Charlie Scott takes a look at the major talking points from this weekend’s English Premier League games.
1. Wenger has money. He needs to spend that money on a centre-back.
2. Mancini loosens the leash on his armoury of attacking talents.
David Silva was superb as City won 3-2 against Bolton on Saturday, and his performance acted as a shining light for those around him. Edin Dzeko, who had flattered to deceive in a number of performances at the tail-end of last season was in inspired form. Yes, he got on the scoresheet in the second half with a composed finish, but it was his hold-up play and awareness of the space around him that really stood out. The emergence of the Serb could also aid Sergio Aguero’s integration into the team. If Dzeko is on form, it distracts the spotlight from Aguero, and allows him the time and space to get used to a new and foreign league. On Saturday Aguero found acres of space time and time again and will have been disappointed to be uncharacteristically wasteful in front of goal and not get his name on the scoresheet. Their partnership could be one to keep an eye on in the months to come, as Aguero adjusts to the pace and physicality of the Premier League, the lanky unselfish figure of Dzeko alongside him could prove pivotal in City’s assault on the title.
3. Juan Manuel Mata could be the signing that invigorates Chelsea’s aging squad.
It was a decision off the pitch at Stamford Bridge this weekend that could shape their season. On the pitch, Andre Villas-Boas’s team struggled to a 2-1 win over West Brom, with Shane Long scoring the goal that gave the Baggies the lead. Chelsea looked bereft of ideas in midfield and the signing of Mata could be the antidote to this. The skilful Spaniard has the ability to stretch defences both down the centre of the pitch and through his intricate wing-play. Villas-Boas’s side eventually found their way back into the game and secured three points through the French duo of Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda. The manager will expect more of his team in the weeks to come and many will mark Mata as the spearhead of the young Portugese manager’s attempt to shake off the inevitable Mourinho shaped shadow and instill his own style of play at the club.
4. David Moyes faces a tough season ahead at Goodison Park.
The chairman Bill Kenwright continues to offer little in the way of transfer funds for Moyes to bring new players to the club and this could impact heavily on The Toffees final league position this season. Despite having a talented first-team, Moyes’s men remain prone to injury with the likes of key players Louis Saha and Mikel Arteta particularly susceptible to spells on the sidelines. The lack of backing from the board means Moyes will have to make do with what is available to him, which is fine, when the youth team continues to produce players of the calibre of Ross Barkley, the young midfielder who made his full debut at the weekend in the defeat against QPR. The youngster shone despite being on the losing side, yet even his emergence will not quell the unhappiness of the fans that continue to demand reinvestment from the club’s chairman. If Kenwright continues to resist Moyes’s approaches for funds it will not be long before Everton are struggling to not only finish in the top half of the league but also satisfy their clearly dissatisfied manager.
5. Brendan Rodgers needs to adapt his tactics if he wants his Swansea side to stay in this division.
Yes, Swansea play the game the way it should be played, with pretty triangles and hundreds of completed passes, but as a promoted club, playing against the premier clubs in the country this is not necessarily suitable for a team in their position. They completed over a hundred more passes than Man City in their opening game, yet lost 4-0. In their second game they were lucky to escape with a point as Wigan hit the crossbar twice and had a penalty saved by Swansea’s stand-out performer so far, Michael Vorm. That their outstanding player in the past two games is their goalkeeper will come as no surprise to the neutrals that have seen Rodgers’s Swansea side so far this season. The manager needs to reign in his attacking instincts, invest in his defence, and aim to take more than a point when hosting some of the division’s weaker teams. On Saturday they were dominated on their own pitch by Wigan, who many claim are living on borrowed time in the Premier League.