EPL Hits and Misses: Tables turned on Rodgers as City rule the derby
It was nervy, but Man City are the weekend's big hits thanks to Sergio Aguero's strike in the Manchester derby. Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers gets beaten with a stick he fashioned for himself. It's EPL Hits and Misses, people...
Somewhere out there, Manuel Pellegrini must be heaving a huge sigh of relief after the Citizens scraped out of their recent run of wretched form with a vital win over their neighbours. However, while questions still linger over the champions after their nervy display towards the end, there will be numerous plus points for City to take away from their latest Manchester derby triumph apart from the bragging rights and three points. Sergio Aguero once again proved his class with the decisive goal while Yaya Toure's Man of the Match performance suggests that he still has what it takes to deliver the colossal performances that seemed to desert him in City's previous nine league games. They might be performing better at this stage than they were last season when they won the title, but with Chelsea continuing their unbeaten start to the season, City must be prepared to capitalise on any slip-up made by Jose Mourinho's men.
Made harder work of QPR than they needed to, but that's three more points on board nonetheless. While most of Chelsea's goal burden has been placed on the broad shoulders (and fragile hamstrings) of Diego Costa, the win over their London rivals was a timely reminder that Jose Mourinho has an array of midfield talent that's no slouch in front of goal either. Key to this is Chelsea's creator-in-chief Cesc Fabregas, who remains the Premier League's assist leader as his lay-off for Oscar's superb opener took his assist tally to nine.
From persona non grata among the Newcastle United faithful to the man who can do no wrong at the moment. The footballing gods have been excessively kind to Alan Pardew, with each of his decisions in recent weeks seemingly vindicated by crucial goals from the players involved. Whether it was throwing on or starting Papiss Cisse, Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi or new kid on the block Ayoze Perez, Pardew has been able to find match-changing goals among his squad to fire the Magpies out of the relegation zone to place them level on points with Manchester United. Football sure is a funny game.
It had to be him again, hadn't it?
Capitalised on a goalkeeping error in fine fashion to keep high fliers Southampton in second place.
A revelation since being shunted into midfield, the Liverpool reject was key to West Ham's fight back against Stoke as he laid on the assist for Enner Valencia before scoring the equaliser himself.
Spurs and Harry Kane
A win to take some pressure off Maurico Pochettino's shoulders. While Spurs' struggles this season have been mostly overshadowed by that of Manchester United's and Liverpool's, perhaps the most encouraging sign will be the rise of Harry Kane, who came off the bench to score his Premier League goal. It might have been a deflected free-kick, but the young striker offers a viable alternative to the struggling Roberto Soldado and the inconsistent Emmanuel Adebayor. It's looks only a matter of time before Pochettino hands Kane his first EPL start.
"Look at Tottenham. When you spend £100 million ($206.3m), you should be challenging for the league." Perhaps Brendan Rodgers didn't foresee the sale of Luis Suarez back in April when he fashioned that particular rod for his own back, but the tables have been well and truly turned on the Liverpool manager following another defeat. Reds fans who were hoping for another push for the title following the high of last season must be seething with disappointment after Rodgers' admission that the team were yet again in transition. It's an argument that doesn't hold much water. While Liverpool's goals have predictably dried up without their talisman Suarez, the glaring defensive deficiencies from last season remain despite the arrivals of Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo for a combined fee of over £45m. With a visit to Real Madrid followed by Chelsea's visit to Anfield at the weekend, things aren't going to get any easier for Rodgers in the coming week.
That's what happens when you take a chance in the penalty area instead of just hoofing the ball clear with your weaker foot.
One step forward, two steps back. While United supporters will be pleased to see their team put up another fight especially after Chris Smalling's idiocy left them with 10 men, the Red Devils ultimately left their neighbours' home without any bragging rights or points. To make matters worse, Louis van Gaal's early-season defensive headaches are becoming a chronic migraine thanks to Smalling's sending off and a bad shoulder injury to Marcos Rojo, forcing United to finish the game at the Etihad Stadium with Luke Shaw and rookie Paddy McNair as their only specialist defenders. At least there was no thrashing. Still, van Gaal will have to decide if Michael Carrick plays in defence again or if he will pair youngsters Tyler Blackett and McNair for his next assignment against Crystal Palace.
After explicitly declaring that they don't want a red card for the derby, it's no surprise that van Gaal complained that his players weren't following his instructions on the pitch after Smalling's "stupid" second yellow card. Both of Smalling's cautions were so avoidable, it's hard to fathom what was going through his mind when he committed them.
Could join fellow promoted sides Burnley and QPR in the bottom three this week if Sunderland beat Crystal Palace.
The goal drought might be over, but the losing streak is now up to six. Things don't look like they're going to get any better for Paul Lambert's men with West Ham and Southampton up next without the suspended Christian Benteke.
Deserves a rap on the knuckles for his silly yellow cards after just returning from suspension.
Not going anywhere from this spot any time soon.