It’s September now which means a few things in the world of the Premier League; Harry Kane traditionally starts (and doesn’t stop) scoring round about now, the relegation favourites start to emerge and some of us start to slam a couple of quid on who looks most likely to win the league, or be the next manager to get sacked. With the Manchester clubs beginning to make this ever more so look like a two horse race, and Crystal Palace still yet to register even a goal, let’s look at five things we’ve learnt from this weeks Premier League action.
1) Gareth Barry record breaker
When you consider the players that have graced the Premier League and the longevity of some of them, from the class of 92, John Terry to Steven Gerrard, to hundreds more, it is quite incredible to say “ I’ve played more games in the most popular league on earth than anyone else”, well Gareth Barry can do so. With his appearance for West Brom on Monday the 25th September against Arsenal, he surpassed Ryan Giggs’ all time appearance record in the Premier League. A lack of injuries along with his sensible choice in choosing a club, where he knows he will start week in week out, have been the main reason for him breaking this record, and he doesn’t look like finishing anytime soon, even at 36. He may not have spent the bulk of his career at the top clubs like Giggs and many others did, and he is probably way off making the all time Premier League squad, but there is no disputing that Gareth Barry is a Premier League legend and deserves an awful lot of credit.
2) The race for the Golden Boot may be the best ever
Ever year there are players who make early strides towards the Golden Boot award, and they are often rivalled with one sometimes two other players. Whether it was the early-mid 2000’s when Ruud Van Nistlerooy contested with Thierry Henry, and then came along came Didier Drogba to battle with Cristiano Ronaldo, and even in the mid 90’s when all time Premier League top scorer Alan Shearer had close competition from his own strike partner Chris Sutton. This year however, might be the closest and most exciting yet. With each of the top five teams flaunting a formidable striker. Romelu Lukaku is continuing his free scoring Premier League career at Manchester United, Sergio Aguero looks back to his best on the blue side of Manchester, Chelsea have brought in ex Juventus and Real Madrid star Alvaro Morata, while Harry Kane is surely becoming the top striker in world football right now and even Arsenal have finally dug deep to bring in Ligue 1 star Alexander Lacazzette. All of which have at least four goals so far. Lukaku is the only player to score on a consistent basis, netting in every game so far, while Aguero and Morata boast a hatrick each, all three of them lead the way on six goals so far. It is looking like for the first time in Premier League history that there could be five players racing for the Golden Boot award, and it also may be the first time in a while that the Premier League boasts the best strikers in world football, with Luis Suarez netting just once this season for Barcelona.
3) Yeah…. Crystal Palace are in BIG trouble
You’ve got to dig out the history books to find many teams who have had a worse start to a Premier League campaign than The Eagles have this time round. Palace have lost all six games so far conceding 13 and not scoring a single goal. On paper, the London outfit have a relatively impressive side, with the team consisting of the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend. Now, with Roy Hodgson in charge, it is his job to bring the best out of these players, as we know Benteke can score goals and we know Cabaye can be a top player. Selhurst Park as recent as last season was a tough place to go, the atmosphere was electric, the players we’re stubborn in defence, and Palace would usually get a goal against you somehow. Now, the entire club, fans and players just look defeated already. Yes, they are dead bottom, but Bournemouth only sit three points ahead of them and Leicester and West Ham are only four ahead, but at least they have registered a few goals along the way. Hodgson has came out and said he can keep them up, but admits they have a lot of work to do… one of them is definitely true.
4) The Manchester clubs are running away with it, but Chelsea will chase them all the way.
Many predicted at the start of the season that the title would be returning to Manchester, but whether the tape on the side of the Premier League trophy would be red or blue, split opinions. Both clubs just look like their team is complete, they are defensively sound, free scoring and probably have the two best managers in the game right now. United’s defence was never a problem, goalscoring was, and now with the addition of Lukaku, and solidity of Nemanja Matic in midfield, it looks like everyone, including Paul Pogba can roam free and goals are no longer a problem. United’s defence looks the best in the league right now with Eric Bailly an Phil Jones forming one of the best partnerships in Europe this season, but when you face the forwards of Manchester City, it looks a case of how many goals will they score, rather than if they will win or not. United’s victory against Southampton proves they can get a win from a poor performance in typical Jose Mourinho fashion, which often results in a league title, while Manchester City’s 11 goals in there last two games proves that if you face them, you will concede… a lot. However, despite their shock loss to Burnley on the opening day, Chelsea’s title defence is well underway now, with Alvaro Morata in full swing after his hatrick away at Stoke. Chelsea are now looking like the title winners of last year and will have a lot to say in this years ‘two horse race’. What better time for Chelsea to meet Manchester City than this weekend?
5) Spurs’ dominance on the road proves that Wembley is the problem.
Not many teams have gone to Goodison Park in the last 10 years and blown away Everton 0-3 like Spurs did a few weeks back. But a week before this result they drew at Wembley to mid table Burnley and the week after they drew 0-0 to strugglers Swansea. This week they held out for a well earned win 2-3 away to West Ham, which if played at Wembley, they probably would of drawn considering West Ham were at one stage 0-3 down. The last two seasons, if you went to White Hart Lane, you would be lucky to leave with a point, but now in their temporary new home, Spurs look fortunate to leave with a point sometimes, yet on the road, they blow teams away. Mauricio Pochettino reiterates that Wembley is not the problem, but the results away from home and their results at home this year compared to their unbeaten home record last year, says otherwise, but hey, they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in the Champions League and Burnley 1-0 in the EFL Cup at Wembley this season, must just be the Premier League.