Jamie Vardy is poised to make history
It’s been an unprecedented success story for Leicester so far this season – every pundit across the country was anticipating them to succumb to the drop they had so narrowly escaped last season, especially after the loss of manager Nigel Pearson followed by the introduction of unusual replacement Claudio Ranieri.
Needless to say their current place as 3rd in the table (a mere point behind the league leaders) at this stage in the season has exceeded wildest expectations, and it’s down in no small part to breakout striker Jamie Vardy’s efforts. Rightly commended with October’s Player of the Month award after his gluttony of goals already this season, Vardy is on the verge of breaking records by potentially scoring for 10 games in a row in the match against Newcastle following the international break, equalling the record set by Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
In his team’s most recent venture against Watford, an emphatic penalty from Leicester’s main man helped his side to a 2-1 home victory, keeping up his personal tally and leaving Vardy in perfect form just ahead of his now expected call-up to the England squad. Barring any sort of debilitating injury, it seems as if this season could prove defining for a man who already has 12 goals to his name as he looks to propel Leicester to unforeseen heights in the Premier League.
Jesse Lingard has broken onto the scene
With recent multi-million pound signing Memphis Depay apparently out of favour at Old Trafford, manager Louis Van Gaal has turned to his club’s notorious youth system to find the type of player that money just can’t seem to buy him.
As a result, the country has recently been exposed to the exploits of academy graduate midfielder Jesse Lingard, who Manchester United fans have already taken to due to his local upbringing and dedication to the team from an early age. Playing against an ever-tough opponent in West Brom this weekend, Van Gaal’s side (who have, on the whole, struggled in front of goal this season) again looked at a loss as to how to break down a typically stern Tony Pulis defence. The deadlock was eventually broken by young Lingard’s first goal for the club, spectacularly curling a shot from outside the box to set his side on course for a 2-0 victory.
With the youngster keeping out the likes of Depay and Young from their favoured position in the team, Lingard could be paving the way to making himself a new stalwart of the Manchester United side as they look to keep up the pace on the Premier League leaders this season.
Chelsea’s problems won’t let up any time soon
Another week, another defeat for Chelsea, and a now record number of losses for José Mourinho in the Premier League even at this early stage of the season. Despite his enforced absence in this week’s match away to Stoke, Chelsea were still unable to stop the rot that is spreading through last year’s champions, capitulating to a 1-0 defeat thanks to an athletic Marko Arnauntovic effort early in the second half.
As a result, a seventh loss of the season has left the Blues now in a perilous 16th position just three points off the relegation zone, a far cry from a time that saw them almost permanently on top spot last season. There have been many attempts to trace the inexplicable loss of form to many of Chelsea’s top players this season, as well as several fingers pointing toward their manager and suggesting that his second stint at the club may soon be nearing its conclusion.
However, it’s clear that big changes are needed at the club should it return to anywhere near the top of the table by the end of this year’s campaign.
Remi Garde has already worked wonders
Rock bottom Aston Villa had a tough task ahead of them following yet another defeat to Tottenham last Monday – a loss that had left them with just 4 points after the opening 11 games. Frenchman Remi Garde had already been announced as Tim Sherwood’s successor, considered by most to be an odd choice due to his proclivity for flair football rather than the gutsy physical display required from teams attempting to escape the drop.
Nevertheless, there was an air of cautious optimism ahead of Villa’s weekend match against high-flying Manchester City, with very little expected from the home team after such a rapid turnaround. Though they continued to offer very little in front of goal (currently Aston Villa have the joint lowest goal tally in the league with 10 from the first 12 matches), their ability to carve out a 0-0 draw against the greatest attack in the league gives cause for hope that they can in fact survive what has been a nightmare start to the season.
Despite still being 5 points from safety, a change in management could be just what the Villains need if they are to start winning games and climb up the table.
The competition and quality is high in North London
There was much at stake in Sunday’s clash between Arsenal and Tottenham at the Emirates, with both teams in a rich vein of form leading in to one of the most explosive derbies the league has to offer. Unexpectedly given the hot winning streak Arsenal had been on before this game, it was Spurs who were on top throughout the match, grabbing an early goal through back in-form Harry Kane.
It was only through a late equaliser from Kieran Gibbs that Arsenal were able to steal a point, with Mesut Özil’s pinpoint cross making him the first player in Premier League history to provide an assist in 6 consecutive games. Needless to say, Arsenal’s supremacy as top club in North London was put under severe scrutiny, and although the Gunners continue to sit second in the league standings compared to Tottenham’s fifth, the comparative youth and high energy of Mauricio Pochettino’s side indicates that this Spurs side could go on to new heights in the coming years.