Raheem Sterling makes City tick, Manchester United rue Chelsea signing Pedro, John Terry's nightmare continues, Spurs in trouble

Seven things we learnt: Chelsea need Stones to boost faltering defence, Advocaat won't hang around at Sunderland, Ranieri makes all the right noises, Newcastle improvement

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The Independent Football

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.

 

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.

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Pedro celebrates scoring on his Chelsea debut

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.

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John Terry walks past Jose Mourinho after his red card

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.

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Saido Berahino was left out of West Bromwich’s squad

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.

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Louis van Gaal shakes hands with Steve McClaren

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.

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Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring an immediate equaliser against Spurs

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.

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Sunderland manager Advocaat looks on

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.

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