Formidable City looks the whole package with Sterling on the left
A 3-0 win over Chelsea is always welcome, but it was the nature of Manchester City's 2-0 triumph over Everton on Sunday that suggested it’s going to take an almighty effort from another club to prevent them from reclaiming the Premier League title. What has stood out so far this term has been David Silva's switch back to the centre of midfield and thus creating more chances for those in front of him, but this has only been made possible due to the £49m addition of Raheem Sterling.
Sterling has had a solid, if anything impressive start to his career at the Etihad Stadium. Despite not yet finding the back of the net, he looks to have settled into the squad like a duck into water, and you get the impression that inevitably the goals will come. It’s just a matter of time.
If Sergio Aguero can remain fit, Yaya Toure continues to surge forward with the attacking threat of a starved lion and Vincent Kompany can prolong his welcome return to form, there won’t be many teams in Europe that can stop City – let alone in the Premier League on this weekend’s evidence.
Everton 0 Manchester City 2 player ratings
Everton 0 Manchester City 2 player ratings
1/22 Evetton: Howard
The busier of the two goalkeepers. Could do very little about both the goals. 6
Delivered a master-class in the second half, dealing with Sterling, which makes you wonder why the likes of Chelsea are not looking in his direction too. 8
Seemed unabashed by the speculation linking him with a switch to Chelsea. The England man was as assured and composed as ever. 7
The commanding centre-back was his typically industrious self and could have scored a goal had his first-half header been a few inches lower. 7
Allowed his inexperience to show during a first half in which he was tasked with facing the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jesus Navas on the flanks. 5
Posed a series of difficult questions which City struggled to answer but lacked the cutting edge required to make his mark. 7
The former Aston Villa man cut an assured figure for long periods, managing the pace of the game and offloading to ball to teammates in decent positions. 7
Occasionally mocked by supporters of other clubs but Roberto Martinez's teachers' pet is a valuable commodity for the former Wigan manager. 7
Seems to have benefited from the Everton spotlight being directed at John Stones but Barkley will be disappointed by his shift today. 7
A decent, if unremarkable, display from the former Manchester United man. Held up play competently but struggled with the power of Toure. 6
Seems to have a point to prove this season. The Belgian international ran himself into the ground but lacked the final touch needed to carve City open. 7
12/22 Man City: Hart
Had precious little to do but managed to collect another clean sheet. 7
Often seen galloping down the right wing, providing invaluable support for Navas, the Frenchman has become an vital attacking source for City's title bid. 7
After two goals in two, Kompany was back to his imperious best at the back as Everton pushed for an equaliser. 8
With City strengthening their defensive options, many would be forgiven for assuming Mangala's time is up. The former Porto man, however, has other ideas. 8
Another masterly display from City's Mr Reliable. The left-back deserved his goal after excelling down the left-flank alongside Sterling. 8
Gave away a series of foolish free-kicks and picked up a silly yellow card which rendered him toothless for the rest of the match. 6
Marshalled his midfield teammates expertly as the going got tough in the latter stages. A continued source of strength. 7
19/22 Jesus Navas
With a box of tricks enough to unlock any defence in the league, Navas combined well with Silva with alarming ease. An encouraging outing from the Spaniard. 8
Desperately unlucky not to score with an effort which cannoned off the post in the second half. The Spaniard delivered his usual blend of guile and trickery to have Everton worried. A joy to watch. 9
Booed at regular intervals by the Everton fans, presumably for his Liverpool connections, the England man was a menace throughout. 8
Like last week, the Argentine squandered a host of opportunities in the first half which could have cost his side dearly. Aguero was willing to put in a shift as Everton turned the screw however. 7
United will rue missing out on Pedro massively
If there was one thing Manchester United will not have wanted to see this weekend, it would have been a Pedro goal. And that’s exactly what fans at the Hawthorns witnessed when Chelsea’s new £21m signing found the back of the net in his very first start for the Blues to trigger the 3-2 victory over West Brom.
