1- Premier League Needs VAR: Manchester City fans are livid for multiple reasons. Wolves defender Willy Boly was in an offside position and used his hand to give Nuno Esperito Santo’s newcomers a go ahead goal at the Molieneaux on Saturday.
Anger turned to incandescence when nothing was given for Ruben Neves’ wrestle on City skipper David Silva. Video Assistant Referees (VARs) could have and should have prevented the injustice Pep Guardiola’s side felt at two points denied.
At St James’ Park, similar misfortune nearly befell Chelsea as Olivier Giroud was elbowed in the build up to Joselu’s leveler. I don’t buy the argument that VARs introduction will slow the game and deny us talking points. Football is a big industry in which we justice must be seen to be done. The technology is already doing wonders in the Bundesliga, Ligue One, Serie A and Primera Liga. Richard Scudamore ought to push for its introduction before January.
2- How To Stop Manchester City: In the euphoria of City’s epoch making season, scant credit was given to Championship sides Bristol City and Wolverhampton Wanderers that pushed the PL champions to the limit in the Carabao Cup. Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is now unbeaten in three games against City, evidence that there is a way to prevent them from thriving. To avoid being on the receiving end of tennis scores, teams ought to study footage of how Wolves do it.
3- Sarri-ball Delivering Early Dividends: To best appreciate how difficult the trip to Newcastle United is, it’s fitting to highlight the fact that in his five trophy laden seasons at Chelsea, not once did Jose Mourinho pick up maximum points at St James Park. Maurizio Sarri did so at the first attempt because the Magpies couldn’t cope with Chelsea’s possession based game. Headlines like ‘Chelsea Scrape to Victory over Newcastle’ are off the mark because they don’t take into consideration Chelsea’s total domination of this matchup:
Chelsea broke their own club record for possession, overall passes completed and individual passes made. The 81 percent possession is second only to City’s 82 in a victory over Queens Park Rangers a few seasons ago. The 913 passes made is joint fourth on the all time EPL list along with Liverpool who made the same number against Huddersfield Town in 2017, and 62 less than City’s all time record of 975 set against Chelsea last season. Meanwhile, Jorginho’s 158 is in the top five, just 17 less than Ilkay Gundogan’s peak of 175 last season. It may be early days but Chelsea fans are happy bunnies.
4- Napoli Remain Serie A Force: They may have lost manager Sarri and midfielder Jorginho, but Napoli remain Serie A’s best bet of ending Juventus’ seven-year monopoly of the Scudetto.
After two games, Carlo Ancelotti’s Neapolitans have a one hundred percent record after outmaneuvering Lazio and AC Milan, two of the would be title rivals. Allan is already excelling in the role vacated by Jorginho, whereas Ancelotti, has correctly, refused to dismantle a modus operandi that has delivered two second place finishes in the last three years.
5- Arsenal Players Only As Good As West Ham’s: Unai Emery has his work cut out. Inspite of the Gunners’ 3-1 victory over West Ham United that temporarily lifted the gloom enveloping Emirates Stadium, there was nothing to in their performance to suggest Arsenal challenge for the title, or even a Top Four place.
West Ham were Arsenal’s match in every department apart from finishing. If Marco Arnautovic hadn’t left his shooting boots home, I might have been penning a different story. Arsenal’s cause hasn’t been helped by dodgy summer recruitment. Mateo Guendouzi remains a work in process. Luca Torreira is a shadow of the Uruguayan terrier we saw at Russia 2018. Keeper Bernard Leno can’t dislodge dinosaur Petr Cech from goal whereas Sokratis hasn’t found his bearings. Arsenal need three seasons of rebuilding to challenge for silverware.