The Premier League, even on dull weekends, bring along plenty of drama for the English top flight managers to entertain and enthrall in equal measure no matter what.
The big guns are starting to stretch their legs now, but a few clubs are giving them a fight and the 2017-18 season shows no signs of petering out anytime soon.
In case you missed the major headlines, The Statesman has them covered for you.
What’s with Paul Pogba’s injury?
It’s been two weeks since Paul Pogba pulled his hamstring against FC Basel in United’s UEFA Champions League opener and there is still no clarity on his return.
According to several media reports, the Red Devils are still divided over the topic of the 24-year-old getting operated on.
Usually, teams wait for a few days after a muscular injury and then get the player scanned, but a fortnight is unheard of and the fact that the club are yet to release a statement regarding the severity of his injury is peculiar.
Meanwhile, the Frenchman has been entertaining fans by dancing, but fans would rather he strut his stuff on the pitch.
Should United opt for the surgical option after waiting for a period of two weeks, Pogba would be looking at a November return, which would mean he would miss crunch Premier League ties against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, not to mention at least two European fixtures as well.
Difference between Manchester City and Manchester United apparent now
Manchester United fans had gotten ahead of themselves after their team’s blistering start (understandable, considering their beloved team’s struggles in recent seasons) but they were forgetting the pragmatic nature of their manager.
Jose Mourinho is obsessed with winning, not winning pretty. That’s why, with a 1-0 lead in hand, Mourinho directed United to shut shop in the second-half against Southampton.
Substitution one was Ander Herrera for Juan Mata (63rd minute) but it was the second, Chris Smalling for Henrikh Mkhitaryan (75th minute) that really laid bare his gameplan.
Southampton were playing excellent football and probably for the first time this season, United were outplayed to an extent. Mourinho perfectly countered the home side’s potency to eke out a hard fought 1-0 win courtesy of Romelu Lukaku’s first-half winner.
Meanwhile, United’s arch-rivals Manchester City hammered Crystal Palace 5-0. Considering the Eagles’ form, the result alone is not such a big deal, but consider this: The Sky Blues have won their last three games with shorelines of 5-0 (Liverpool), 6-0 (Watford) and 5-0.
Pep Guardiola’s side possess too much firepower in attack and the league is theirs for the taking. They have already beaten a direct rival (Liverpool), whereas United are still to face a side expected to finish in the top four or whereabouts.
The writing is on the wall. Mourinho’s United are not going to regularly hit sides for six and tough away games will witness many 1-0, 2-1 scorelines in the future.
For the moment, they are level on points but as the season progresses, expect the Sky Blues to widen the gap.
Philippe Coutinho sparkles as Liverpool finally win in September
Philippe Coutinho finally shone for the first time this season, assisting Mohamed Salah for the opener before doubling Liverpool’s lead with a sensational free-kick against Leicester on Saturday.
Liverpool fans had begun to think that their twinkle-toed midfielder was perhaps surplus to requirements, but the 25-year-old Brazilian showed that vital spark of ingenuity to give the hosts a healthy lead.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s side don’t like to do things the easy way and the Foxes gave them a mighty scare. Had it not been for Jamie Vardy’s propensity to go down the middle when hitting spot-kicks, the game would have ended 3-3.
Helped by some profligate finishing on Leicester’s part and some lenient refereeing from Anthony Taylor, Liverpool held on for a vital three points, coincidentally their first in September.
They have two games remaining, against Spartak Moscow (Champions League) and Newcastle United, before the international break comes up and now have a perfect opportunity to regain some lost momentum.
Watford display laudable character
When Man City put six past the Hornets in Gameweek 5, there were fears that Watford would not be able to recover and would go down in a slump.
While there is no shame in losing by a big margin to City, especially considering the talent they have at their disposal, a blow-out at home always hurts.
An away trip to Swansea awaited them on the weekend and Marco Silva’s men responded with a thrilling 2-1 win to climb to 6th in the league table.
Club-record signing Andre Gray got them off to a flyer and while Tammy Abraham equalised for the hosts, Richarlison would score a last-gasp winner to give them their third
The Hornets are here to stay and many will feel their sting before the season finishes.