With Manchester City now eight points ahead on top of the premier league, PML Daily’s Shaban Lubega sums up the weekends action going into the international break.
1. Stock City is no longer as strong as they were at home.
After a hard fought 2-2 draw with Leicester City at the Bet365 Stadium, Stock City have now managed eight points from a possible 18 at home this season.
Gone are the days when one thought long and hard about a visit to Stock and now many teams can go their confident that they can get something from a once upon time intimidating place. On Saturday when Leicester came to town, the Foxes who have managed only a single win on their travels this season(away to struggling Swansea) where clearly confident of a result and no one can say that they didn’t deserve the point.
Yes then personnel both management and playing stuff have changed at Stock and the style of football being played under Mark Hughs is miles different from what Tony Pulis was playing back then when it was so difficult to even get a point off Stock, but if the points tally that the home team gets in their matches doesn’t not improve in the near future, the Potters may be set to have a very long season around the relegation zone ahead of them.
2. Huddersfield town is the surprise package so far in the Premier league.
Eleven games into the season and Huddersfield town are tenth on the log, tell me someone predicted that.
Yes Brighton and Watford are above them on the log but the fact that after making a marque signing in a certain Steve Munie, a Benin international who had reached double figures for the first time in high top flight career, the book makers predicted that David Wargner’s side was one of the favourites for the drop.
Here we are now as the Terries recorded their second league win in the last three league outings in which they have had to play Manchester United, Liverpool and a certain Tony Pulis’s West Brom. It may be to early to say that they might not be drown into the relegation scrap come May but so far, Huddersfield Town have been the surprise package.
3. Steve Cooks’s injury time winner can not kick start Bournemouth’s season.
At the start of game week 11, Bournemouth were in the relegation zone up until the 92nd minute of their game away to Newcastle when defender Steve Cook connected with a Andrew Surman corner to make sure that the The Cherries grab their second away win of the season.
Eddie Howe’s men have seen them selves relegated to relegation stragglers this season as opposed to the ninth place finish last season. It’s more so down to them trying to stick to the same style of play which is no longer a surprise to the teams in the top tier as it was last season.
Against Newcastle, the Cherries dominated possession but due to lack of enough quality in terms of personnel and the fact that Newcastle came into the game knowing exactly what Bournemouth was going to do, they struggled to be as effective in the final third of the season as they were last season.
Yes Steve Cook got them the points but looking at the way they behaved in the transfer market and Eddie Howe not trying to alter his approach to games, the win against Newcastle can clearly be put done as a one off in a season that Bournemouth will defiantly struggle in.
4. Burnely are one of the best teams away from home in the league.
Burnely defeated Southampton 1-0 away from home to record their third win on the road this season.
Sean Dyke’s men have now got 11 points from a possible 18 on the road and the only defeat they have suffered was away to the best team in the league(Man City). A lot has been done to cub last season’s woes on the road when The Claretes had to wait till April to record their first and only win of the season.
When they defeated Chelsea 3-2 at the Bridge at the start of the season, one would say that it may be a one off but i don’t think the statement can make sense today. With only Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United having more points away from home than Burnley, one would confidently say that Burnley is one of the based teams on the road and with the way they approach those kind of games, that statistic may not be changing any time soon.
5. Slaven Bilic has not more to do at West Ham.
As you read this, the West Ham board are u a meeting to determine whether to let go of the Croatian.
With only two wins this season and having spent all of money in the transfer window, West Ham find them selves in the bottom three which is not where the the board and fans don’t want to see them.
After a disappointing lost to newly promoted Brighton, the Hammers were thrashed 4-1 at the London Stadium on Saturady which can do their manager Slaven Bilic no favours and it will be suprising to see him In the dug out last the international break because clearly, he is not doing so much to improve the team’s luck any time soon.
6. Spurs finally getting used to Wembely.
After defeating Real Madrid in the champions league last match out, the way Spurs response in their next fixture was so debatable the to the fact that the team is not used to play smaller teams after a huge victory against the giants of Europe.
At home to Crystal Palace on the weekend, it was not a roller coster but they managed to get the all important result.
Last season many out the fact that Spurs were not used to playing at Wembley as the key factor to their early champions league exit in the group stages but judging from the results of this season at home and the last two fixtures, may be Pochetino and his players have finally started to feel at home away from White Hart Kane.
7. Jose Mourinho has no tactics to win a game away from home vs the big boys.
Manchester United succumbed to their second loss of the season yesterday at the hands of the champions.
This was Jose’s eleventh consecutive match away from home minus a win against other fellow top six opposition let alone not scoring a single goal in nineof the games.
The approach yesterday deffers a great deal from the one at Anfield when he parked the bus but he went in to loose the game. Against Chelsea, it is fair to say that United had come to play although they sat deep and against a site that had one of the best midfielders in the world (Ngolo Kante) returning, they soked more pressure than that may be had let come at them.
Looking at the fact that has almost done it all away from home against the big boys, the million dollar question is what does he have to do in order to get the seemingly currently eluding three points against City, Spurs and Arsenal when his side visits them later this season.
8. Ngolo Kante is Chelsea’s most important player.
When Roma dismantled Chelsea in the mid week, it was clear that many if not all the Chelsea players were not ready for the task ahead of them.
Almost all but 3 players who were humiliated in Roma started the game against Man Utd at the weekend and the difference in their attitude and desire to fight for the club could clearly be seen by the blind.
The main reason was that the engine of the team in a certain French man who has been out I action for close to a month hE returned.
When you a Chelsea team minus Ngolo Kante, it leaves a lot to be desired but when he plays, their comitment leg reach sky high and everyone seems to be contented that their is someone who will clean up the mess in which ever part of the pitch. Can they mount a tittle challenge now that he is back? May be and may be not.
9. Arsene Wenger is only damaging his reputation by the day.
Yesterday when Man City hosted Arsenal, few have the Gunners a chance to get anything out of the game against arguably the best team in the world at the moment.
Wenger with all his premier league experience decided to bench his 52 million pound marque signing Alexander Lacazatte and play Alexis Sanchez upfront and how the move misfired in every sense of the word.
Sanchez was isolated from the beginning and when Lacazatte came on, it took him only his third touch to score the consolation goal leaving many Gunners claiming that may be the game would have been a whole lot different had the former Lyon striker started upfront and Alexis wide on the left.
With Arsenal now 12 points behind the Citizens in the log, Wenger is most likely headed for a 14th year minus the premier league trophy denying his reputation a further blow.
10. Manchester City are the best team in the Premier league.
Gurdiola has finally stamped his authority at City and that are doing things that no other team in the league can match. The win against Arsenal was City’s 10th in the league this season with only Everton avoiding defeat against Pep’s team.
It is going to take someone special and a whole lot of luck to stop the Citizens from winning the league after leading by as many as eight only 11 games into the season which is another PM record it’s self.
Whether they can match the Arsenal Invicibles of 2003/04 or not, this may turn out to be one of the easiest league wins by a particular team come May next year if the opposition can find a way to stop the inform Man City as soon as possible.