5 things learned from the Premier League this weekend
1) Chelsea’s loss could prove to Mourinho’s transfer gain
Despite his outwardly demeanour, Jose Mourinho is not a man often prone to rushes of blood. So when he subbed his captain for the first time in 176 games, and at half time to boot, there can be little doubt that his intentions stretched wider than 90 minutes of football.
If John Stones now ends up at Stamford Bridge to shore up a dishevelled defence before the window shuts, then Chelsea’s 3-0 humbling at Man City might have provided some long-term gains. Chelsea are 10/3 to win the Premier League.
2) Sunderland’s cycle will eventually break
Martin O’Neill, Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet all have something in common. They arrived at the Stadium of Light as saviours, and left as failures.
For now Dick Advocaat remains a Sunderland saviour, but after only two games the early signs are that he might well join his predecessors on the list if he fails to end this peculiar cycle that entails almost inevitable relegation, followed by an end-of-season miracle inspired by a new manager.
There are two key problems to this for Sunderland owner Ellis Short to consider. Firstly, fans will start pointing fingers elsewhere when it becomes apparent that the same group of players only performing for eight desperate games a season may not always be the manager’s fault. And secondly, miracle survivals may have become commonplace on Wearside, but eventually the luck will run out. The Black Cats are now 1/2 favourites to go down.
3) Swansea’s recruitment policy continues to deliver
For a club who have had five managers in eight years, not to mention a raft of departures and arrivals on the playing staff during that time, it says a lot about how well Swansea is run that they exude an air of stability, consistency and calm.
Once again this season, their recruitment policy looks like having unearthed another gem in Andre Ayew, with two goals in his first two games, while Bafetimbi Gomis is beginning to reward manager Garry Monk’s faith that he could fill the meaty shoes of Wilfried Bony.
Gomis is 28/1 to finish as the Premier League top scorer.
4) Leicester’s form proves sweet for rejected Ranieri
Almost exactly 11 years after being sacked by Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri has made a perfect start to his Premier League return, with Leicester lying second in the table with two impressive wins from two games.
Almost just as satisfying for the amiable Italian will be seeing his side five points ahead of Chelsea, managed by the man who replaced him at Stamford Bridge all those years ago.
Whether Ranieri ends his time at Leicester in a more tasteful manner than when he departed his last English club remains to be seen, with the reaction of the Leicester board when their side enters a sticky patch likely to be key.
But for now, Ranieri and Leicester a dreaming of a top half finish – they’re 1/12 to stay up.
5) Yaya Toure means business
Jamie Carragher used his column in the Daily Mail on Friday to laud Yaya Toure as the best foreign central midfielder he’d seen in the Premier League, alongside Patrick Vieira.
However, he challenged him to produce his best performances in the big games and repeat the goal tallies from the seasons that inspired City to their title wins.
It took the Ivorian just two days to answer Carra’s call, bossing the midfield in City’s 3-0 win over Chelsea. When their enforcer is in this mood, not only is his own presence a strain on opponents, but it allows his teammates to thrive too.
With Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero all on song, City look unstoppable. They’re 23/20 favourites for the league.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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