Premier League – things we learnt this weekend

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**SPOILER ALERT – IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT YOU’VE NOT SEEN THE WEEKEND’S RESULTS, THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS**

 

I’ve already told you why I think the Premier league is the best league in the world. Now I’ll be providing you with a weekly overview of the main things we’ve learnt from the Premier League each weekend.

 

Zlatan doesn’t care how much you cost

 

Friday Night Football came to Sky Sports and there was a lot for Jeff and Rachel to talk about. All eyes were on the world’s most expensive footballer, but despite a very good return to Old Trafford for the £89m man, it wasn’t Paul Pogba who stole the show.

 

You see, Zlatan doesn’t care how much you’re worth. Zlatan cares how many goals he scores. Zlatan cares if you aren’t looking at him. Zlatan probably cares more about his hair than he does about anything else.

 

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is probably the best signing of the summer so far – for any club. He’s an absolute beast, and he’ll score the goals that will see Manchester United compete for the title again for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. And he cost £89m less than Paul Pogba.  

 

Pep can do it on a windy afternoon in Stoke

 

It’s not just the red side of Manchester that’ll be challenging for the title this season. Manchester City look good value already, but could Pep do it on a cold windy afternoon in Stoke?

 

Well, yes. Pretty easily, as it turned out. Mark Hughes has made a couple of shrewd acquisitions for Stoke City, but they still look an ordinary side and failed to muscle their way through Manchester City’s new-look backline, which included £47.5m John Stones.

 

Stoke’s penalty award was a pretty soft one – it seemed to only be awarded for consistency to comply with new refereeing guidelines. Ryan ‘he’s not that kind of player’ Shawcross tried to de-robe Otamendi earlier in the game and gave away a penalty. I’m all for consistency, but for me the second incident was nowhere near as blatant.  

 

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This Manchester City side looks full of goals though and already has the typical Guardiola slickness. Nolito seems to be the pick of the new bunch so far on this evidence.

 

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Liverpool might have been better off fielding a team of stewards

 

Let’s be honest, Liverpool turned up at Turf Moor looking like the stewards in their change strip of luminous yellow. Let’s be even more honest – they might as well have fielded a team of stewards.

The Reds had plenty of possession but the worries about their defence soon resurfaced when Sam Vokes was allowed to turn in his own sweet time and send a rocket past Mignolet. If it’s going to be their season, Liverpool need to sort out their leaky backline and address some inconsistent creativity issues, otherwise it could be another washout.

 

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Burnley look to be enjoying themselves back in the Premier League though. New signing Steven Defour looks like a proper player and in Vokes and Andre Gray, they’ve certainly got goals in them.

 

Hull City aren’t actually cannon fodder

 

Hull City looked close to needing to field the physio before the start of the season. No permanent manager, a threadbare squad and questions over the club ownership, it was looking pretty bleak for their chances this season.

 

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Despite all the odds stacked against them, they’ve started the season with the sort of steely determination that helped Leicester win the league last season. Their 2-0 win at Swansea made it two wins in two, but their well-documented issues need sorting soon if they’ve a chance of keeping up this form. They need to keep hold of the players they’ve got though, and with clubs sniffing around the likes of Abel Hernandez, that could be easier said than done.

 

Palace’s form guide in 2016 now resembles a Welsh town

 

Some Crystal Palace fans were dismissive of the warnings they got from Newcastle fans about Alan Pardew. Arriving as a club legend, he made a decent start, but this is how the Pardew story always goes. He’s now presided over just two league wins in the whole of 2016 – they’ve won just twice in the last 23 games. That’s relegation form, make no mistake.

 

Despite the only difference in this game being Victor Wanyama’s home debut goal, for a Spurs side with eyes on another title tilt, Palace were once again second best and now most Palace fans have had enough.

 

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You suspect the £30m signing of Christian Benteke won’t be enough to save Alan. If they don’t win against Bournemouth at the weekend, he’ll surely be dancing off down the road with another pay-off in his pocket.

 

Diego Costa is back from the beach

 

Last season Diego Costa looked like he’d rather be on a beach in the Costa del Sol than a football pitch, but the arrival of Antonio Conte at Chelsea seems to have given him a new lease of life.

 

His two goals in two games have earnt Chelsea 6 valuable points to give them a great chance of being up there in the title race this season.

 

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Whether Costa is still at the club after the transfer window closes remains to be seen. And if he is, can he still muster up the effort required to maintain this form? The jury is out on that one, but on his day he’s deadly, as he’s proven in the first two games of the season. Chelsea actually really need him.

 

David Moyes likes to set his targets high

 

Sunderland. Oh dear. It’s not looking good at all for them is it? Their defensive shining light last season, Kone, wants out and there’s only so long they can rely on the goals of Jermain Defoe. Despite signing a couple of Manchester United reserves and Steven Pienaar, they desperately need some extra new faces, especially if Kone departs as is now expected.

 

David Moyes admitted after the game that his side are already in a relegation battle and that there’s no quick fix to their form of recent seasons. Talk about setting your targets high and having faith in your own ability. It could be the end of the Premier League line for them this season.

 

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