After what seemed like an eternity, the Premier League was back in action this weekend. As always, it had its fair share of thrills and spills.
We look at some of the things that happened over the weekend and even possibly predict the new champions. A fierce local rivalry was reignited as a 19-year-old Frenchman made a huge first impression. Records were broken, some good some bad. Some new names moved one step closer to becoming household names, while some began to go the other way.
Champions reign may be all but over
The problems for Jose Mourinho do not seem to end at the moment. First-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois underwent a knee surgery during the week which effectively ruled him out for 8-10 weeks. To add to his misery, their forte from last season a defence — looks their biggest weakness thus far. As a result, the west London team has already lost more games than they did during the whole of last season. A 3-1 loss to Everton this weekend made sure that this is Chelseaa s worst start to a season in 17 years. Due credit to the home side, they played some free-flowing, attacking football and deserved to win. Although Mourinho would have us believe otherwise, his team was poor on the day and requires some serious introspection.
Cesc Fabregas is a shadow of his former self, Eden Hazard is suffering a rare dip in form, Diego Costa is short of goals and fitness while Branislav Ivanovic seems to be chasing his own tail while defending. Add to this the off-field controversy surrounding the medical team, it serves a perfect recipe for disaster.
With the Champions League also starting midweek and a visit by Arsenal the weekend after, the season will only get tougher from here for Chelsea. If they have to prove their worth as champions, this has to the best time for the players to take responsibility and put their hand up.
5 games, 5 wins, 11 goals scored, none conceded. This is the kind of form that wins championships and Manchester City are well on their way to reclaim the crown. Along with their superb on-field displays, including a 3-0 defeat of Chelsea, they have done some shrewd business off it too. Their latest signing, Kevin De Bruyne was forced to make his debut sooner than he hoped for as Sergio Aguero limped off in the first half. Along with De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling also joined City in the summer and has been settling in well. The coming back to form of Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany has rejuvenated them which is easily seen in the confidence with which they are playing.
The hero this time around was young Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho, who only signed for City last year after turning 18. His last-minute winner helping City eke out a win, when perhaps they deserved only a draw. Although it is very early in the season to say with certainty they will win the whole thing, but they have begun so well, the job already looks half done.
Two new signings do the trick for United
Admittedly, it is a misleading headline but David de Geaa s first start this season did have a new signing vibe to it. The Spanish international recently inked a new 4-year-deal and is expected to stay at Old Trafford for another season at least. The other signing that actually had a significant impact on the game was Anthony Martial on his debut for the club and scoring the goal which sealed the match. The 19-year-old, touted to be the next Thierry Henry, did not showboat his way into Old Trafford folklore but managed to sneak in between the Liverpool defence and score a famous goal. If anyone didna t know much about him before, they do now.
Liverpool, on the other hand, looked drab and out of ideas. A spectacular Christian Benteke bicycle kick goal was the only highlight on an otherwise ordinary day for them. Brendan Rodgers looks increasingly under more pressure to get a string of results together and if he fails to do so, could well be the first manager to get the pink slip. The 3-1 loss at Old Trafford leaves them with just 7 points in 5 games and a negative goal difference. Things should change quickly at Anfield, otherwise the famous Kop roar will turn into one of disapproval.
Harry Kane became the most talked about English player last season after smashing in 31 goals in all competitions. Summer speculation even linked him with a move to Real Madrid and Manchester. Much is expected of him this term too, but the pressure seems to have got to him. The Chingford-born striker looked out of sorts yet again this weekend, logging another game with no goals to his name. His team did manage to eke out a win though, with Ryan Mason scoring a late penalty.
On the other hand, while we were all quick to jump on the Kane bandwagon last season, we shouldna t be so quick to get off it. The 22-year-old England international is a top quality striker with time on his side and nothing will show his character more than how he bails out of this tough situation. He also has the full backing of his boss who reminded everyone that even last season Kane scored his first goal only in November.
The surprise package continue to, well, surprise
Not by any stretch of imagination could the biggest of pundits have predicted this. Leicester City sit at second place in the Premier League after 5 weeks a still unbeaten and scored the same amount of goals as Manchester City.
The latest chapter in this fantastic run was a come-from-behind victory against Aston Villa. Trailing 2-0 at half-time, it was looking all but over for Claudio Ranieria s men. But true to their form, they gritted their teeth and turned it around. Although he did not score a goal, Riyad Mahrez ran the show for the Foxes. Slowly becoming one of the best bargain buys in Premier League history, the Algerian winger was on fire yet again. This victory now takes Leicestera s unbeaten run in the League to nine games, a club record.
In many ways, this start to the season has surprised a few. While many expected Chelsea to continue their form from last season, no one expected Leicester Citya s brilliant start. With City looking more and more dominant each passing match, it will be interesting to see how the Blues respond starting with Arsenal at home next weekend.