Pulis & Hughes In Danger? Prem Winners & Losers So Far…
We’ve talked at length over the weekend about the Manchester Derby so lets turn our attention to the league in general, the little seeds of great form, consistency or woes that are unfolding in front of us, and a look at who’s hot and who’s not.
Liverpool v Leicester
Liverpool were incredibly impressive against the Champions but there wasn’t really much there from the Redmen that we didn’t already know. On their day, at their best, an exciting, vibrant attacking side with a manager who kicks every ball and demands, like Pep at City, constant pressure and constant questions being asked of the opposition.
This is the type of football I love to watch and loved to play. But I can only start getting excited about this team when they put 5 results on the spin with the kind of attacking intensity they found against Leicester. My overriding concern is that where Man City have the squad numbers to freshen things up during a tough league season, Liverpool don’t, so it will always seem like two steps forward and one back.
Mane though is going to be crucial for the Reds this season; a match winner, outrageous pace and is a very useful counter attacking weapon on away days, so a great result but I’m not getting carried away just yet.
I wonder if Leicester invested enough in freshening up the back four. Nothing wrong with any of them but whereas the front line has seen some exciting new additions, I wonder whether a huge money spinning statement signing at the back would have had Wes and Co. thinking “we can’t rest on our laurels”.
I don’t see that at the moment and as the Champions are now a scalp,
it’s not the front line that concerns me, it’s the constant pressure teams are going to exert on, let’s be honest an ageing back line, that worries me most.
Albion fans, Tony in or out? Seems stale at the Albion and although the Villa/Albion rivalry over recent years has got more personal, I’m a huge fan of Midlands football and I think Pulis may just have run his course at the Hawthorns. In the world’s richest league it’s no longer enough to stand still and stay in the league.
You at least have to try to move forward and although Tony may be rightly angry at not getting the signings he wanted, I just wonder what type of player he personally could tempt to Albion anyway? Hodgson got them moving forward, not so sure Pulis will.
Up the M6 at Stoke and a penny for Mark Hughes’ thoughts? Two drubbings now, granted against City and Spurs but Stoke have generally been competitive against the big boys save one or two hidings, and with new signings coming in, a change in the profile and wage structure at Stoke, I think that against both teams recently they should have been involved in asking more questions for longer.
I guess the style change from Pulis’ army or warriors mean this may happen but nonetheless if I were a Stoke fan, the DNA of a hard working, difficult to beat side is still there, so with players like Bony coming into the setup its reasonable to expect better quality allied with the same work ethic to have the Potters moving forward, not flat lining.
Hammers, home isn’t where the heart is right now! I wrote early in pre-season that new stadia take time to settle in, and when you have a non football stadium which sucks the life out of an atmosphere as bowls tend to, West Ham players and Slav may well be scratching around for home form for some time to come.
I think they have a good squad and a very good manager so patience is needed but fans quickly forget last season so the manager needs to find a way and quickly to grind out one or two results as playing particularly at home in front of an edgy, ready to punch crowd is the worst possible nightmare for a player.
I was delighted to see Benteke on the scoresheet for Palace. Pardew knows that the signing had to hit the ground running as there were one or two rumblings amongst Palace fans especially after letting the iconic Jedinak go and their top man, Bolasie.
So, an away win at a club who’ve started brightly, Benteke scoring and demanding the type of service which saw him score plenty for Villa but woefully underused at Liverpool, means Al may well sleep soundly for a few nights. Add Puncheon, Zaha and Cabaye to the armoury and Benteke may well fill his boots this season.
Super result for Watford at West Ham, especially after 3 defeats and 7 goals conceded in those games. Players and managers come with alarming frequency at Vicarage Road but one thing is for sure, when the Hornets need to dig deep you can always count on Troy Deeney to be at the heart of the revival. I can’t speak highly enough of the lad and the glue that he’s become in the dressing room, that as I said, has had lots of coming and going in recent seasons.
The only teams who I’m concerned about this early on are Bournemouth and West Brom. I’ve already discussed WBA so what is it about the Cherries which concerns me, especially after a victory?!
They need to score more goals, many more goals from across the park in fact.
They have only scored more than 1 goal once this season in 5 games and that was away at Morecambe in the cup so I’m sure it is a concern for Eddie Howe too.
I like Josh King who has the raw ingredients to be a decent top level striker and of course Wilson had injury problems so naturally will take time to get back up to speed. Athough, teams playing them and their coaching staff will say bluntly in the dressing room, “get one against these and you have a result”, so Eddie has to find the recipe quickly.