Mark Callanan looks at five things we learnt from the Premier League this weekend
1. Robin Van Persie made the right decision
Although the scoreboard may not have been as embarrassing as last year’s 8-2 annihilation, United remain streets ahead of their London rivals. In fact it is not even fair to call Arsenal rivals of United any more such is the difference in quality. While Arsenal’s familiar defensive and mental frailties were there for all to see, United purred impressively and but for a host of missed chances could have at least managed to replicate half of their goal tally from last season’s fixture. Van Persie, given the chance to open the scoring following Thomas Vermaelen’s, made no mistake and the former Gunner enjoyed an impressive afternoon, linking well with his new, superior teammates. Before the game Arsene Wenger called on Arsenal’s travelling support to respect Van Persie for his eight years of service. While this was always going to be a long shot, the disgusting chants emanating around Old Trafford regarding Van Persie capped a bad day on and off the pitch for the Dutchman’s former club.
2. Mark Hughes is edging towards the exit
By the time QPR play next, it will be the 10th of November and Mark Hughes’ side will be still attempting to register their first league win of the season. That is of course, assuming Hughes will still be the man in charge at Loftus Road which is quite an assumption to make. The traditional hallmarks of Hughes’ sides in the past have been defensive solidity, organisition and physicality. QPR possess none of these qualities. The side is littered with expensive, technically gifted players whose commitment to the cause appears to be dubious at best. After lavishing Hughes with a hefty transfer kitty, QPR chairman, Tony Fernandes cannot be expected to remain patient for much longer.
3. Luis Suarez is world class
While Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool’s career has gotten off to an inauspicious start, it could have been a whole lot worse were it not for their enigmatic Uruguyan striker. While Liverpool supporters may not feel their side has any place being in the bottom half of the table, they should thank their collective stars that their one world class player has started the season in devastating form. Without Suarez, Rodgers’ side would undoubtedly be closer to the foot of the table than the halfway point and the striker’s superbly taken goal against Newcastle was a reminder, not only to Liverpool fans, of his top class quality. Not many players in the Premier League would have been able to chest a sixty yard looping ball directly into their path while on the run. Even fewer would have been able to blindly anticipate the oncoming Tim Krul, calmly pull the ball around the advancing keeper and then cooly side foot the ball home.
3. Swansea City have an eye for managers
Roberto Martinez has just defeated Spurs in White Hart Lane. His side, Wigan, have long won plaudits for their passing style and Martinez’s insistence on playing football the right way. Wigan’s chairman, Dave Whelan is completely enamoured with the young Spaniard and every time rumours signalling Martinez’s departure surface, Whelan acts like a cross between a lovesick schoolboy and a head cheerleader. His successor at the Liberty stadium, Brendan Rodgers guided the Swans to the top tier of English football and kept them there, playing a Welsh hybrid of tiki-taka, before moving onto the greener pastures of Anfield in the summer. Michael Laudrup’s appointment out of left field raised eyebrows in some quarters, but the Dane has added superbly to the squad and although the Swans have become slightly more direct, this has made them a more dangerous side overall. It appears the conveyor belt of top class managers at Swansea City is set to continue running.
4. January taxi for Torres
As Chelsea spluttered to an unconvincing draw against the aforementioned Swans, their lack of a striker who can actually score goals looks set to seriously impede Roman Abramovich’s insatiable appetite for trophies. Fernando Torres, for all his selfless running and stretching defences, has lost his goal scoring mojo. Although the three offensive players behind Torres are wonderful talents, Chelsea still need an effective no.9. The erratic nature’s of Daniel Sturridge’s displays would appear to rule him out and while loanee Romelu Lukaku undoubtedly has the potential, he is still raw and probably won’t be ready to step into the breach by January. Ideally Chelsea would offload Torres to his boyhood club Atletico Madrid in a swap deal for Radamel Falcao. The Colombian is better than Torres in his prime and is streets ahead of the current incarnation of Il Nino.
5. Everton need to turn draws to wins
In the wake of Everton’s draw at Fulham, David Moyes hailed this side as his bet yet at Everton and he has good reason to be optimistic. Although it is not clear what position Maroune Fellaini actually plays but he consistently terrifies opposing teams regardless of where he lines up. He effectively played up front against Fulham where his sheer size and awkwardness wreaked havoc in the Cottager’s defence. Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman have struck up a partnership on the right to rival the Pienaar, Baines combination on the left. Throw in the goalscoring instincts of Nikica Jelavic and it is easy to understand how Everton have lost only one game. They have however drawn half their games this season and if Moyes’ side are to reach the hallowed ground of the Champions League, they have to turn draws into wins.