Can we just drop the trophy off at Stamford Bridge? Just before the season started, my Manchester United supporting mate and I made a bet on who would win the League. My mate suggested United would be buoyed by the van Gaal effect and having extended rest period between games. I suggested Chelsea for obvious reasons: Mourinho had trimmed the team of the players who had served as convenient scapegoats last season. Mourinho sides tend to flourish in their second seasons. Take into consideration they have the strongest squad and the perfect blend of aesthetes (Fabregas, Oscar, Hazard) and brute force (Costa, Matic, Ivanovic) and it shouldn’t be any surprise that they’re marching to the title. Their key strength being the versatility of their play: Against Liverpool, they were bettered in the possession stakes but they retained great prowess on the counter and should have been out of sight had Eden Hazard put on his shooting boots. Their next 5 games in the league come against West Brom, Sunderland, Tottenham, Newcastle and Hull. Despite the fact they lost to two of those teams last season, expect them to rack up the points.
Sergio Aguero is god level; At the risk of stating the obvious, Sergio Aguero is one of the most exciting players in football. Were his hamstrings more durable, the imagination runs wild at what he could achieve. In Manchester City’s title wins, the Argentine has played a crucial role. As their faltering season sunk deeper, Aguero’s performance underlined how important he is to the cause. The manner in which he held the ball up before sticking it past Rob Green twice suggest that when in the mood, he can be difficult to brush off the ball. His tally of 12 goals means he’s the leading goal scorer. There’s also the fact, he has the best goals per minute ratio in the history of the League. Sergio Aguero is truly god level.
Stoke City are great at the big games: When he managed Blackburn Rovers, Mark Hughes was viewed as one of the more exciting managers around. The sides he built with Robbie Savage, Tugay, Benni McCarthy, Craig Bellamy, Roque Santa Cruz, Ryan Nelsen and David Bentley were viewed as some of the toughest in that era. His reputation has taken a battering following his time at Manchester City, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers. However, his Stoke side have retained one hallmark of his Blackburn side: faring well against the big boys. Their win against Spurs joins their list of scalps that also includes City. Last term, they defeated Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in the League.
Leicester City sold their soul to the devil for the win against Manchester United: Undoubtedly, one of the most exciting games this season was Leciester’s 5-3 triumph over United. The comeback and the manner in which they eviscerated that creaking United defence fed the fodder of the “Premier League is the Best league in the world” brigade. Well, since that game Leicester have earned only one point: drawing to Burnley. They have lost to Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Swansea, West Brom and Southampton. The easy conclusion is that the bargain they made with the devil to provide their supporters with one of the key memories of the season has worn off and they’re paying the price. A more sensible conclusion is that the United win catapulted them to public glare and has ensured the teams they have played in that time, have been more attentive in how they approach them? Either way, Nigel Pearson needs to find answers soon.
David Moyes in La Liga would be fun to watch: Real Sociedad brought their poor run of form to an end by defeating Atletico Madrid and it is just a matter of time before David Moyes is confirmed as their Manager. Moyes has been vilified for the role he played in Manchester United’s demise and whilst it’s one of those instances where both parties can feel aggrieved the whole move was flawed on the premise that the United and Moyes ethos didn’t complement each other. Sociedad are a better fit for Moyes. Sociedad are a mid tier outfit who’ve had one great season in the last couple of years. In Carlos Vela, they have one of the best players in the league outside the big three and it would be interesting to observe if Moyes can redefine himself just as Steve McLaren did in the Dutch and German leagues after the car crash that was his spell as England’s coach.