In what was quite an astonishing weekend in the Premier League, here are five things we learned:
The pundits were right about Liverpool
When Liverpool sold Luis Suarez this summer after qualifying for the Champions League, many predicted that they would struggle to juggle European commitments along with their Premier League obligations. Slumping to their third league defeat from their opening five games, Liverpool managed to sandwich a last-gasp win over minnows Ludogorets courtesy of a late penalty between two league defeats but it is clear for all to see that Brendan Rodgers has yet to find a way to balance European football and domestic.
Alan Pardew is a dead man walking
Three points from five games, only a double from substitute Papiss Cisse saved Pardew from finding himself in an untenable position. While many managers might have been praised for bringing on a substitute who rescued a point, Pardew’s credit with the fans has finally run out and it seems only a miracle can save his job after fan protests at the ground this weekend.
Mesut Ozil is a different player when he’s in the middle.
Played out on the left for most of the season, Mesut Ozil has come in for excessive criticism from the media. Moved in to the middle for Arsenal’s trip to Villa Park, the German World Cup winner promptly helped himself to a goal, his first away from home since signing for the Gunners, and an assist.
Manchester United still lack leaders
Despite spending the GDP of a small country in the past year, United still seem to have no player willing to grab hold of a game and drag them over the finishing line. An array of the finest attacking talent at their disposal, they are crying out for a player on the pitch to lead. Wayne Rooney, described as ‘undroppable’ by van Gaal, was the subject of much online discussion between United fans as they debated his merits in the role of captain. They found few to agree on.
Football loves a good narrative.
Frank Lampard comes off the bench for Manchester City to score the equaliser against Chelsea. You couldn’t write it. Well, you could, but you’d be widely mocked for being ridiculous. That’s why we love football.