Overreaction Tuesday: 5 shocking and in no way over-stated conclusions from the first week of the Premier League
Welcome to Tuesday Team Talk. Every week, the H+K Sports team will give a unique perspective on the week’s football action and the stories making the headlines across the beautiful game.
Oh it's fun to have the Premier League back. Whether it's the best league in the world is a matter of debate, but it's definitely the most talked about. On the back of the first weekend our lives are once again taken over by the analysis, faux analysis and faux faux analysis that makes up Premier League punditry (this blog excluded obviously, this is totally legit). With one week in the books it's the perfect time for some completely accurate and 100% reasonable first weekend reactions.
The Empire strikes back
After last year’s plucky underdog story, there are signs that the Empire might be striking back. United, City and Chelsea all won in the first week and with new players and just as importantly new managers seemingly already bringing the swagger back to the big boys, there are signs that the Premier League could be returning to its usual top heavy self.
Hull are the new Leicester
After the utterly unpredictable nature of Leicester’s title winning season, it was almost fitting that they inexplicably lost to a Hull team in shambles on the opening day. Without a manager and with barely 15 fit players to rub together, Hull looked odds on to lose this game and ultimately get relegated. Of course then, on the back of an opening day win Hull are set to be the new Leicester and take the league by storm! Probably not, but a nice reminder that anyone can still beat anyone in the Premier League.
Arsenal are the old Arsenal
With all the changes in the Premier League, some things never do. Arsenal's defeat to Liverpool brought the boo birds out particularly early at the Emirates this year. Given this is a team that lost their first game last season and still finished second it seems a little unfair and generally speaking I find the treatment of Wenger harsh. But to some extent you can see where the fans frustration comes from. For a club that makes a huge amount of money each year, partly from a very expensive stadium, to have signed almost no one and to be forced to put out a depleted team on the first weekend is a little galling. Wenger may well turn it around, but clearly his leash is smaller than ever with the fans this season.
Wayne Rooney found the fountain of youth
Last season Louis Van Gaal re-cast Wayne Rooney as the stuttering engine at the heart of his languid midfield. It’s a move that new manager Jose Mourinho clearly didn’t think much of, declaring almost as soon as he was confirmed as manager that Rooney would play up front. On Sunday Rooney was returned to his traditional striker position and alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the line as United won comfortably in their opening game. Clearly then Mourinho has re-invigorated Rooney and he is set to roll back the years this season. It’s at least possible. But given United just spent £89m on Paul Pogba, and it looks like playing both could be a serious struggle, born again Wayne Rooney may not even be a first team regular for long.
Strikers doing what they do
Nothing livens up a football game like a quality striker. It’s a pretty rare commodity, and last season there were a few teams that looked desperately in need of a quality target man. But as Zlatan was doing Zlatan things for United and Diego Costa was doing Diego Costa things for Chelsea (including nearly being sent off) it looked a lot like two of the biggest name strikers in the league could be at their best. If that form continues the likes of Kane, Vardy, Aguero will have some more competition for the golden boot this season.