Premier League winners and losers: Man United, Mesut Ozil & more
Premier League winners and losers: Kieran Beckles takes a look back at a weekend of upsets in the top flight
Leicester City If we’re looking to underline the magnitude of Leicester City’s 5-3 victory over Manchester United, take a look at Gary Lineker’s Twitter feed. The Foxes’s best-known supporter used a number of expletives throughout the eight-goal thriller as the England legend enjoyed the lows and highs of the King Power Stadium clash. Depending on your tolerance of obscenities, Lineker may or may not have offended with the use of sh*t and f*cking hell, but despite reports, the squeaky-clean Match of the Day presenter hasn’t been warned about his language by BBC. On the pitch, Nigel Perason’s side surprised like Lineker as the home side managed to expose Manchester United’s soft centre. Queens Park Rangers looked the best-equipped of the newly-promoted sides to stay in the top-flight, but after five weeks of top-flight action, Leicester are the clear favourites to beat the drop.
Slick Ozil It feels like a different Arsenal player is analysed and critiqued following every Gunners defeat. Earlier this month, Jack Wilshere was under the spotlight. Last week, it was Mesut Ozil who had to shoulder the brunt of the media criticism after a 2-0 loss at Borussia Dortmund. The £42.5m signing has been a regular scapegoat of the media and ex-professionals in 2014. Although there is no doubt Ozil has struggled at Arsenal, it is easy to forget the German has only been in England 13 months! Back in his preferred No10 position, the 25-year-old masterminded the north London side’s 3-0 victory at Aston Villa. Described as a microwave win by Chelsea legend Tony Cascarino, Ozil scored his first Premier League goal before creating Danny Welbeck’s inaugural Gunners strike in the space of three minutes. Shortly after, Aly Cissokho put the ball past his own goalkeeper and the result was secured with 52 minutes to play. Ozil has parted his circling critics for now. But if Arsene Wenger shifts his club-record signing to the left or right wing against Tottenham Hotspur, they’ll make a swift return.
The Gaalaticos Twitter can be a funny place. Former United players, like the Neville brothers, were quick to take to the social media platform as Robin van Persie and Angel di Maria stylishly put the visitors ahead inside 16 minutes at the King Power Stadium. Less than 65 minutes later, and the rest of Twitter had found its voice as Leicester stormed back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to seal a 5-3 victory over the 20-time English champions. Whilst the likes of Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney and Van Persie are guaranteed to thrill, this new-look United side is built on flimsy foundations. Jamie Redknapp claimed any fan would have the transfer prowess to know Di Maria and Falcao would amount to good signings, similarly it doesn’t take a genius to recognise that United need to improve their defence. Tyler Blackett and Rafael da Silva were defensively naïve against Leicester, while Johnny Evans succumbed to another injury problem. It was funny though, how Van Gaal rubbished the existence of a weakness in his defence, but accepted a problem with their defensive organisation. Had David Moyes come up with such an explanation, the former United manager would have been ridiculed on Twitter. Van Gaal escaped without much punishment.
The Thin Red Wall It is a case of new season, same story for Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers spent in excess of £110m on new signings in the summer as the 41-year-old made the most of the funds raised from Luis Suarez’s sale to Barcelona. Liverpool have lost some of their fear factor going forward with their chief talisman in Cataluna, but are still conceding goals at a worrying rate. Croatia international Dejan Lovren is taking longer than expected to make the step up from a side dreaming of a top-six finish to an outfit challenging for titles. The honeymoon period for Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno is over, too, after the Atletico Madrid defender was substituted inside 20 minutes at Upton Park. The Reds manager needs to find a balance between attack and defence. Whilst Rodgers has brought the excitement back to Anfield, how Liverpool could do with a dash of Gerard Houllier or Rafael Benitez’s defensive pragmatism.