Premier League talking points: Week one

After a long summer and the increasingly tiresome transfer sagas surrounding Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale, the Premier League proper is now back in full swing.

The backdrop to the season’s curtain raisers – and the first in Premier League history not to feature Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout – has arguably never been more intriguing. With new managers in at four of last season’s top six (Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton), Mark Hughes, Paolo di Canio and Mauricio Pochettino looking to transform their club’s playing styles and improve competitiveness, and Steve Bruce, Ian Holloway, and Malky Mackay plotting their team’s survival, there’s certain to be a lot of intrigue and talking points to debate as the season unfolds.

So, as fans of all clubs perhaps revise their early season expectations in light of the weekend’s action, here at Hit Row Z we take a look at the five key talking points from the first round of fixtures:

1. Robin van Persie

As was so often the case last season, when Manchester United needed a lift, Robin van Persie was there to provide it. His superb individual goal was enough to knock the wind out of Swansea’s sails and give the Red Devils a foothold in the game.

As the game wore on, the Dutchman was a constant menace that both Ashley Williams and Chico Flores looked incapable of taming. If the talented striker can continue in this vein then perhaps we will not hear David Moyes bemoan his side’s opening run of fixtures again this season. For now, RVP made sure it was business as usual for his new manager.

2. Promoted sides overwhelmed by gulf in class

All three promoted sides made losing – and goalless – starts to the new campaign. While defeats were respectable and performances plucky, no doubt all three will be anxious to establish their Premier League credentials next weekend.

Overall, while it is much too soon for doom and gloom, lessons must be learnt quickly.

3. Boo boys take aim at Wenger

Having opened the summer with a declaration that funds were there to invest, and invest big, Arsenal fans have grown increasingly disgruntled at their club’s inability to meet the stoked up expectations.

Having been heavily linked with the likes of Higuain, Suarez and Rooney over the summer, the Gunners opened their campaign with Yaya Sanogo the only new face at the Emirates. An insipid display against an energised Aston Villa side led to boos at the full time whistle and calls for Wenger’s head from certain quarters.

While surely premature and possibly misguided, it’s clear that Wenger and his team have work to do if they are to match their fans expectations this season.

4. Young English talent?

Much of the talk over the summer has concerned the lack of emerging young English talent coming through at the top-level. For optimists, however, the performances of Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Ross Barkley were certainly encouraging.

A special mention must also go to Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey. Certainly in the first half against Manchester United Shelvey was impressive, and involved in much of his team’s good work around the Champions’ penalty area. Clearly Michael Laudrup has some work to do if he is to integrate Shelvey, Michu and Bony in the starting 11, but if Shelvey can take his chances he might just secure a seat on the plane to Rio next summer.

While early days, If these promising youngsters can keep up that level of form then that will offer some encouragement to England fans as the World Cup approaches.

5. Chelsea and Man City look formidable

Perhaps unsurprisingly both Chelsea and Man City made fantastic starts to the season. No doubt Newcastle’s performance was lacklustre and big questions are being asked of Alan Pardew and his men, but you have to admire the way City completely dominated the game, with Fernandinho in particular the stand-out debutant.

For Chelsea, it was business as usual, Jose Mourinho maintained his unbeaten record in the home dugout at Stamford Bridge. A mouthwatering clash at Old Trafford awaits next week, and we’ll learn more about his team then, but on Sunday’s evidence this season promises much for Blues’ fans.


  1. Cleo Quince says:

    Surprised you did not mention Southampton. Three home-grown 18yr olds in the starting 11 all been with the club since they we’re under 9s and so have played together for 11 years. There are another 4 or 5 from that same youth squad who have been with the club since they were 7/8 years old who are in there U21 team hoping to break through. Is there a better current example of a team in the premiere ship who are working on home talent and having some success. This youth squad coming through may be comparable to the Man Utd success of the nineties one day. At least Saints are giving them the chance.

  2. That’s a great shout mate – I think the “Saints academy” has been one of the most prolific, and with Walcott and the Ox already established in the league, and the new crop you refer to coming through, Southampton youth products could feature heavily in future England squads.

    What are your hopes for James Ward-Prowse this season?

  3. Treebrain says:

    “If the talented striker can continue in this vein then perhaps we will not hear David Moyes bemoan his side’s opening run of fixtures again this season.”

    What is insightful is that David Moyes made his position clear and talked with the Premier League two months and remained silent for eight weeks before going public?

    He was then publicly humiliated when Richard Scudamore responded to Moyes and made this fact known!

    By making a public claim about unfairness before a ball is kicked, David Moyes shows his naiveté, Jose Mourinho will eat him for breakfast!

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