The season so far: reality Cech for Arsenal, Courtois sees red and Kone denies Watford the perfect start
Anyone wondering what Jose Mourinho was smoking when he allow seasoned pro and Chelsea legend Petr Cech to leave Chelsea for North London rivals Arsenal were quickly made to eat their hats as he delivered a less than convincing Premier League debut for his new club. The veteran shot stopper was at fault for both West Ham goals, misreading the flight of a freekick for the first before being wrong footed by the second. Arsenal offered very little going forward either, a lack of width allowed 16 year old West Ham full back Reece Oxford to command the middle of the pitch, while a lack of impetus serves to further illustrate the still desperate need for a natural finisher like Karim Benzema.
Of the genuine title challengers, only Manchester City delivered a real statement of intent
Elsewhere Manchester United were disappointing in their 1-0 defeat of Spurs, taking until the 65th minute to register an attempt on target, and ended up limping over the line following an early Kyle Walker own goal. Their noisy neighbours delivered a far greater showing of intent with a 3-0 romp over West Brom on Monday night. Yaya Toure scored 2 early goals and dominated in a more advanced role, before a Vincent Kompany header rounded off the win. Raheem Sterling will have to get used to life in the shadows of his illustrious team-mates, failing to excite on his competitive debut.
Bournemouth’s first ever Premier League game ended in defeat as substitute Rudy Gestede lost his man to head home from a second half corner. Eddie Howe must tighten up his set-piece defending if they are to avoid leaking goals at this level. Two of the form sides at the close of last season Leicester and Crystal Palace picked up where they left off. Leicester were 3 up inside half an hour at home to Sunderland before running out 4-2 winners in a convincing display bound to impress new manager Claudio Ranieri. Palace’s win was a little less convincing, needing a late Cabaye goal to make sure of the points, after Norwich had a goal strangely disallowed for a high foot, and were then denied a penalty for a shove on Jerome. Newcastle and Southampton shared the points with a 2-2 draw and a late Coutinho strike was enough for a below par Liverpool to win at Stoke.
Of the genuine title challengers, only Manchester City delivered a real statement of intent, Arsenal offered little going forward, Chelsea looked complacent and Manchester United struggled to get going for large chunks of the game. Leicester and Crystal palace both looked good going forward and should be exciting to watch, whilst Gary Monk appears to have his Swansea side well organised. The last two weeks of the transfer window could bring much needed quality to the Arsenal, United and Liverpool front lines, but without further additions, all three will be trailing in Chelsea and City’s wake.