There’s no league quite like the Premier League is it?
The fourth week of the English top-flight’s ongoing season brought with it plenty of talking points, not least of which the slowing of a juggernaut that had threatened to run away with the league despite it being early days.
However, the Premier League is more than just Manchester United. Read on to find which Portuguese tactician is impressing all and why the race for the Golden Boot will go down to the wire this season.
Have Stoke found Manchester United’s weakness?
Mark Hughes had mischievously hinted at finding a weakness in the seemingly-invulnerable United side that had won three games on the trot and while it certainly rankled Jose Mourinho, there was truth to the Stoke manager’s bold claims, it seems.
Contrary to expectations and/or predictions, the Potters took the fight to United and very nearly caused a seismic upset on Saturday night.
Stoke, who are moving towards an eye-pleasing style, weren’t afraid to take on their illustrious opponents and their wide players, Xherdhan Shaqiri, Jese and Mame Biram Diouf, gave United’s fullbacks a torrid time at the bet365 Stadium.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting got the goals yes, but all the hard work was done by his teammates.
In fact, had it not been for the brilliance of David de Gea, Jese could very nearly have worsened United’s evening.
Left-back has always been a position of concern for United and Stoke found plenty of joy on that flank, which has prompted many to suggest that bombing forward on the wings may do more than just make the Red Devils uncomfortable.
Credit must be given to Mark Hughes for having the gumption to stick to what was a high-risk strategy and Stoke now have gleaned four points from games against Arsenal and United to begin the season on a promising note.
Manchester City’s dual-forward system finally clicks, or does it?
Gabriel Jesus grabbed a brace and Sergio Aguero scored one before unselfishly setting up his strike partner for another as Manchester City crushed Liverpool 5-0 to give Sky Blues fans plenty to cheer for.
However, if one looks closely then City scored four of their five goals after Sadio Mane was sent off for his dangerous collision with Ederson.
And consider the fact that Liverpool had been forced to start the calamitous Ragnar Klavan in defence due to Dejan Lovren’s injury. To drive the point home, Leroy Sane, who replaced Jesus midway into the second-half, scored the final two goals.
The South American forwards are fine players, with Aguero quite possibly the greatest Manchester City player in the Premier League era, but are they really suited to a two-forward system?
Without any disrespect to Liverpool, stiffer tests for the Jesus-Aguero tandem await and until they can consistently combine to find the net against better defences, doubts will remain about the ability to play together.
Premier League Golden Boot race heating up
Just four games in and the race for the top scorer is neck-to-neck.
Romelu Lukaku has hit the ground sprinting since his summer move to United with four goals from as many games to top the charts.
Gabriel Jesus, who looks like Manchester City’s first-choice starter, continues to score goals regularly and is close behind with three as are Alvaro Morata (Chelsea), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester) and Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).
And the winner of the award for the last two years, Harry Kane, seems to have found his goalscoring boots as soon as August ended with a timely brace at Everton.
Arsenal’s club-record signing, Alexandre Lacazette, has two goals from three starts as does Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) to complete the group likely to compete for the Golden Boot this season.
Who’s your money on?
Frank de Boer: Sacked too soon?
After spending just 77 days in charge, Frank de Boer was unceremoniously given the sack by Crystal Palace on Monday.
Yes, the Eagles lost all four of their league games and are yet to score, but could the capital club have given the 47-year-old Dutchman little more time?
Probably, considering this is a team that barely avoided relegation last season, so somehow it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see a new manager struggle in the opening months of the season.
Having said that, de Boer’s reputation is now in tatters for he was previously sacked by Inter Milan after an ill-fated tenure that lasted just 85 days.
Who’s going to succeed the Dutch tactician? Well, Eagles fans don’t hold your breath for Roy Hodgson is likely to take over!
Sting like a Hornet
Manchester United, City and Watford are the only sides that are still unbeaten in the Premier League.
Yes, you read that right.
The Hornets, under new manager Marco Silva, are going great guns.
The Portuguese tactician, who did a commendable job with Hull last season, has made them hard to beat and they have built on their opening-day draw at Liverpool with away wins at Bournemouth and Southampton.
Their thrilling 3-3 draw at Anfield was entertaining but it should be noted that Watford are yet to conceded since their opening draw goal-glut against Liverpool.
Club record-singing Andre Gray is still settling in and once he gets going there’s no reason the Hornets can’t remain in the top-half of the league table.