Modern football is constantly evolving and no league more typifies that than the Premier League.
Played at breakneck seed, it’s easy to miss out on the real deal from the plethora of headlines that invariably pop up every weekend.
Worry not, for The Statesman is here to hand-pick the best stuff from the fluff every week.
Two-horse race for the Premier League title?
The season has only just begun but have the men started to separate themselves from the boys?
Derby rivals Manchester City and Manchester United are jointly-topping the league with an identical points and goal difference tally (13 points and +14 goal difference), three points clear of defending champions Chelsea.
The Manchester duo, who showcased just how deep their pockets can go in the summer, have unsurprisingly the best squads on paper and with world-class managers at the helm are favourites to land the title.
It may be doing a disservice to Chelsea and the rest of the league, but it seems this year’s title will go to Manchester. City play Chelsea on September 30 and should the Citizens triumph, it will be the hard to deny them the tag of title-favourites.
Again, it is is too early to call but Pep Guardiola’s Sky Blues do have better depth in their squad than Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils and come May, the Catalan tactician may just win his first league title in England.
Referees making divisive decisions every week
After Sadio Mane’s contentious sending off at Manchester City last week, it was David Luiz’s turn to be shown red to spark off an incessant debate over the severity of the punishment meted out by the officials.
After a loose touch led him into the path of Sead Kolasinac, the Brazilian centre-back desperately lunged at the Bosnian and referee Michael Oliver promptly gave the Blues defender his marching orders.
Yes, the challenge was a little high and his studs were showing, but it was not two-footed and some can argue that Alexis Sanchez was fouling/pushing him the build-up.
As things stand, Chelsea have now had three players sent off in five games and perhaps Antonio Conte has a point when he suggested they need ‘more luck’ from referees.
And while City were rampant at Watford on the weekend, courtesy of a certain Argentine, at least two of their goals were offside.
Will video referrals be used for for offside as they are for goal-line decisions in the near future also?
Watford manager Marco Silva will certainly hope so.
Is Jurgen Klopp really the man for Liverpool?
A sore topic for Liverpool fans, this.
Forget what Klopp achieved last season (a creditable fourth-place finish) or the season before that.
And most certainly forget what he did (or didn’t, depending upon your viewpoint) at Borussia Dortmund.
This is his third season (second full season) at Anfield and it’s time for the German to stand up and be counted for on current form, not past accolades.
Liverpool are, or at least were, an elite club. And for a club that is so steeped in history, merely competing for the top-four spots is not enough.
Granted, the Reds do not have the financial power the Manchester clubs possess, but they have spent a fair bit in the summer and surely asking for a major trophy in your second full season in charge is not too much?
Liverpool, who are winless in September (two draws and a loss), need to up their game and Klopp certainly needs to find a way to consistently churn out results befitting the club’s stature.
Arsenal show some spine at last
Despite the missing Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal arguably outplayed Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a remarkable and eventful 0-0 draw.
In fact, had Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck kept their cool in front of goal, the Gunners could have come away with their first away win against the Blues since their famous 5-3 triumph way back in the 2011-12 Premier League season.
Aaron Ramsey was brilliant in midfield and for a change, Granit Xhaka proved to be an able partner and wing-backs Sead Kolasniac and Hector Bellerin were dominating their repspective flanks.
Shkodran Mustafi won his duel with Alvaro Morata and for the first time this season, Chelsea were unable to score.
A team that finished fifth last season, signed a proven goalscorer like Lacazette and retained Sanchez should in theory, at least, be competing for the top-four at least and the Gunners display on Sunday suggested there is hope for them still.
Newcastle United: The form team in the league
For all of Rafael Benitez’s moaning that his team lacks the quality to compete in the Premier League, the Magpies seem to be doing alright.
Along with Manchester City, Newcastle are the only team to have won their last three games.
Credit must be given to the Spaniard tactician and his players, for after losing their opening two fixtures, experts were quick to write them off as relegation favourites.
Jamaal Lascelles has been a revelation in defence, Matt Richie is once again bossing the midfield and the likes of Christian Atsu, Joselu and Ayoze Perez are combing well up top.
Last year’s Championship winners seem to be enjoying their return to the English top-flight and with decent fixtures up ahead, should be able to continue their run of form till November at least.