We’ve already seen a handful of fascinating games take place in the Premier League this weekend as clubs up and down the top flight continue to try and build some momentum to start the new season. Two of the biggest games yesterday saw top four contenders Manchester United and Chelsea travel to take on Brighton & Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion in clashes that could’ve quite easily served as spanners in their respective campaigns.
In many ways they kind of did, because neither of the two aforementioned clubs were really at the races – and with Everton, Leicester and Wolves lingering around the top six, that should worry them.
United fell behind early on against Brighton and yet even though they did manage to come back and take the lead, they couldn’t quite hold onto it. They were pegged back in injury time by Solly March and were left staring into the abyss as they contemplated picking up just one point from their opening two games. Thankfully for the Red Devils they had an ace up their sleeve in the form of a late penalty, with Bruno Fernandes converting in the 100th minute – creating far more controversy than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would’ve liked.
On the flip side you’ve got Chelsea who put in their worst opening half of football under Frank Lampard by a country mile. They locked horns with a West Brom side that had shipped eight goals in their first two games, and yet, the Blues were the ones who went 3-0 down after just 27 minutes. They did manage to fight back and earn a point but the sheer fact that they were in that position in the first place is more than just a little bit embarrassing. They’ve got one of the most exciting squads in European football, and yet they’re struggling to overcome the defensive issues that have haunted them for years now.
By the time these two clubs meet on October 24th at Old Trafford, either one of Lampard or Solskjaer could be battling to save their job. United have Tottenham and Newcastle ahead of them whereas Chelsea will play Crystal Palace and Southampton – with Brighton and Tottenham being on the bill in the EFL Cup for the two English giants.
You can go and bet on some of those games in the near future courtesy of the betting page, but that isn’t really the point of all this.
The point is simple: you can’t just expect to buy your way to prominence anymore. This game has come a long way and there are teams that are now capable of piecing together every piece of the puzzle that you need to succeed on the biggest stage. The traditional top four, and even top six, has fallen apart in recent times and the league is as wide open as it has been in years.
Liverpool and Manchester City are still controlling things at the top of the mountain but that doesn’t mean United and Chelsea should simply settle for being the forgotten veterans.