The past few days have witnessed a marked shift in the DNA of the Premier League; Aston Villa added to their French legion by appointing Remi Garde as manager, Wayne Rooney’s dwindling physical prowess became more obvious than ever, and Arsenal continued their rampant surge towards the summit – here’s five things that defined the top-flight this weekend.
1. Wayne Rooney is no longer a central striker
It’s been obvious for the last couple of years, to anyone with eyes at least, that while Sir Wayne of Roon-shire remains an excellent technical footballer, his physical traits are on the slide.
Despite this, Manchester United insist on using him as a lone striker, with the more dynamic Anthony Martial shunted onto the wing to accommodate the shop-worn 30 year-old, who would be better served as a number ten playing just behind the French starlet.
2. Jamie Vardy could be an ideal foil for Harry Kane
Jamie Vardy nipped in with yet another eleventh hour winner this weekend, scoring for the eighth league match in succession to secure Leicester City’s latest thrilling victory, the Foxes edging a five goal thriller against West Brom at the Hawthorns.
Vardy’s pace, work-rate and close control, aligned with cultured end product, places him among the front-runners for an England forward berth; he’d be a perfect partner for Tottenham’s Harry Kane, with Rooney’s aforementioned transition into midfield allowing this thrilling front two to blossom.
3. Sunderland’s fluky Derby win papered over some large cracks
The Mackems and their fans rejoiced just over a week ago, as they defeated North-East neighbours Newcastle United with assistance from one of the shoddiest refereeing displays in years (courtesy of the incompetent Robert Madley).
Karma was well and truly dished out the following weekend, as Everton destroyed Sam Allardyce’s terrible troupe 6-2, a scoreline that flattered Sunderland who were abysmal for 85 of the 90 minutes. They can’t rely entirely upon inept officials to save them it seems.
4. Chelsea should have strengthened in the summer
John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are a few of the many Chelsea players whose stars have dimmed strikingly this season. Meanwhile Eden Hazard, the 2014-15 PFA Player of The Year, has become a liability in amongst the chaos.
Controversial events behind the Stamford Bridge scenes, woeful results and a trigger happy owner could combine to spell the end of Jose Mourinho’s second spell with the club any time soon; a 3-1 home capitulation against Liverpool the latest in a string of dysfunctional defeats for the Blues.
5. Remi Garde will need to hit the ground running
The 3-1 scoreline of Aston Villa’s latest defeat, this time at the hands of Spurs, failed to tell the whole story; the league’s bottom side were completely outclassed, looking every inch a second-tier team in the process.
New managers usually enjoy a honeymoon period, and former Lyon boss Garde will hope to witness something better when he officially takes charge of his first match for the club at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon. The opposition? League leaders Manchester City!
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