They scraped it, but there was still a swagger. They sneaked it but there was still a strut. This is what Manchester United used to do. This is what Manchester United will do under Jose Mourinho.
It was cruel for Hull, yet the least convincing of United’s three Premier League victories might well be the most ominous. The whole league better sit up – Manchester United and Jose Mourinho are not joking here.
Anthony Martial has not clicked this season and I’ve to say I fear for his place. But Marcus Rashford has done his hopes no bad at all. Going into the game against Hull City, the English youngster had not made a league appearance this season but to come into a difficult game and the winner would have reminded Jose Mourinho of his talent and quality.
Pep Guardiola has hit the ground running at City, winning all five of his opening games – and the latest win over West Ham was really good, especially in the first half – because of the hours he spent preparing for his new role before officially taking over at the start of last month. The players understand his philosophy and some of their football was dazzling at times. However they did ease up in the second half to allow West Ham back into the game.
It’s well set up for the Manchester Derby after the international break. Zlatan vs Aguero, Mourinho vs Guardiola, the sub-plots are eye-catching. It’s going to be a cracker.
Hull’s performances despite the off-field crisis enveloping the club has been one of the more surprising stories in the embryonic stages of this season.
Makeshift team, disgruntled fans, caretaker manager – on the surface Hull City look like a team on a downward spiral, but through their struggle they are finding the one thing money can’t buy – team spirit.
Once again the players came together to dig in against Jose Mourinho’s big red machine and almost grind out a result. Ignoring all their off the field problems, Hull City’s troops are focusing on the football. Against all the odds they might just stay in the Premier League is they can maintain this dogged resilience throughout the season.
The draw at White Hart Lane was rough on Liverpool. They were the better team, a draw was a bitter pill for Liverpool to swallow as they created more chances, looked more lively and should have won. Klopp sets up his team to be entertaining, they work hard and their movement causes problems for opposing defences. Early results have been mixed, but this can be a good season for Liverpool.
Tottenham though aren’t playing at full throttle yet. Kane, Alli and Eriksen have not hit top gear yet but the fighting spirit persists so when everyone gets up to speed, they will take some stopping.
Chelsea look to have got their balance back. N’Golo Kante, the summer arrival from champions Leicester, appears to have slotted in easily alongside Nemanja Matic mopping up everything that comes through the middle. And ahead of that pair the trio of Hazard, Oscar and Willian bristled with menace throughout the win over Burnley with Diego Costa up top.
Admittedly the back four, about whom questions have been asked, were not really tested. That challenge will surely come against Chelsea’s title rivals and defence remains an area where the Blues are most likely to strengthen before the window closes.
Burnley have nothing to be embarrassed about losing to Chelsea. They won’t face teams of such high quality every weekend. It was a learning experience and they will fight to stay up.
Arsenal have their swagger back. The win over Watford was controlled and assured. At no point in the game were they overly in danger of not getting maximum points.
Rob Holding was sensational in defence. He’s certainly one for the future as his performances so far have belied his age. But the real stars were Sanchez and Ozil as Watford couldn’t get near them.
At Goodison Park, in a fairly terse contest, both Everton and Stoke City posted notice they will be tough opponents this season, and few sides will like to play them given how tight, and committed any game is likely to be.
Everton in particular, have completely dispensed with the build from the back philosophy of Martinez that the fans hated. Koeman has made them more tough to break down and the defenders now have a safety-first mindset that will make them not susceptible to conceding silly goals.
Palace snuffed out a point this weekend but they were unlucky most of the game and they probably deserved to get all three points. Alan Pardew must be ruing his team’s luck. He’s under pressure and he really needs the likes of Cabaye and Benteke to stand up and perform.
Bournemouth trio Jordon Ibe, King and Callum Wilson gave the Palace defenders a torrid time in the first half. Wilson led the line superbly while King and Ibe added more pace that caused Damien Delaney and Scott Dann problems. King deserved his goal, while Wilson almost added a second but was foiled by Mandanda.
The Champions got their first win of the season, beating Swansea at home. Mahrez still seems to be feeling the Blues of last season as he missed a penalty but Vardy is back on song. Leicester’s £100,000-a-week striker had failed to score in his first two League games or even have a shot on target. But he caused the visitors problems from the start here with his pace. He smashed in his first goal in emphatic style with a fierce right-foot effort.
Last season Swansea lost 4–0 to the Champions so losing 2-0 this time around was an improvement but lingering doubts about boss Francesco Guidolin’s suitability for the Premier League remain. Having sold stalwart Ashley Williams, Swansea look leaky at the back and newboy Fernando Llorente hardly had a sniff upfront. I really fear for Swansea’s Premier League status.
After the great jobs Pochettino and Koeman did at St. Mary’s, I fear Claude Puel might be the manager to take Southampton backwards. The first three games of their season has shown them as a limited team, especially in attack. Austin, Long and Redmond are not top Premier League quality and I’m not surprised they are finding goals to celebrate by. Saints fans better brace up for the worst.
David Moyes on the other hand has Lamine Kone in defence and he must keep him amidst interest from Everton. He’s quality and Moyes need him. Overall, a point away at Southampton was a good result.
Ever since Aitor Karanka took over at the Riverside, Boro have been a side that is defensively accomplished. Their promotion was built on a solid backline and they’re looking to have maintained that even on their ascension to the Premier League.
Prioritising a clean sheet – as Karanka’s great mentor Jose Mourinho does – may not be particularly entertaining to watch. But if (and when) it keeps them in the top flight they will not care a jot.