Jen Offord takes a look at the talking points in this weekend’s Premier League action . . .
United short of strikers
Three games into the new season, and despite collecting seven points, it’s all been a bit underwhelming from Louis van Gaal’s men. Even the long-awaited debut of Bastian Schweinsteiger, United’s big-name summer acquisition, against Newcastle this weekend, seemingly did nothing to liven things up.
Hitting back against those who’ve suggested he’s too old to be United’s main striker, Wayne Rooney scored an early goal – pity it was offside. Juan Mata also had some good chances, but despite eight of United’s 20 shots being on target, none of them got past Tim Krul.
Seemingly bucking his trend of buying lots of players, Van Gaal insists United don’t need any further help up front. However, with the transfer window open for another week, whether he sticks to his word remains to be seen.
Cherries claim first points
It’s been a frustrating start to the season for Premier League new boys Bournemouth, who failed to take home any points in their first two games. It was a different story on Saturday, however, as Bournemouth went in for the kill against West Ham. Taking advantage of some awful defensive work, Callum Wilson, in particular, gave Hammers keeper Darren Randolph a debut to forget, scoring a hat-trick. A further goal from Marc Pugh took Bournemouth’s haul to four, beating their opponents’ three. Although, the ending was very nearly a different story, as the Cherries were forced to clear their lines in the closing moments of added time.
All in all, not a great time for the Hammers, who saw their second red card in as many games, when Carl Jenkinson was sent off for getting a bit touchy-feely with Max Gradel inside the box. Good to see them getting back to the West Ham Way.
This weekend’s games saw the Premier League’s introduction of the controversial water break. With temperatures reaching as high as 30°C, 90-second breaks – introduced at last year’s World Cup – were given to allow players to rehydrate. For the most part, fans were unreasonably irritated by the interruption, but you can imagine the giggles at the King Power Stadium, where Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater . . . You guessed it.
Jack Butland – England’s future #1?
Jack Butland, 22, had a great game as Stoke City’s newly-established #1 against Norwich this weekend. Mame Biram Diouf scored the first goal of the match for the visitors, though, Canaries captain Russell Martin equalised in the 28th minute, scoring his second goal of the season. If anyone was going to win this match, it was Norwich, who made the most of their 42 per cent possession with 21 shots to Stoke’s seven.
But they could not get past man-of-the-match Butland, who was on fine form. Let’s hope Roy Hodgson managed to catch the highlights after his not entirely successful trip to Leicester to check out Jamie Vardy and Spurs’ Harry Kane.
City chew through Toffees
So far so good for Manchester City, who put two goals past Everton on Sunday to become the only team to have won all three matches of the season so far.
The game was overshadowed by speculation regarding the future of Everton defender John Stones, with the 21-year-old reportedly on the cusp of appealing to the club board to let him join Chelsea. Perhaps this played into City’s hands, or perhaps it helped that Raheem Sterling finally turned up and put in an assist. Whatever the cause, despite the scoreline, it wasn’t an easy victory for City, who needed two moments of real class to break down the Toffees’ defence.
Can Sterling’s old team, Liverpool, manage a third consecutive win tonight to join them at the top of the table?
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