It is now five weeks into the new football season and true to expectations, the excitement and hype have been out of the world. The big EPL and La Liga sides, (Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Tottenham) have been enjoying mixed fortunes as they all battle for the top prize.
The English Premiership is taking the shape of a two-horse race. Liverpool and Manchester City are gradually pulling away from the remaining “big four” in what is beginning to look like another gilt-edged fight for the title.
Liverpool marshaled by the irrepressible Virgil Van Dijk, has so far maintained a 100% win record courtesy of their “fantastic three strike force comprising of the deadly Salah, the Indomitable Mane and the unselfish Firmino. Presently the Reds don’t look like they are still suffering from the hangover of the narrow loss of the title to the citizens after three goals to one lampooning of Steve Bruce’s Newcastle.
Manchester City has continued to play swashbuckling football, but the recent injury to star defender Aymeric Laporte may put a dent in their plans. The surprise three goals to 2 loss to Premiership new boys, Norwich city is beginning to make the decision not to enter the race for Harry Maguire a big mistake.
Manchester City, will surely recover from the long loss of Aymeric Laporte, but will they recover lost ground to Liverpool? Time will tell.
Tottenham Hotspurs has blown hot and cold this season. The North Londoners have not been able to maintain consistency and the recent 4: 0 thrashing of Crystal Palace only reminds us of what the hardworking Son and co can do in their best elements.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, though beautiful to watch appear to press the self to destruct button at times. The rampaging young English duo of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount show that the much-maligned loan system in Chelsea FC is beginning to yield the desired results.
Recall that all of the 11 goals scored by Chelsea since the beginning of this season has been scored by loanees from its academy. With 2 goals to 5 thrillers over the much-feared Wolves, Abraham earned his first hattrick and seventh goal of the season, topping the chart in a surprising turn of event. Their inability to defend, however, will be their albatross, as they look like a free-scoring side.
The Gunners may as well be regretting the decision to prize David Luiz away from Chelsea, the skillful but calamitous Brazilian has been directly involved in the concession of three goals. The recent 2; 2 draws with the bottom of the table team Watford, only goes to show the purportedly lame nature of this Arsenal team; all shadow little substance.
Manchester United continues their “rebuild” under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. As usual, they have been underwhelming but they can relish the fact that they have been able to keep Paul Pogba away from the lure of Les Merengues.
In La Liga, Real Madrid has spent over 400 million Euros, but are unconvincing. They have struggled to win matches, especially in the 3:2 win last Saturday over Levante, and Sergio Ramos’ bones appear to be creaking. Probably redemption may come their way when Hazard becomes fully fit.
As for Barcelona, it’s been a tale of two events; the absence of Lionel Messi and the resurgence of a new Messi in Guinea Bissau Wizkid, Ansu Fati. Antoine Griezmann so far has not been able to show that he can fill a Messi-sized void in Catalunya.