal. Despite their 13 shots compared to Cardiff's four, they failed to convert. Just three of those 13 shots were actually on target. Overall, Everton's record is looking even more dubious. Out of the 55 shots at goal, they've had just 18 on target. Two of those found the back in the end, but they have only had 19 shots against them overall. They have not yet registered a win this season and the confidence that comes from victory will do their side a world of good, but they’re lacking firepower at the moment. Everton is a good team and while they won’t be challenging for the title, they could have a good Cup run if only they had the power of a proven striker. There’s one day left for the Toffees to try to make some last-minute buys, unless of course they’re content with remaining at the lower end of the table.
A frustrated Van Persie is a bad Van Persie
During Manchester United’s clash against Liverpool on Sunday, their midfield looked flat. There was no creativity, no chemistry and no composure. As a result, Robin van Persie’s petulance returned. His frustration resulted in some unnecessary aggression, as it so often did at Arsenal. Over-reliance on Van the Magic Man has often led to the Dutchman doing silly things. He hardly even touched the ball in the second half, and when he eventually did, he couldn’t do much. Perhaps it’s simply a case of Manchester United still getting used to David Moyes after years of being used to Alex Ferguson. One thing is for sure, though, Moyes won’t fall victim to a hire and fire culture which engulfs the Premier League. United have been planning for him to take over from Ferguson for years, and they won’t give up so easily.
Kagisho Dikgacoi’s future is looking bright
Just a few years ago, Kagisho Dikgacoi completed a move to Fulham and was sent off in his first game for slapping Scott Parker. He eventually fell out of favour at The Cottagers and moved to Crystal Palace on loan. The move became permanent at the end of 2011 and since then he has become a dependable player in the side for the club. He’s looked good in in his two home appearances this season: his pass accuracy has been 86% and he's 67% accurate when taking a shot. He's not yet made a defensive error, but as a defensive midfielder, he does need to work on winning tackles. Dikgacoi has won just 45% of his duels, but perhaps that’s just a sign of getting used to the pace of Premier League football. While it’s a very good sign for the man himself, it’s an even better sign for South African football. It’s easy to forget that, although the national side might not be littered with big name stars, there are some real workhorses who are available to play for them and they are putting on a great show all across the globe.
Arsenal’s nada vs. Spurs’ big spending
Well, it was bound to happen. Tottenham’s new-look squad are clearly all still adjusting to their roles and poor Roberto Soldado was left isolated and marginalised up front. This all while the Spurs’ midfield failed to find any sort of communication to feed the striker. Arsenal, meanwhile, proved again that their starting XI is very apt. There’s nothing wrong with the current first-team Arsene Wenger has. The problem is the depth. Jack Wilshere is injured and Kieran Gibbs also looked dodgy. The replacements on the bench are, well, limiting. It’s a fine effort from the men at The Grove and they are firing as a unit, but upsetting the chemistry through injury is bound to happen. Still, if he keeps scoring at this rate, Arsenal fans should probably start preparing themselves for Olivier Giroud to be sold to PSG in January. At least they’ll keep making money. DM
Premier league week 3 results:
- Crystal Palace 3-1 Sunderland
- West Ham 0-1 Stoke
- Norwich 1-0 Southampton
- Newcastle 1-0 Fulham
- Cardiff 0-0 Everton
- Manchester City 2-0 Hull
- West Brom 0-2 Swansea
- Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United
- Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham Hotspurs
Photo: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard (C) and Jordan Henderson (L) challenge Manchester United's Danny Welbeck during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield, Liverpool, northern England September 1, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Noble