1. Will the lack of a regular goal scoring striker hinder Chelsea?
Before the double fixture against Liverpool, Sarri suggested Chelsea are a year away from reaching Liverpool’s level in cohesion. A win and a draw later, the Chelsea gaffer readjusted his position in his declaration that Chelsea seem closer to Liverpool that he first thought. A sentiment many observers will indeed agree with. Chelsea more than matched Liverpool in vital areas across the pitch and showed a fluidity that will be a warning to rivals and warmth to reassure Chelsea fans.
Thing is, Chelsea were a few minutes from doing the double over Liverpool in a week. Even the most optimistic of fans in West London would never have dreamed to beat a more rounded, snarkier Liverpool. For about 87 minutes on Saturday it seemed possible. Enter Sturridge to score the goal of the weekend to earn a well deserved point.
That the scorer of the goal is Liverpool’s backup option to Firmino shows you the depth in quality Liverpool has especially in the forward areas. Chelsea’s midfield seem capable of lasting a season and are in fact probably the most balanced in that area in the league.
Slick passing will get the fans cooing but goals earn you the points to win games. Chelsea aren’t lacking for goals but an over-dependence on Hazard on the scoring bit is worrying. Hazard is flourishing from being at the center of “SarriBall” which is good news but a dip in form or an enforced absence means Chelsea will struggle for goals and creativity – something Hazard provides in spades right now.
The front three of Liverpool are very potent in carving and taking goal scoring opportunities. Same cannot be said about Chelsea. Man City also boast a terrifying front line as well, and a centerforward in Aguero, who delight in scoring for fun. They already have 21 goals, six more than Liverpool and Chelsea.
This will be a tighter race for the premier league title but this time, Chelsea look to be the outsiders in this three-pronged race. Hazard can’t do it all o his own.
2. Who is more important to Man United’s future: Mourinho or Paul Pogba?
It seems like a watershed moment in Man United’s season. Man United were not just outscored and outclassed, they outfought Man United which would have been starling to watch. Man United played like they weren’t coming off the back of a competition exit to Frank Lampard’s Derby County. The first goal for West ham was always coming given their bright start. Man United couldn’t even be arsed to fight back. They were out-thought and out-played. The famed Manchester United flurry of angry fightback was just a consolatory goal from Rashford.
In all these, not one party can be fully blamed for this mess. The players, coach, board et al have to share in this collective clusterfuck of a season.
The off field issues between Pogba and Mourinho isn’t helping issues at all, it’s rather making a huge joke out of the mess the club is in right now.
Pogba is an undeniable talent but he hasn’t displayed his best qualities consistently since arriving at Old Trafford. Many blame the cautious football of Mourinho for the bluntness of Pogba’s performance but he has to partake in the share of the blame.
Over the past few months, he looks like a player who doesn’t even want to be in England, let alone Manchester. His comments in the media and his body language are tell-signs the relationship between manager and player have broken down to the point where it has permeated the unity in the squad.
Mourinho is losing the battle to keep a united front with Pogba as the leading culprit of a simmering mutiny (how else could you explain that shambolic display against West Ham (!)). Both men have legitimate reasons why they should be make way for the other and it will be interesting to see who leaves Old Trafford before the other.
If Mourinho wins, he still has the task of winning games and the fans. Pogba or Mourinho or both? Wodward, over to you.
3. Five wins in a row, will Arsenal be okay this season?
Okay meaning, not stinking up the place and putting up a convincing string of results to put Journalists out of work. Arsenal haven’t entirely convinced or entertained in this run of victories but Arsenal fans will gladly take this given the dark clouds that gathered over the Emirates in the first few weeks.
There’s still some fine tuning that needs to be done for a fluid, coherent Arsenal borne in Emery’s image to manifest. In the meanwhile, Arsenal are posting victories – something in short supply outside the top reaches of the Premier League. If Aubameyang and Lacazette can gloss over muddy performance with goals, then, maybe, this season might give Arsenal respite they longed for in the latter years of Wenger.
Playing in the Europa league might mean their league form may be compromised. Juggling Thursday night football with the weekend league games may be an unwelcome disruption to a rebuilding process but the prospect of the wining a trophy sounds nice. After all the man leading them out has won the Europa League thrice with Sevilla, cementing his place as one of Europe’s leading coaches.
Arsenal could do with some Europa magic.
4. Should Salah’s form be a cause for concern?
As i suggested earlier, Liverpool have resources in their reserve to win most games. Against Chelsea, he looked ponderous and slacked the killer instinct of last season. The 44 goal man isn’t firing and it is a slight concern in a season of statements from Liverpool. Rumours of jealousy and spite between Mane and Salah may just be that: rumours. But it certainly can leave tongues wagging as long as the mojo and swagger doesn’t return anytime soon.
The Egyptian is clearly not yet in the groove of things since the incident with Ramos. The positive is that he keeps getting into positions that he got into last year. He is probably trying too hard or under pressure from increased publicity. He, less likely isn’t even fully recovered.
It is easy to forget he regularly missed chances early on last season. He’ll come good. Allay your fears, Liverpudlians.
5. Top of the league, can City be displaced?
We all knew it. The day that City will climb to the top of the table was inevitable; they’re that good. Level of points with Liverpool, they do boast a far superior goal difference. This is getting a bit depressing, isn’t it? The competition will suffer if City stroll to the title. And that’s what they are doing at the moment. They are scoring goals like it is out of fashion. Liverpool are the prime candidates to upstage the Champions.
However, despite undeniable progress this season, Liverpool are still a level below City. They simply cannot stop turning the wheel. Kevin de Bruyne is still sidelined and yet they keep winning with consummate ease.
Pep Guardiola has created a terrifying monster. This team is surely one of the greats in the history of the league. And not many people will begrudge them the trophy come May but for the competition’s sake, Liverpool and Chelsea shouldn’t make it comfortable for them.
6. Is Alli going through the motions?
One goal, no assist. Alli’s form over the past year has been one of the talking points in Tottenham’s less than assured start. Spurs did well to dispatch Huddersfield with Kane grabbing both goals. Spurs are fourth and look healthier – momentarily at least. It is, perhaps, an issue of less consequence if Alli goes under the radar. But with heightened expectation comes even heightened exposure and Alli cannot hide his poor from for long.
He is, on his day, one of the most potent weapons Spurs have in their locker. The sooner Pochettino uncovers the reason behind Alli’s indifferent displays, the better for Tottenham.