5 Games Into The Premier League Season: What Have We Seen So Far?
We look back at the first five rounds of fixtures from the Premier League season and take a look at the talking points so far. Book leading football speakers today!
The first international break has passed on the footballing calendar and each team in the Premier League is five games into the new season. We think this is a good time to reflect on the beginning of the season and see who has starred and who hasn't.
The Top of the Table
The unbeaten trio after the first five fixtures, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have all shown their mettle early on with Liverpool and Chelsea combining for a Premier League record. It was the only time two teams have won their opening five fixtures in the competition's history.
Perhaps most surprisingly of those three is the fast start that Chelsea have made under new manager Maurizio Sarri. The West Londoners have taken to the more attacking instincts of Sarri with relative ease, with key players like Eden Hazard, Willian, Marcos Alonso, David Luiz and Pedro all looking rejuvenated in the new system. Summer signings Jorginho, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Mateo Kovacic also seem to have slotted in to the side perfectly. Chelsea look to be a threat once more in the league, and they haven’t hit top gear yet.
That can also be said of the two teams immediately behind Chelsea; Liverpool and Manchester City, who are widely predicted to top the tree come May. Liverpool have picked up points without their attacking trio - which ranks amongst the most feared in world football – hitting their best form. With a backline that seems tighter, following years of being prone to error and a midfield that has undergone a significant upgrade – Liverpool are expected to mount a title challenge. Their five straight wins with only two goals conceded prove Liverpool are contenders and they seem to have that gritty ability to win ugly that title-winners of the past all seem to have had.
Manchester City are the defending champions, and nothing that has happened so far in the opening games has changed the bookies’ prediction that they will make it two in a row. Losing Kevin De Bruyne was a huge loss but has been well-covered by Bernardo Silva and David Silva’s impressive form. Sterling and Sane are starting to find their feet again too, and this team can cause anyone headaches. With a relatively easy Champions League group phase compared to their domestic rivals, Manchester City could concentrate on the league and find themselves with a decent lead at the top before Christmas. That will depend on how much the loss of De Bruyne affects them in the big games, due to his 2-3 month injury layoff.
With five goals in five games so far, Eden Hazard has been the league’s stand out player. With his new manager saying:
‘I thought he was one of the best in the world, now I think maybe he could be the best’.
Hazard’s confidence is at the highest it has been in years and with an incredible hattrick at the weekend against newly promoted Cardiff, this could be the year he proves his manager right.
Behind him in the scoring stakes lies Romelu Lukaku who has been quietly stabbing them in for Manchester United as Mourinho’s side seem to have put a bad start behind them. He is on four goals, alongside Sadio Mane who has made a blistering start for Liverpool and seemingly traditional centre-forwards Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) and Glenn Murray (Brighton) who have been on good-form as their sides have picked up five and four points respectively.
Benjamin Mendy has re-announced himself with several eye-catching performances. He has notched four assists in five, which suggests he is hitting his pre-injury form once more. Jose Holebas of Watford sits alongside him at the top, after a string of fine displays which have put Watford in fourth place early on.
5 Key Players So Far
Benjamin Mendy – Acting like a new signing for City, Mendy is showing his influence on the team early on.
James Milner – Football speaker Stuart Pearce said this week: “Milner is the best pound for pound player in Premier League history.” Believe that or not, he is a workhorse and a wonderful player.
Roberto Pereyra – His great attitude has impressed Gracia, and his goals' return is part of the reason why Watford sit in the top-four.
Eden Hazard – Could he be the best player in the league this season?
Ryan Fraser – At the heart of Bournemouth’s great start, Fraser’s influence has been huge.
A Sustained Fight or Just Good Form: Watford, Bournemouth & Wolves
Fans and the media said it time and time again in the 2015-16 season when Leicester City won the Premier League, that it was ‘just good form’, ‘they’ll fall off’ – and they didn’t. And yes, it is just five games into the new season, but we consider the credentials of the surprise packages from the opening round of fixtures.
Watford have started the brightest, winning four out of four before falling to Manchester United in a must-win game for the Red Devils. Their fine start saw Javi Gracia take home the Manager of the Month award for August. Gracia has got his team playing some fantastic counter-attacking football, and he seems to be getting the best from Roberto Pereyra who has 3 goals so far this season. Last season’s record signing, Andre Gray and captain, Troy Deeney are also playing at the top of their game, and with a team willing to fight for every ball behind them - Watford have a great chance.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth have also started with a bang, taking 10 points from a possible 15. Their latest 4-2 win against Leicester was particularly striking while their come-back 2-2 draw versus Everton was hugely impressive. Ryan Fraser’s form has been inspired and Callum Wilson and Joshua King have been a constant threat in front of goal. This could well be their year to up their regular top 10 finish to a seventh placed finish and a coveted Europa League place.
Wolves have picked up two 1-0 wins on the trot to make their draws with Everton and Manchester City look extremely good. Though they have been beaten by Leicester at the King Power, few teams will take points there this season.
The Bottom End
Burnley and Newcastle each have a solitary point as they sit at the bottom of the table, while Huddersfield join them in the bottom three with two points. Cardiff City too have two points but sit outside of it. West Ham’s poor start seems to be picking up, and though it would take a brave man to predict it, there seems to be a gulf opening between the middle teams and the bottom, meaning it could be a tough season for the current bottom four. Though Sean Dyche and Burnley who were seventh place last season might have much higher ambitions, you get the feeling that Warnock, Benitez and Wagner would be delighted just to survive.
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