The former Barcelona fringe player was close to joining United only for the club to decide they did not want to seal the move, and Chelsea instead steamed in and took the Spaniard onto their books in a bid to address their lack of creativity in attack. If Pedro continues anything like how he performed on Sunday, United will massively regret not getting the deal over the line.
Chelsea will sign Stones – their defence is a shadow of itself
One of the worst weeks in John Terry’s career saw him sent-off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity just a week after being substituted at half-time in the 3-0 loss to City. While questions over his future at Chelsea may be premature, one thing for certain is that the Chelsea defence has not had a good enough start to the season.
On average the Blues are conceding over two goals a game and Sunday’s win at West Brom could easily have been a different story after Terry was dismissed. With question marks also surrounding Gary Cahill – who was dropped for the match – and Kurt Zouma still an unpolished jewel, Jose Mourinho looks a little short on central options. Mourinho could call on Branislav Ivanovic to switch from right-back, but then the Serbian has had a haunting start to the season and hardly instils confidence in a leaky defence. Stones could be the £40m answer to those questions.
Are Spurs here to make up the numbers or do they really want a top four finish?
Tottenham finally appear to be willing to address their alarming striker issues thanks to the £20m move for Saido Berahino, which, if completed, will rejuvenate fans who were already predicting another season of mediocrity. Spurs’ three opening fixtures have done little to suggest that Mauricio Pochettino’s side can break into the top four, and with striker Harry Kane yet to open his Premier League account, they are already seven points off the top of the table.
It’s pivotal that Spurs get at least two wins on the board from their next three games in order to head into the match against City on 26 September with some momentum. If not, it could be a slaughter at White Hart Lane, and could even end Spurs’ top four hopes before they ever materialised.
Improving Newcastle already look better under McClaren
Newcastle have been a difficult side to watch in recent times, especially under John Carver last season when a near-scrape with relegation cost him his job. But under Steve McClaren, the Magpies look more confident, more together and more like a team that has played with each other for more than a single training session.
Against Manchester United, Aleksandar Mitrovic showed glimpses of the bright talent he is said to be, and he managed to go 88 minutes without getting a booking before being replaced late on. As they say, it’s a start. However, all that good work could be undone rapidly. Newcastle face Arsenal, Chelsea and City in their next five Premier League matches, and three comprehensive defeats won’t reflect well on McClaren or the new purchases that have lifted the mood at St James’ Park.
Could Leicester be Ranieri’s crowning moment?
Who’d have thought Leicester would be unbeaten after three matches following the 1-1 draw with Tottenham. Having gone behind to a Dele Ali goal, Leicester responded magnificently and equalised inside 25 seconds courtesy of the ever-improving Riyad Mahrez.
For Claudio Ranieri, it may just be the job that sees the Tinkerman go out on a high. Having not enjoyed the best of times with Greece, Monaco and Inter Milan, Ranieri desperately needs to rebuild his reputation and prove that he can still cut it in the Premier League. Keeping Leicester – many people’s pre-season tip for relegation – safely in the top flight would be among his greatest achievements.
Advocaat out by Christmas
It continues to get bleaker at Sunderland despite the club securing their first point of the season in the 1-1 draw with Swansea. Club owner Ellis Short did himself no favours by coming out at the end of the week and blaming the spending of previous managers. The problem here is that it’s Short’s job to hire those managers and if more than a couple are guilty of wasting money, surely his decision making should be called into question.
Advocaat is known to be unhappy with the lack of spending at the Stadium of Light, and having decided to walk away from the club once already only to be talked into a U-turn, don’t expect him to stick around much longer if the picture in the North-East doesn’t get any clearer.
- More about:
- Chelsea F.c.
- Leicester City
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- Newcastle United
- Sunderland AFC
- Swansea City
- Tottenham Hotspur
- West Bromwich Albion