After the anticipation of the Premier League kick-off was lifted over the weekend we have come a little bit closer to knowing how each of the sides is shaping up for the next nine months.
Perhaps overall judgement cannot be made until each squad has been decided when the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month but certain theories of some teams may have been dispelled or reinforced over the opening weekend.
Arsenal need a striker to be genuine title challengers.
With so much hype surrounding Arsenal going into their opening game against West Ham on Sunday their fans can be forgiven for feeling let down by the 2-0 loss. After the Community Shield win over Chelsea much was expected but their old frailties showed up again.
They lacked a defensive leader as Petr Cech made the worst possible start to his Arsenal career with two costly errors that allowed Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate to score.
While much was made of Cech’s disastrous start to life at the Emirates, issues remain at the other end of the pitch. Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott couldn’t find the net in the last half hour to drag the North Londoners back into the game. Karim Benezma’s move can’t come quick enough for Arsene Wenger but after watching the toothless performance yesterday the Real Madrid man may be having second thoughts.
Slaven Bilic will add a lot to West Ham
The Croat returned to manage the Hammers after the sacking of Sam Allardyce and could prove to be an astute appointment by David Gold and David Sullivan if the 2-0 defeat of Arsenal at the Emirates is anything to go by. 16-year-old Reece Oxford also could key player for the East London club this season as he confidently dealt with Mesut Ozil on Sunday.
Liverpool have made better acquisitions this summer
Brendan Rodgers side put in a solid performance to go to the Britannia and defeat an improving Stoke City side. Christian Benteke didn’t score but he linked up well with match-winner Philippe Coutinho throughout and showed evidence he could pose defences major problems this season. James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne also made impressive debuts.
Louis Van Gaal is about to finally play Juan Mata in his preferred number 10 role
The Spanish magician hasn’t hit the same highs of his Chelsea career at United but his form at the conclusion of last season suggested he may be about to return to the standard that saw him twice named player of the year at Stamford Bridge. Van Gaal also deployed him in his favoured no.10 role which may see him return to his playmaking best.
Nothing much has really changed at Tottenham
Spurs started their annual attempt to break into the top four but went to Old Trafford more in hope than expectation that they could snatch a victory. This was evident in their performance as Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane searched for greater assistance around them but coming up short appears to be a persistence theme that we can continue to associate with Tottenham.
Chinks appeared in Chelsea’s defensive armour
Time may finally be catching up with the evergreen John Terry. The Chelsea captain may have been in impressive form last season as they captured the title but he was caught out against Swansea on Saturday. He will be 35 in December and it’s clear why Jose Mourinho is keen to sign an extra defender.
Maybe John Stones isn’t such a top class defender after all
Stones has been linked with a £30million move to Chelsea and Manchester United but after being part of a Everton defence that leaked two soft goals against new boys Watford, his price may have dropped. Stones was particularly fallible for the second Watford goal as failed to deal with the threat of Odion Ighalo.
Leicester have continued their impressive form from last season
Leicester City’s fans fears that they might abandon their form of the end of last season after the departure of Nigel Pearson were allayed against Sunderland. Claudio Ranieri looks to have brought flamboyance to the side with Jamie Vardy and company picking up where they left off last term as they smashed in four goals against the Mackems.
Steve McClaren could be the manager Newcastle needed
Newcastle may only have been able to secure a 2-2 draw at home to Southampton but McClaren has already got his attackers scoring. Papiss Cisse and new signing Georgino Wijnaldum had put the Magpies 2-1 up but they could not hold out as a late Shane Long header ensured a share of the spoils. But signs are encouraging on Tyneside as new £14.5m signing Wijnaldum already looks as if he could be a key player for the new manager this season.
Bournemouth are about to find out how unforgiving the Premier League can be
After dominating for long periods on their first ever appearance in the top flight, Bournemouth paid the price for not finding the back of Brad Guzan’s net despite a number of attempts on goal. Aston Villa may struggle this season again if they don’t make a couple more signings but new 6 ft 4 striker Rudy Gestede jumped off the bench to prove to Eddie Howes new boys how costly missed chances can be at Premier League level.