Week 3 of the Premier League is in the rear view mirror and Transfer Deadline Day is just a couple of days away. As we head into the first international break of the season, Manchester United are the only team with a 100% winning record, while Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and West Ham are still looking for their first points. It may still be early days in the season, but already there are signs as to how the season will go for some teams. As with Weeks 1 and 2, here are my thoughts on the latest week of Premier League action:
Don’t rely on one man
When watching Swansea’s 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Match of the Day, I was shocked by the stat that Tammy Abraham’s goal was their first shot on target in the league this season… after almost 5 halves of football!
The frequent discussion amongst fans is the importance of getting a striker who will be a regular scorer, the idea being that their goals will keep the club in the league. However the sale of Gylfi Sigurdsson and the injury to star striker Fernando Llorente has left the Swans light on firepower as the season gets underway. I expect Abraham to shine this season, but this will be his first time playing such a vital role at such a high level so it will likely take him a while to reach his peak in a new team.
While having a regular goal scorer will be a big benefit to a team, it is probably more important for them to make sure they have a number of players throughout the squad who can contribute 7-10 goals a season than one superstar who can contribute 15-20.
Not meeting expectations
While a couple of regular goal scorers is important, it is vital to have a reliable defence. Despite having experienced players like José Fonte, James Collins, Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart, the Hammers have conceded 10 goals in 3 games. After Fonte and Zabaleta’s stupid penalties cost them the game last week against Southampton, a big performance was needed against a Newcastle side that was still looking for its first Premiership goal… Instead, they conceded 3 more!
These experienced players need to start justifying their salaries. More importantly, Slaven Bilic needs to get something working soon or he could be at risk of becoming the league’s first managerial casualty of the season.
Time for change
Anyone who has read my blog on a regular basis will know that I am a rugby fan first and foremost. As such there have been a number of things that have been done in rugby that I have thought will benefit football. Goal-line technology has clearly helped since its introduction and the VAR will help improve the accuracy of refereeing decisions once they figure out how best to use it. I also feel that the rugby method of timekeeping could also benefit football.
Charlie Daniels’ early offering for Goal of the Season against Manchester City has not got the recognition it deserved due to the way the game ended. 5 minutes of added time were announced at the end of the second half, however Raheem Sterling’s winner (and subsequent sending off) was scored 7 minutes into injury time. In my opinion it would benefit football to take a leaf out of rugby’s book and stop the clock for injuries and substitutions, meaning that the game can then clearly end at 90 minutes rather than having a flimsy idea of when the half should finish. Not only would this reduce the controversy of late winners, it would also surely make things easier for players, coaches and fans alike to figure out how long is left in a game.