Stan Collymore’s Quarter Term Report – Part 1

We are a quarter of the way through the season folks, so it’s time to look at the positives and negatives so far for each team as we head into the winter period!

Manchester City
Started incredibly well with every pundit from LA to Sydney telling us that Pep was a game changer in this division and we humble little Englanders had much to learn.

He may well go on and win the league of course, but then with the budget of a small nation behind him, he really should. Positives for me are Fernando in defensive midfield and a fantastic front 4 who, when fit, are the best in this division by some way.

Negatives are the insistence of playing to the keeper way too much, which has proven costly already, especially at Spurs a few weeks back. 7/10

As expected, they can beat virtually any team, anywhere bar the very best in Europe on their day.

But I still feel that the lack of a top quality finisher will hurt them. Sanchez is a great player but really should be a last resort to play up top. Positives are Mustafi who has settled into the league very well indeed alongside Koscielny. That department is certainly better than in recent years.

Negatives are games like Boro at home where, when the team were mentally and physically tired, I expected Ozil to be the difference, to be the ruthless operator, the world class talent to drag his side over the line. Maybe that’s a team job but I still see Arsenal coming up short when it comes to the title. 7/10

A fantastic start for the Reds, Klopp has been the “super manager” who’s delivered a team so far in his own image. But then again he’s been there the longest.

Positives are a super charged camp; Lallana and Henderson stepping up to the plate when many, me included, doubted them. And also a lack of European football. Negatives are a flaky defensive unit.

The keeper question hasn’t been answered either. There is still no top class keeper at Anfield.

They also may be hurt with squad depth over the 38 games. 8/10

A squad which hasn’t changed massively over a number of years now needed a leader, a hug and perhaps a discipline post Jose.

The signs are, especially after changing to Conte’s preferred system of 3 at the back, that the Blues may well be on course to compete again at the top of the table this season.

I wasn’t convinced about Luiz at all but in recent games in that 3 he has looked very good. Hazard has decided to play again and players like Matic are slowly helping Kante find last season’s form.

Positives are an experienced squad of winners with no Euro distractions. Negatives? Nothing that screams out, Conte has overcome one or two defensive teething troubles, there’s more bodies in midfield within the system and Diego Costa is scoring goals. 7/10

Was at the Lane for the City game and I thought Spurs were sensational. Pressing high and often, they outworked the title favourites easily.

Positives are the youth and engine that Spurs now have in most positions. The 2 central defenders are as good as you’ll find in the league and there are nice partnerships throughout the lineup.

Negatives – goals. Son has stepped up in a couple of games, Jansen is finally off the mark and Kane is nearly ready to come back. I just feel, like their neighbours, that goals scored could really be a factor this season and City in particular are way out in front with match-winning goalscorers. 7/10

A very good squad that only really needed a bit of pragmatism and some solid foundations rather than the reckless play at all costs mantra of Martinez.

Lukaku staying was a huge bonus, and I like Ashley Williams as a no nonsense defender alongside Jags. Positives are Gana Gueye, a steal for £7m from Villa and Lukaku will always score goals.

Negatives – consistency. Do Everton players really believe they can break their glass ceiling and belong again with the very best? That’s a mentality shift that Koeman needs to address. 7.5/10

A very decent haul of points so far from a team many thought may struggle with yet another new face in the dugout.

The epitome of a side who know they need to pick up as many home points as possible and go foraging on the road, so with Deeney and Ighalo as weapons on the counter on away days with a hard working midfield behind, the recipe is right for the success they should always aim for, and that is safety.

Positives, 3 central defenders is working very well. Negatives, would like to see them take a top 6 scalp at home as a reward for their graft. 7.5/10

Manchester United
I wrote a pre-season column suggesting United would be playing catch up as Jose finds his best team and more importantly best front 4.

It has turned out to be correct and he’s still no closer to finding it.

Tempo is slow, Zlatan, Pogba, Rooney and Mkhitaryan have disappointed thus far.

So a little way to go yet before they threaten the big boys.

Positives – Rashford, De Gea and Bailly pre-injury. Negatives – they need to find the right balance in attack. Dare I say that the best formation which may lead to a corner-turning result may not include Rooney, Zlatan or Pogba? 5/10

I did a poll last week on the new manager who has made the best impact so far. Puel romped it.

A well organised club, thought out admin, all set up for people to come in and be successful. The only concern of course is when other clubs just come and nick your players and managers, how long is this robust system capable of withstanding these exits?

Positives – Redmond and Charlie Austin, both for me should be given a chance v Scotland next month. Negatives – Dusan Tadic as a 10 in support of Redmond and Austin should be scoring more goals. He certainly has the ability. 7/10

Must be strange being a Cherries fan, sometimes the football , as it was in the Championship a couple of years ago is sensational. Then sometimes that openness and perhaps naivety leads to a drubbing or two which at the end of the season may well come back to hurt.

Jack Wilshere is growing into actually playing games again and if they need a little inspiration for the “win home games, forage on away days” mantra, they should take a look at how Watford have fared so far.

Positives – Wilson back playing, fit and amongst the goals. Negatives – not enough clean sheets and they need to rectify a woeful away record otherwise all of the good work at home will count for little. 5/10