Premier League review: What we’ve learned so far
As the international break looms large, Alex Sharp looks back at the first three weeks of top flight action
So there you have it. Three weeks, three rounds of fixtures and the Premier League has come roaring back into action.
Manchester is truly ruling supreme. United sit top with a 100 per cent record but their noisy neighbours are certainly their equal.
North London appears to be in meltdown, while some of last season’s strugglers are holding their own in these early stages.
The BBC’s new friend Sir Alex Ferguson will be delighted that his summer spree on youth has paid dividends, his side having despatched Spurs and Arsenal with consummate ease.
Welbeck, Cleverley, Jones and Smalling all have been handed England call-ups by Fabio Capello and with Wayne Rooney immediately firing on all cylinders and Hernadez returning, United look scarily sharp, quick and clinical.
Meanwhile, City have also spent big and Roberto Mancini has somehow gelled together a host of stars and egos to produce some scintillating football.
The arrival of Samir Nasri added another component into City’s ferocious attack. Nasri, David Silva and Edin Dzecko were sublime in ripping apart Spurs on Sunday and Sergio Aguero’s stunning debut last week proves City are to seriously challenge this season.
It was a painful story of contrasts yesterday at Old Trafford as United inflicted Arsenal’s worst defeat since 1896 in a humiliating 8-2 demolition. The demise of Arsenal from the Invincibles era was completed as the current crop under ArsÃ¨ne Wenger’s watch lacked any passion, determination or quality.
A summer of uncertainty hasn’t helped with the FÃ bregas and Nasri deals dragging on longer than Carlos Valderrama’s curls. Yes, the Gunners have suffered from chronic injuries and suspensions but Wenger must now face the facts ““ his squad isn’t good enough.
There is the well-documented need to reinforce with strength, guts and experience but will the stubborn Frenchman buy outside his comfort zone? Time will tell.
Life isn’t much rosier across North London as Tottenham lie bottom with no points in the bag. Harry Redknapp has steam coming out of his ears as he fends off constant questions about Luka Modric’s move to Chelsea.
Redknapp will be concerned that his side is well off the top four pace. Can Emmanuel Adebayor rediscover his magic at Spurs? How will they survive without their engine in Modric? It’s evident that a summer of uncertainty has left North London chasing the pack.
The opening fixtures have thrown up plenty of surprises away from the pressure of the big boys. Newcastle, having held Arsenal and with Krul impressing between the sticks, looked to have finally found some stability (on the pitch at least). Getting rid of the destructive Joey Barton might have been a blessing in disguise.
Strugglers from last season Wolves and Wigan head into the international break unbeaten, showing a summer’s hard work on the training pitch has provided some renewed solidarity and new attacking flair. Franco Di Santo scoring, let alone twice in one game, was one for the record books, while Wolves are riding high with Roger Johnson leading the line.
A British boom at Liverpool has the Anfield faithful bouncing again with Jordan Henderson, Steward Downing and Charlie Adam all tempting fans into daring to dream of imminent success.
The unluckiest team so far this season goes to West Brom. Hodgson has them well set and using width but with United and Chelsea grabbing late winners, the Baggies lie in 18th with no points. Blackburn are also yet to pick up their first point, having lost their opening three games. They last achieved this in 1947, which included defeats by Wolves and Everton (like this season) and were relegated.
New boys Swansea, QPR and Norwich haven’t been too shabby and look to have a fighting chance of survival, depending on the transfer window shutting on Wednesday night. QPR have a chairman willing to spend and will need some firepower to stay up ““ and that’s not referring to Joey Barton’s cigar antics.
Classics, superb goals, incessant diving and tantrums have already passed by in the opening three rounds. Let’s hope the international break and an end to the transfer window don’t halt the magic.