Premier League winners and losers: Lovren, Van Gaal and more
Premier League winners and losers: Crystal Palace beat Chelsea, whilst Swansea City heap misery on Man United
The Eagles continue to soar Crystal Palace built on their strong start to the season with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon. When Radamel Falcao cancelled out Bakary Sako’s opener with 11 minutes to go, Chelsea looked likely to push on and seal three points. But Palace had the character to bounce back within a matter of minutes as Joel Ward restored their lead. Alan Pardew’s post-match comments underlined Palace’s new-found swagger after he boasted that his pacey side had frightened the defending champions – notably, Branislav Ivanovic. Palace were fighting relegation under the likes of Ian Holloway and Neil Warnock just a couple of seasons ago before Tony Pulis consolidated the south-east London side’s Premier League status. But Pardew now has a squad that is capable of competing with Swansea City, Everton and Tottenham for European spots this season.
Gomis going to Man United? Bafetimbi Gomis looked to be heading for a Swansea City exit in the January transfer window after the France international hinted that he was unsettled at Liberty Stadium. There were doubts, too, whether Gomis was the right man to lead the Swansea front-line after Wilfried Bony joined Manchester City. But the 30-year-old has answered those questions in emphatic style after four goals in four games in the Premier League this season. In fact, Gomis has scored nine times in his last nine outings which has prompted talk of interest from Manchester United. Louis van Gaal had the chance to examine the Swansea striker at close quarters on Sunday evening after the former Lyon striker scored the winner in a 2-1 victory. Such is Gomis’s form, he is fast becoming a Fantasy Football must-have.
Lovren and Rodgers Liverpool have been clearing out the deadwood this summer, with the likes of Glen Johnson, Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli and Lazar Markovic all moving away from Anfield. Dejan Lovern survived the cull and surprisingly, Brendan Rodgers has shown renewed faith in the Croatia international at the expense of Mamadou Sakho. Lovren, who moved to Liverpool from Southampton in a £25m deal last summer, helped the Reds to keep three successive clean sheets in their opening three Premier League games. Lovren had seemingly turned a corner. But there were warning signs against Bournemouth and Arsenal that the old Lovren was still lurking, waiting to pop out. And the 27-year-old reverted to his 2014-15 self against West Ham with a truly calamitous performance. The Liverpool centre-half was at fault for Mark Noble’s goal in a 3-0 defeat and produced a generally erratic and nervy performance. It is time for Rodgers to fall on his sword on this transfer and accept that Lovren is a flop. Sakho, while also prone to the odd error, is a more consistent and decisive defender.
Van Gaal United had their swagger back last month after Ed Woodward concluded deals for Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian during one busy July weekend. The trio joined Memphis Depay as new summer signings at Old Trafford and all appeared right with the 20-time English champions. But Angel di Maria, Javier Hernandez, Robin van Persie, Rafael da Silva and Adnan Januzaj have all left United. Cue panic on Twitter. There is an overwhelming sense of panic surrounding United’s reported £36m move for Anthony Martial (or £59m, depending on what media source you chose to believe) despite Pat Nevin’s endorsement of the Monaco striker. Where does this tie into the Premier League weekend? The Red Devils produced another underwhelming Premier League performance at Liberty Stadium. Juan Mata had given the visitors a lead but couldn’t withstand a Swansea resurgence as new United first-choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero finally cracked. After a strong start to the summer which promoted a downpour of positivity, United need a strong end to the transfer window to dissipate the surge of negativity in recent weeks.