Premier League winners and losers: Pedro, Man United and more
Premier League winners and losers: Pedro scores on his Chelsea debut, but Man United draw a blank against Newcastle
Pedro Rodriguez provided one of the Premier League’s perennial transfer sagas this year after he was targeted by Manchester United. However, in a twist last week, Chelsea entered the race and managed to get one over their rivals by tempting Pedro to the English capital in a £21.1m deal from Barcelona. The west London side had made a forgettable start to the defence of their Premier League crown after a return of one point from a possible four. But Pedro injected life into a stagnating Chelsea side at The Hawthorns and he broke the deadlock in the 20th minute after he combined with his former Barcelona team-mate Cesc Fabregas. The 27-year-old added zip to Chelsea’s performance which the Blues have lacked with Oscar in their starting line-up. Chelsea went on to secure a 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion to register their first three points of the new campaign.
Eddie Howe has already won over the hearts of most Premier League supporters this season with his affable approach to his media duties. The Cherries manager has stuck with the same squad that secured the south coast club’s first promotion to the Premier League, too, which has helped to win admirers along with their attractive brand of football. Bournemouth have impressed. Rudy Gestede denied the Championship winners a point on the opening day of the season, whilst Christian Benteke’s offside goal robbed the Cherries of any spoils at Anfield despite putting Liverpool on the back foot for most of the second half. Just as concerns were surfacing about their ability to score goals which has proven the downfall of many promoted sides in the past, Bournemouth put four past West Ham United. Callum Wilson, 23, scored a hat-trick against the Hammers to seal a 4-3 win and three points. More of the same is required in another winnable fixture against Leicester City at Dean Court next week.
Wayne Rooney and Manchester United
United have secured seven points from their opening three Premier League games following a goalless draw with Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Saturday, which is a marked return on Louis van Gaal’s first three English top-flight games last season. However, Van Gaal’s side have been far from convincing going forward despite their marked improvements at the back. Wayne Rooney hasn’t scored in his last 10 games for the Red Devils, and Memphis Depay hasn’t been able to transfer his Champions League form to the Premier League. Their lack of firepower up front has only served to highlight why Pedro would have been a good signing for the 20-time English champions. Van Gaal is adamant United have sufficient attacking options and the Dutchman could be adopting a front for the media, there is no escaping from the fact that Rooney needs help – that is obvious.
Thierry Henry was a wonderful player, but as a pundit, the former Arsenal striker has room for improvement. The Sky Sports pundit was drafted in for their Monday Night Football show alongside Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville. Naturally, considering Arsenal v Liverpool was on the menu, Henry had plenty to say about the Gunners. While Carragher and Neville often speak without bias on their former clubs, Henry didn’t convince in his assessment Arsenal having a strong enough squad to challenge for the title. Particularly, his analysis of the north London side’s centre-midfield pairing of Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla was baffling. Henry, in the wake of staunch opposition from Carragher and Neville, remained adamant the duo were good enough to form part of a title-winning midfield, refusing to criticise his former manager Arsene Wenger, of whom Henry owes a debt for his glittering Arsenal career. Carragher and Neville have become a vital part of the Sky Sports package over the past 24 months and provide the best analysis on TV. Sky Sports would do well not to tinker with a winning formula.