That was the weekend: Four things we've learned from the Premier League
Sunday 18 August 2013
Expectations are high after a rare first-day Anfield victory
There are some questions a manager never forgets. When Peter Reid had just seen Sunderland beaten by Norwich he was asked: "What's it like to lose to a team of nobodies?" Brendan Rodgers recalled the one he was given after the opening day of last season. "Should Liverpool be losing 3-0 to a team like West Brom?"
Liverpool have seldom begun well at Anfield. Saturday's 1-0 win over Stoke City was their first victory in their first league game there since 2001, starting a season in which they finished second. In 2000 they began by beating Bradford at home and ended with a treble. Expectations have already been raised.
Bold Martinez needs no fake gingering up at Goodison
Everton fans are being encouraged to "March for Martinez" on Saturday when they will be expected to gather in front of Goodison Park – while being plied with the club's official ginger beer – to show their support for the new manager.
The signs are that Roberto Martinez needs no fake demonstration of loyalty. In an age when every move and tackle are analysed by everyone from Alan Hansen to irate phone-in callers, it takes courage to tell a teenager like Ross Barkley to play without being afraid to make an error. The result was the goal of the day and a point at Norwich.
Di Canio won't shoulder the blame for shortcomings
"It may not be fair to point the finger but who made the mistake? Not Paolo Di Canio." Thus did Sunderland's manager analyse the goal that gave Fulham a fifth opening day fixture without defeat.
It would be wrong to expect Di Canio to admit to an error – his hero, after all, ordered the slogan "Mussolini is always right" to be displayed on public buildings.
Sunderland have a relatively easy start to the season – something a team that has undergone major surgery would welcome. And, however well they played, the first has been lost.
Sinclair could be the answer to Clarke's prayers
There are some choices that appear entirely logical but are disastrous. Of course Scott Sinclair should have left Swansea for Manchester City but in doing so he deprived himself of a major role in a League Cup-winning side. The only time he was mentioned in Roberto Mancini's press conferences was when the Italian apologised for not playing him.
A move to West Bromwich Albion, even on loan, would energise the player and a side whose manager Steve Clarke, born on the Ayrshire coast, watched Rickie Lambert give England a last-minute winner at Wembley and Southampton a last-minute winner at The Hawthorns.
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