Month in brief
August saw table-topping Manchester City kill the competition and Chelsea slump to seventeenth place. Manchester United and Arsenal overcame shaky starts to reach second and third, respectively.A mid-table team renaissance, however, saw Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, and Swansea nipping at United and the Gunners’ heels. Storied clubs Tottenham and Liverpool were uninspiring. Most teams have been very competitive this month.
Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis of Swansea have seven goals between them. They terrorized Manchester United in the Swans’ 2-1 victory. Playmaker David Silva has shone brightest amongst the many stars at Manchester City. Riyad Mahrez has been a true match-winner for Leicester City, with four goals to date. Steven Naismith of Everton recently completed a hat-trick against Chelsea and 21-year-old Callum Wilson has been making scoring look easy at Bournemouth with four goals in four games.
Manchester City, undefeated so far this season, stand out from the pack. Winger Raheem Sterling has brought energy to a fantastic attack that previously sported David Silva and Sergio Aguero. The depth that Kevin De Bruyne adds helped City overcome an injury to Aguero and survive against Crystal Palace. Their defence has looked much better than last season due to Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure returning to form and the excellence of defensive midfielder Fernandinho. City is sharp at both ends of the pitch; they boast the second-best possession and passing completion percentages in the league. They also have the most tackles and interceptions per game.
Deadline day madness
Manchester United paid through the nose for 19-year-old Anthony Martial. No teenager is worth £36 million, no matter how good he may be. City brought in De Bruyne to bolster the league’s best midfield for £57 million. Everton rebuffed Chelsea’s advances for John Stones. Chelsea made no significant moves and Manager Jose Mourinho’s team slumped further from the top four.
Samir Nasri vs. Everton. Sporting fans live for such moments of grace. At the right edge of the box Samir Nasri passed to Yaya Toure and then glided between two Everton defenders towards the goal. With minimal movement, Toure looped the ball off the inside boot over those two defenders. Nasri collected the ball and chipped the goalie in one seamless, loping bound. Watch the goal with the sound off—there is a sublime and frictionless quality to it.
Champions League Predictions
The Champions League commences on September 15. Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United will be representing the Premier League. City has the toughest group containing last year’s runners up Juventus . They ought to make it through the group stage, but defending Europa League champions Sevilla will be a tough matchup. The other three sides should reach the top 16. Can the Premier League teams improve on last year’s disappointing showing? Only City look like they have the quality to go deep in the tournament, given Chelsea’s poor start. Expect Manchester United to have a fiery group stage match against PSV Eidenhoven when Memphis Depay returns to his former club.
Football articles of the month
Here is a list of my favorite articles about the Barclays Premier League that I read this month:
Echoes in Eternity: Which coach has been the most influential of all time?
José Mourinho thrives on tension but after two years it becomes a problem
A pragmatic proposal for FIFA reform
How West Brom secured Salomón Rondón thanks to Vladimir Putin's protectionism