The second weekend of Premier League football taught us that Manchester United are exactly who we thought they’d be under Jose Mourinho, Manchester City are even better than initially presented, Chelsea remain a team on the build relying on luck and referee decisions, Arsenal are having one those early season crisis they’re used, and Liverpool can’t break out of their tactical rigidness, hurting them against teams like Burnley.

Image: Source

Image: Source

Manchester City

  • Sergio Aguero, when he’s healthy, is a scoring machine. He found the net twice in the 4-1 win over Stoke, matching Didier Drogba’s PL tally of 103 goals, only in 102 matches less
  • Raheem Sterling is a key cog in Guardiola’s system. He can cancel out so many defenders with his movement and passing, but unless he becomes more accurate in the final 20 meters, City will be very frustrated with him, even more than last season
  • John Stones is the real deal. It’s going to take him time before the price tag doesn’t bother anyone, but in Guardiola’s system and his expectations, he’ll do very well

Manchester United

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic is now being hailed as the new Eric Cantona. Maybe it’s true. A Superstar on and off the pitch, Ibrahimovic’s presence continues to change the balance in every league he sets his foot in
  • Paul Pogba didn’t score or assist in the 2-0 win over Southampton, but he was all over the pitch in his debut, showing his quality even without the statistics, giving United a true star in the midfield
  • Maybe even a bigger story than Pogba and Ibrahimovic, Marouane Fellaini has a new lease on football. It takes a cynical manager to revive Fellaini, the man and the elbows, but Mourinho knows how to make vile players thrive in a certain system

Chelsea

Image: Source

Image: Source

  • And the king of vile football is Diego Costa. Another winner in a 2-1 win over Watford, another match he should have been sent off in, this time for diving, for some reason not getting the second booking. Obviously, managers and teammates will rush to his defense, but it continues to defy reason how the Spanish-Brazilian striker continues to avoid the amount of sending offs he deserves to be getting
  • Antonio Conte isn’t about pretty football. Chelsea fans aren’t about pretty football, despite the perception which died the moment Roman Abramovich took charge of the club. It shows, but it’s working
  • Conte’s subs won him the match: Michy Batshuayi, Victor Moses out of nowhere, and Cesc Fabregas on for Nemanja Matic, who is really struggling to find his 2014-2015 form

Liverpool

  • Jurgen Klopp had the same problem in his last two seasons with Dortmund: His system can be countered, especially when possession means nothing to the opposing team. Burnley showed just how big of a problem Liverpool can have with their tightness in their way of attacking against defensive teams
  • In the 4-3 win over Arsenal, Liverpool inability to control the pace was down to its midfield. Once again, Jordan Henderson and Georgino Wijnaldum looked incapable of directing Liverpool the right way
  • As problematic as Alberto Moreno is, putting James Milner at left back isn’t the answer

Arsenal

  • It’s hard to say if Arsene Wenger is jolted by the renewed criticism or simply waits for it to blow over. It is affecting his players
  • Wenger could smile about the performance of Rob Holding in the 0-0 draw with Leicester, but that’s not enough to show the Gunners can contend for titles
  • Successful or not, the main change with Arsenal over the last three years is the disappearance of their attacking football and style. This is a boring team, for better or worse