The Premier League October Review: Part 2

Listen to Hit Row Z’s first ever podcast here! 

In Part 2 of my October Review, I explore the progress of teams from Hull through to Norwich.

Read The Premier League October Review: Part 1

Read The Premier League October Review: Part 3

Hull City

Steve Bruce has been quietly going about his business this season and has so far proved a lot of doubters wrong. 11 points out of their opening seven fixtures have built the Tigers a solid foundation in their quest to avoid relegation. Irishman Robbie Brady has impressed, as have the the two men from Spurs in midfield – Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone.

What they need to succeed: To keep their nerve. The last team Bruce will want to emulate is Ian Holloway’s Blackpool side who started strongly back in 2010/11, but who ended the season relegated.

Liverpool

Brendan Rogers has steered his side towards the summit of the league, largely without his main talisman from last season, Luis Suarez. Instead, it has been the form of Daniel Sturridge that has seen the red half of Merseyside brush aside opponents with their fluid and dynamic attacking style.

An early season shoulder injury to playmaker Philippe Coutinho was a blow, however the goalscoring return of a certain Uruguayan will appease fans’ worries. For the first time in a long time, Rodgers’ Liverpool feels like a side that could genuinely go all the way, with a perfect balance of youth, experience and stability fronted by arguably the most potent strike partnership in the league beyond Rooney and RVP.

What they need to succeed: Suarez to keep his head. Sturridge stepped up to the plate in the number 7’s absence, however the Uruguayan has the world class talent to carry this side to league success. This is the season for him to leave controversy at the door and grow up.

Man City

Despite a couple of shaky defeats, Manuel Pellegrini will be pleased with his start to life in the English game. New signings Jesús Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Fernandinho have notched up a fair amount of game time between them, however it has been the familiar faces of  Sergio Agüero and Yaya Toure who have been the most effective, scoring four league goals each.

David Silva has also returned to form, Samir Nasri has been effective as a super sub, and the talented Stevan Jovetić has yet to be fully blooded into the starting eleven. The only real question marks remain at the back, with injuries blighting the defence and Joe Hart coming under more scrutiny for an abundance of mistakes so far.

What they need to succeed: To shore up the defence. Kompany’s constant injuries will certainly by concerning the fans, particularly as the Belgian can galvanise the squad both on and off the pitch. Joe Hart could also do with a couple of clean sheets to calm his early season nerves.

Man Utd

The Reds’ bottom half position may come as a surprise to many, however will equally have not phased others. Adnan Januzaj’s timely performance against Sunderland has turned Moyes’ start from a disastrous one into a only a troubled one. All eyes are on the Scotsman, however the players themselves are not without fault. Concentration is lacking at the back and once too often the midfield have struggled to make an impact.

After an unsettled summer, Wayne Rooney has found some superb form, while van Persie has only found the net once since the opening weekend – three games without a goal is a drought given the Dutchman’s high standards.

What they need to succeed: A midfield spark. After some lacklustre performances, it’s almost certainly time for Moyes to start fielding the creative pairing of Zaha and Kagawa – the gap between midfield and attack has been United’s main downfall so far this season.

Newcastle

After a damp squib of a summer transfer window and the farcical Joe Kinnear saga, Alan Pardew has seen his side produce a Jekyll and Hyde-esque consistency. Impressive displays away to Aston Villa and Cardiff City have been cancelled out by horror shows at home to Hull and an embarrassing first half performance at Goodison in which Lukaku and Barkley ran riot. Defensive incapabilities have seen the return of forgotten man Mike Williamson, after the unwanted status of having the third worst defence in the league.

Up top, one man carrying the most consistency is new arrival Loïc Rémy, who is giving out of form Papiss Cisse a masterclass in confidence and conviction in front of goal. French enigma Hatem Ben Arfa has also showed signs he is back to his best, and summer want-away midfielder Cabaye proved at Cardiff his is still committed to the Geordie cause. Without any major injuries, Newcastle should avoid a repeat of last season’s flirt with relegation.

What they need to succeed: To stop their leaking defence and sign Rémy permanently in January.

Norwich

The Canaries capitalised on an impressive campaign last season with shrewd buys over summer, however they have not quite gelled as well as manager Chris Hughton would have hoped. The main problem? Goals. Only five scored in total in the league and only one of them from a striker, Dutchman Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

In recent games, Leroy Fer as started to find his feet in England, however Robert Snodgrass has been unable to capture the rich form he enjoyed last year. At the back, John Ruddy, despite having only kept two clean sheets, has shown he will be pushing Joe Hart all the way for England’s number one jersey.

What they need to succeed: Goals. Alongside the Wolf, Norwich boast Johan Elmander and Gary Hooper who are no strangers to finding the net. Hughton will be hoping at least one of them will come up with the goods sooner rather than later.

Read The Premier League October Review: Part 1

Read The Premier League October Review: Part 3

Listen to Hit Row Z’s first ever podcast here! 

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