Norwich haven’t been able to recapture their form of last year, since Paul Lambert has left, however, they are sitting in fifteenth place and look to be slowly picking up form after their win against Arsenal has kick-started their season, as they went on to win one and draw to of their next three league games, and beat Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup – so could an upset be on the cards?
Manchester United have started the season in extremely impressive form, picking up huge wins against rivals Chelsea and Arsenal in their last three games, leaving them sitting pretty at the top of the table. After overcoming Paul Lamberts Aston Villa thanks to super-sub Javier Hernandez, they’ll look to continue their form and make it seven wins in a row, against the Scots old club.
Lately, there has been lots of talk and debate about Manchester City and their plethora of different tactics, with Roberto Mancini being the centre of the discussion, there’s been differing views and Mancini has defended himself in the press, while indirectly insulting his players. People are saying he changes formation too often, he rotates too much and that he’s a perfectionist, but nothing can be perfect, so even in times of elation and great performances he will say something can be improved – he has been labelled as a ‘tinkerer’ by some, rather than a good tactician, which would have been the standard compliment for him last year, but I always thought the change of tactics and systems was a good thing, giving them versatility, but many disagree.
Everton vs Sunderland
Everton vs Sunderland, a fixture that usually would be a mid-table clash – one that doesn’t really set the world alight – however, after Evertons great start to the season, putting them in fourth place and Sunderlands dip in form as of late, leaving them sixteenth, this could be an interesting game, a game that both sides will see as winnable, but who will gain the valuable three points?
The only injury concern for Everton is the fact that Darron Gibson is doubtful, however Leon Osman can fill in in the centre of midfield, after recently getting his first call-up to the England side. Everton will also be boosted by the fact Steven Pienaar has now returned from his suspension, meaning the partnership of Leighton Baines and Pienaar down the left-hand-side can be reunited, which will be a thorn in Sunderlands defence, after causing nearly every team they’ve played trouble, with their tremendous understanding of each other’s games.
Queens Park Rangers and Reading are the only two sides left in the Premier League yet to win, as they both sit in the bottom three, with Q.P.R. rooted to the bottom with only three points from their opening nine games, whilst Reading are two places ahead in eighteenth and have gained four points from their opening eight games.
After Q.P.R.s heavy strengthening in the summer, many expected the London club to be sitting comfortably in mid-table, with some even tipping them as dark horses for a place in the Europa League, after signing proven internationals like Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar and Cameroon centre-back Stephane M’Bia, from French title challengers Marseille. However, that has yet to be the case for Mark Hughes’ side, losing six of their first nine games; they have had a tough start to the season, already facing Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal, but have still failed to win the games against the teams around the same quality of them, which could come back to haunt them at the end of the season.
Manchester City have started the season well, however, they’re yet to capture their form of last season, despite still being unbeaten. They’ve won five and draw three out of their opening eight games, winning their last three, including a last gasp win against West Bromwich Albion, with ten men. With their envious home record, they’ll certainly be looking to take all three points against a Swansea side that has had a mixed start to the season.
Swansea started the season in exhilarating style, taking apart both Q.P.R. and West Ham, scoring eight goals and conceding none in the process, they then went on a winless run of five games, with draws against Sunderland and Reading, while losing to Stoke, Everton and Aston Villa, giving Paul Lambert his first win in charge of The Villians. After beating Wigan last week, however, The Swans confidence will be restored, and a win against the Champions could kick-start their season, and give them a new lease of life.