Just like that three weeks have come and gone in the Barclay’s Premier League. Going into the International Break provides the perfect time to look back on the first three weeks to figure out what we have learned, what predictions have been confirmed, and speculate on what may be to come in the remaining 35 weeks of the season.
What We’ve Learned
Manchester Dominance is Evident, As Expected
With Manchester United bringing in Jose Mourinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, and others in addition to what they already had, I had no doubt Man U was going to be a big time threat this Premier League season (check out my Premier League predictions). Clearly I have not been let down with Zlatan netting three goals in three appearances and Man U pulling off three wins, albeit taking one in dramatic fashion against none other than Hull City (I’ll touch on them in a bit).
On the other side of the Manchester coin, Manchester City made headlines with the already stellar team adding big time manager Pep Guardiola. He’s clearly showed he is not messing around giving the English goalkeeper Joe Hart the boot to make room for the Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, former Barcelona goalkeeper. Manchester City finds themselves currently at the top of the table, granted they were in the same position last season. While they haven’t faced the best competition yet, it may be that these early games have provided them the opportunity to have an easy transition into the Guardiola era which could be dangerous to the rest of the league.
Leicester City Needs to Play Like Leicester City
From what I have seen, Leicester City have played too relaxed compared to how they played last season. Last season they were all about the counter attack, which they had a lethal one and it clearly worked well for them. No need to change anything, as I whip out the old cliche here: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.’ I really love that Leicester City was able to keep their core players giving them a chance to keep a presence at the top, but they need to keep playing like the underdogs and not sit back and relax knowing they made it to the top.
What to Watch For as the Season Progresses
Don’t Get Too Excited Yet Chelsea Fans
Yes, I am a Chelsea fan myself, but have to refrain from getting too excited sharing the top of the table with the Manchester teams. We have three wins coming against West Ham, Watford, and newly promoted Burnley so I don’t think I can call these high quality wins. Granted West Ham did finish 7th last season and Burnley did just beat Liverpool, but not sure I want to call these quality wins. I guess I just don’t want to get my hopes up for nothing, but I will say Chelsea did look like they started to click in the Burnley game. So while I don’t want to get too excited about being at the top, I do feel I was right about them flirting with the top four. I welcome the big time matches, which unfortunately won’t come until Week 5 against Liverpool and Week 6 at Arsenal, and really looking forward to the Man U fixture in Week 9 at Stamford Bridge.
Is Hull City the Next Leicester City?
It may not be quite as drastic since Hull was not 5000-1 (1500-1 odds based on these odds released in May) but would still be incredible. For a team in ownership turmoil that did not even make any summer signings to have won their first two, one against last years champions, and be three minutes away from having drawn with title contender Manchester United it sure looks like Hull City wants to be the next Leicester City. Unfortunately I can’t see it happening. With the lack of depth I am afraid an injury to one of the starting XI could really put an end to those hopes. Even if they stave off the injuries, I would bet they lack the stamina to hold their own late in the year. I could still see them doing decent (check my preseason predictions above) but ultimately doubt they can pull off the title, or even Top 5 for that matter. By all means I will still be pulling for them to do so though.
–Interested in more on the Premier League? Check out my interesting 2015-16 Premier League season goal analysis