EPL Hits and Misses: Di Maria can't lift United, Stoke steal the show
Stoke pull off the result of the weekend thanks to Mame Biram Diouf's amazing winner while Louis van Gaal's Manchester United continue to struggle...
They could not ask for a better first league win of the season. Manchester City were expected to take an easy three points from their former boss Mark Hughes after shredding last season's title rivals Liverpool just five days earlier. Instead, the Welshman's side held firm at the Etihad Stadium and stunned the champions thanks a slaloming solo effort from summer signing Mame Biram Diouf. After losing to Aston Villa on opening day followed by a draw with Hull City, the Potters now have the platform to kickstart their season from.
Mame Biram Diouf
Take a bow, son. Take a bow.
Three wins from three games. And while it was brief, Garry Monk and his Swans must have certainly enjoyed topping the English Premier League table. The Welsh side and leaders Chelsea are the only teams still standing in the EPL with a perfect record, although the situation which will change when the two teams meet after the upcoming international break.
While last weekend was a humbling one for Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Leicester City, this season's new boys had a much better one as all three teams bounced back from defeat. After their 4-0 thrashing by Spurs, QPR were given the perfect remedy by Charlie Austin's winner in a 1-0 win over Sunderland. In the meantime, Burnley and Leicester earned credible draws against Manchester United and Arsenal. Not too shabby.
Jose Mourinho might not have been impressed by the un-Mourinho-like 6-3 scoreline, but that's the Special One talking. How many teams survive conceding three goals to Everton? And scoring six times at a place like Goodison Park? It's no surprise that the Blues are the bookies' favourites to win the league this season.
Much has been made of Mario Balotelli's arrival at Anfield to replace Luis Suarez, but in truth, Brendan Rodgers didn't have to look very far to find a player to serve as Liverpool's new talisman. The England winger was certainly the Reds' main man as the Merseysiders cruised to a 3-0 win over Spurs at White Hart Lane. While his age means consistency will be an issue, it is frightening to think that Sterling only turns 20 in December.
Bobbing merrily along after the naysayers predicted a season of doom following the summer exodus of their players. Not only that, Morgan Schneiderlin - who looked odds on to join said exodus from St Mary's - notched twice during their 3-1 win over West Ham.
So much for that easy start to the season. United fans must be scratching their heads and wondering whatever happened to their team that was flying in pre-season. Instead, the players looked to have shrunk so far back into their David Moyes era shells that even the British transfer record signing of Angel di Maria hasn't been able to draw them out. And hasn't Louis van Gaal realised that he does not have enough specialists to play the 3-5-2 system that he's stubbornly clinging to?
Perhaps it shouldn't come as such a surprise that the champions lost to Stoke, given the tight affairs of their past clashes. However, it should be a bit worrying for City fans that Pellegrini is bemoaning his squad's lack of fitness at such an early stage of the season. While City certainly recovered well from early set-backs last season to win the league, the blistering start from Jose Mourinho's Chelsea war machine suggests that there may be less room for error this season.
Alexis Sanchez might have his first English Premier League goal, but it wasn't enough for the Gunners as they were held by newly-promoted Leicester. The Chilean's signing from Barcelona was supposed to signal an intent to challenge for the title this season but instead, Arsene Wenger's men look like they're fumbling, especially without the injured Olivier Giroud. Wenger must surely dip into the transfer market again on transfer deadline day for a striker if the Londoners are to be taken seriously as title contenders.
Like their neighbours, Tottenham need alternatives in the strikers department if they're serious about mounting a top four challenge.
Just three minutes from earning their first win of the season...