The one surprise was that it was only Alvaro Negredo’s fourth game for Manchester City. The Spanish striker has been excellent all season, quicker, stronger and sharper than Edin Dzeko, and yet Manuel Pellegrini has picked Dzeko more often. But Negredo improved City when he came on against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, and was very good again on Saturday, scoring City’s first against Everton and proving a constant menace.
For a manager so set on his philosophy, Brendan Rodgers is proving pragmatic this season. The switch to 3-4-1-2 to accommodate his strike force of Luis Suarez and Danny Sturridge means not only abandoning his 4-3-3 system but picking two players out of position. Victor Moses is not a No 10 and Raheem Sterling is certainly not a wing-back. On Saturday the ends justified the means for Liverpool but Rodgers must know there are 19 better teams in the league than Crystal Palace.
No one who saw Loïc Rémy’s famous goal – a swerving first-time side-foot half-volley – for Queen’s Park Rangers against Wigan last season should be too surprised by what he produced for Newcastle United on Saturday. Two brilliant, precise right-footed finishes did for Cardiff City.
It felt like the shoes were on the wrong feet at Craven Cottage on Saturday, as Stoke’s style took on Fulham’s substance. Stoke out-passed their hosts and although they lost, their efforts showed a commitment to progress. Fulham, it seems, are moving in the opposite direction, even after Darren Bent’s winning goal.
It seems almost implausible, even now in October, to foresee a way in which QPR do not win automatic promotion from the Championship. The strength and depth of their squad is in a different category to others in their division. The defensive triangle of Rob Green, Clint Hill and Richard Dunne kept a club-record eighth consecutive clean sheet in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Barnsley. It is one of the tightest defences in England.