Stoke’s super Choupo and 4 more things we learned in the Prem
It was quite the weekend in the Premier League.
Manchester City recorded their biggest win over Liverpool since 1945. Crystal Palace became the first team ever to lose their first four Prem games without scoring. Meanwhile, in the Potteries, a certain Stoke City signing became an instant hero by stunning Manchester United.
The Coral News team cover all that and more in our look back at five things we learned from the weekend’s action…
Super Choupo shows his quality
Manchester United may have survived the first three games of the Premier League campaign without conceding, but Stoke City newboy Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting soon put that record to bed.
The Cameroon ace netted an ice-cool strike from close-range to break the deadlock shortly before the break. Despite the visitors netting twice to lead 2-1, the 28-year-old rescued a point for the Potters thanks to great movement and a bullet header from a corner.
A nuisance for United’s defence from the first minute, the versatile summer signing from Schalke 04 thrived in an attacking-midfield role.
His finishing, distribution and dynamic movement on the ball making him the game’s standout performer. Potters’ fans will be hoping for plenty more of the same.
De Boer pays the price for Eagles failure
By rights, Crystal Palace’s performance at Turf Moor should have steered them clear of the unwanted record of being pointless and goalless after four games. However, despite dominating large portions of the game against Burnley, individual errors saw the visitors slump to a 1-0 defeat.
A disastrous pass from Lee Chung-yong gave Wood a simple one-on-one chance in the third minute, which the Clarets man duly tucked away. That lack of understanding between players characterised the disastrous reign of Frank de Boer, who lost his job this morning.
Despite recording 65% of possession, and chalking up 23 shots to Burnley’s four, the South London club still went home empty-handed, having missed several gilt-edged chances. There’s no doubt this Palace side possess quality. What they need now is a manager who can bring that out.
Clinical Citizens underline title credentials
Going into the weekend, Manchester City hadn’t put five goals past Liverpool since an October 1945 meeting in the North Region War League. But that all changed as the Citizens inflicted the Reds’ joint-heaviest defeat of the Prem era.
After scrappy victories over Brighton & Hove Albion and AFC Bournemouth, as well as a 1-1 home draw with Everton, some had begun to doubt the title credentials of Pep Guardiola’s men. However, the free-flowing, clinical and intuitive football they produced against Liverpool has quickly silenced the Sky Blues’ doubters.
Sergio Aguero finished off a neat team move for the opener, before Reds’ forward Sadio Mane’s reckless red card made the hosts’ job a good deal easier. Still, netting five against this Liverpool team is a stellar feat in any circumstances.
While it was very much a team display, Leroy Sane again showed why the club spent £45m on him last summer, with a virtuoso brace capping off a dynamic individual display.
Silva’s methods paying off for solid Hornets
They may be 125/1 shots to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League this season, but right now that’s exactly where Watford are. Looking back on their opening four displays, there’s little doubt that they deserve that spot.
Saturday’s game saw the Hornets beat Southampton for the first time in eight meetings. The visitors’ display underlined boss Marco Silva’s ability to structure a side who are immensely difficult to break down, while possessing players who can create moments of individual magic at the other end.
Despite the Saints having more of the ball at St Mary’s, they struggled to get in behind a well-organised Watford defence, with the hosts ending the game with just one shot on target. At the other end, superb long-range strikes from Abdoulaye Doucoure and Daryl Janmaat did the necessary damage.
That makes it three Premier League clean sheets on the bounce for the Hornets. Not bad for a side who conceded 13 goals in their final four games of 2016-17.
Swans struggling to plug Sigurdsson gap
Despite the sensational coup of a loan deal for Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches, Swansea City are still missing the creative spark previously provided by the departed Gylfi Sigurdsson. In fact, the South Wales side have now scored in just one of their four Prem games in his absence.
Manager Paul Clement has switched last season’s 4-3-1-2 system to a flat 3-5-2 to incorporate Sanches, but it’s left a creative gap behind the front two.
Whether or not it’s a case of a simple reversion to the previous formation, or the need to buy a genuine Sigurdsson replacement is debatable. However, the fact that Clement needs to shake things up isn’t. That was proved once again as his side managed just half the shots on target of visitors Newcastle United on Sunday.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing