by Jack Hannigan
With just eight games played of the new Premier League season, we enter the second international break of the campaign. The drama, romance and heartbreak of the Premier League is well under way. Liverpool are flying and look like this could finally be their year, Manchester city are stumbling behind them, with a vulnerable defence due to Laporte’s injury. Manchester United and Spurs seem to be sinking fast with no signs of turning it around so far, the international break couldn’t have come at a better time for them.
The managerial sack race is well under way. First to go was Watford’s Javi Garcia already winning that race being replaced by their former manager Quique Sánchez Flores. Flores, breaking the rule of never going back to your ex, must be already ruing his return after the 8-0 drubbing they received from Manchester City on the September 21 and have yet to win a game.
Despite having the talents of former Arsenal man Danny Welbeck and former Barcelona player Gerard Deulofeu going forward. They have scored the fewest goals and in defence are second in most goals conceded. Relegation seems inevitable, but a handful of wins is all they need to escape the relegation zone.
The return of legendary player, now manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer began so promisingly for Manchester United. Except they have gotten off to the worse start they have had in 30 years, now entering the international break having deservedly lost to Newcastle.
The Longstaff brothers in midfield for Newcastle showed the fire and grit missing from United. The question is, how long does Ole have to turn it around? They return to play Liverpool on October 20. Unless a completely different United turn up defeat seems inevitable with Ole at the wheel.
If a club legend returning to his club means crumbling into mediocrity at one club. At Chelsea, the future looks bright, with a transfer ban and the sale of Eden Hazard you’d have been forgiven had you thought Chelsea would struggle this year.
Frank Lampard has put his faith in the Chelsea youth, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount particularly have lit up the Premier League. Whether the young players can sustain this for the entire season is yet to be seen but Chelsea look like the top four contenders with a squad boasting the experience of Olivier Giroud, Willian and Pedro to carry through any dips in form from the Chelsea youth.
Spurs aren’t having much luck after they were pulled apart by Bayern Munich in the Champions League. When fans were hoping for a response, Brighton kicked them whilst they were down to beat them 3-0 at home. A defeat in which Hugo Lloris made yet another amateurish mistake – and also left him with a freak injury when landing awkwardly and dislocating his elbow, ruling him out for the rest of the year.
Liverpool are sitting comfortably at the top of the table, eight points clear of fellow title rivals Manchester City. However, City overturned an 8-point deficit from Liverpool last year to snatch the title. With 30 games left to go and 90 points left to fight for, City’s success appears teetered on how quickly Laporte returns.
Shown in their most recent loss to Wolves as time and time again Wolves got through on goal, only poor finishing meant Guardiola’s side didn’t face a truly humiliating defeat at the Etihad.
How all of these teams will fare after the international break is anybody’s guess – it’s a period in which clubs like Liverpool will despise, but clubs like Spurs and Watford will cherish.
What happens over the next month or two is likely to characterise the rest of the season and, if previous Premier League seasons are anything to go by, expect the unexpected in one of the UK’s most prized possessions.