Pep, Jose and Conte keep 100 percent win record
Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea ended week 3 as the only teams to maintain a perfect win record, after beating Hull City, West Ham and Burnley respectively. With three games down, the three under performers of last season show clear intent and sit on top of the league table with maximum points.
Raheem Sterling produced one of those performances which justifies his hefty price tag, scoring twice to set up an easy 3-1 victory for Manchester City at Etihad stadium against a rusty West Ham United, still hurt by the absence of their star midfielder, Dimitri Payet. City are emerging as a top threat to the rest of the title contenders. Pep Guardiola’s genius mind coupled with the star studded line up, the blues of Manchester are growing from strength to strength, setting themselves up strongly for a mouth watering Manchester derby in week 4. The City boss might be forced to field a side without in-form striker Sergio Aguero, who is under FA review after a TV footage appeared to show him elbowing West Ham’s Winston Reid during Sunday’s clash.
Keeping up with their city rivals, Mourinho’s United lined up against an unbeaten Hull side, out to prove a point. The newly promoted side defended deep and were tactically set up brilliantly to frustrate United on a rainy cold evening at the KCOM stadium. Their valiant efforts nearly paid off, but teenage sensation Marcus Rashford had other plans. Deep into injury time, the English striker, brought on as a substitute, found himself at the end of a Wayne Rooney pass, tapping the ball into the back of the net and in the process, breaking the hearts of Hull City fans.
Antonio Conte has not just ensured that the Blues maintain the heat on top of the table but also brought back their star player, Eden Hazard, from the dead. The 2014-15 player of the year looked to have rediscovered his masterclass under the Italian boss, scoring a spectacular goal en route to a victory at home against Burnley. Willian and Victor Moses found themselves on the scoresheet scoring the 2nd and the 3rd goals of the match. The win also marks the Londoners’ first clean sheet at home since November 2015.
Win-win for Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger traveled to Vicarage Road knowing that anything less than a win would set off alarms and cause mayhem at the club. The game saw Alexis Sanchez in a false 9 role, Mesut Ozil back into the starting line up and a new central midfield partnership in Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla. The Gunners put the game to rest with three first half goals courtesy a penalty by Cazorla, a fine goal by Sanchez, who later set up Mesut Ozil for the third at the stroke of half time, much to the delight of the under pressure manager. The match ended 3-1 in the Gunners’s favor, but the second half saw a spirited and determined Watford who forced their opponents to defend well and earn their win. The week rounded off well for Arsenal fans with news about the club finalizing deals with Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi and Spanish striker Lucas Perez.
Vardy gets going
Holders Leicester bounced back and recorded their first win of the season, winning 2-1 against Swansea at home. Jamie Vardy was back to his goal scoring ways, which saw him attract plenty of clubs over the summer. Club captain Wes Morgan piled more misery on the Welsh team when he scored from a well taken corner. The Foxes are far from being the title hungry side of last season, but Ranieri is determined to allow his players to enjoy on the pitch while they churn results.
Spurs, Boro and Everton remain unbeaten
The weekend kicked off at White Hart Lane, where Tottenham hosted Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who looked to bounce back from their disappointing game against Burnley. Spurs fell behind just before half time, courtesy a James Milner penalty. With 20 minutes left to play, the hosts showed great spirit and put on a scintillating performance to grab an equalizer through Danny Rose to remain unbeaten after three games.
Everton too extended their unbeaten streak to three games after a lucky 1-0 victory at home to Stoke. The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot when Leighton Baines’ spot kick ricocheted off the post and hit Stoke keeper Shay Given in the back of the head before crossing the line, robbing Stoke of any points in an evenly fought contest.
Newly promoted side, Middlesbrough ended the week with a boring stalemate at The Hawthorns. The game had a draw written all over it, producing one of the most unentertaining matches in recent times, with both teams combining to have only 4 shots on target. Boro walk away from the weekend not too disappointed, sitting 6th on the table after 3 games. Aitor Karanka’s team have one win and two draws from three games and seem to be settling well, back into the top flight of English football.
Week 4 promises to be entertaining with some mouthwatering clashes. Coming at the back of an international break, fans will be raring to watch the much anticipated Manchester derby, which will be an early indicator of things to follow. Reviving the rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, Old Trafford kicks off the fourth weekend of the new season followed by two feisty clashes when Liverpool host Leicester City and Arsenal host Southampton.