Premier League winners and losers: Sturridge, Tottenham and more
Daniel Sturridge is back for Liverpool, and Tottenham kick-start their season with win over Man City
Sturridge dancing again. How much have Liverpool missed Daniel Sturridge? A lot. It would be easy to forget that the 25-year-old played such a huge part in Liverpool’s best season in recent memory in 2014/15 if Brendan Rodgers didn’t remind his dissenters at most of his media conferences. Although he couldn’t trouble Norwich City in his comeback game, Sturridge once again didn’t take long to find the back of the net on his latest return from injury. His first in a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa was brilliant and a reminder of just how good a natural finisher Sturridge is – Liverpool haven’t had such an instinctive centre-forward since Robbie Fowler. While his second lacked the razzmatazz of his opener, it was a clinical finish that emphasised Sturridge means business. Jamie Carragher brazenly branded the Liverpool striker the Premier League’s second-best finisher following his Villa double. Perhaps a tad too enthusiastic from the Sky Sports pundits, but Sturridge, if fit, is certainly in the top five.
Tenacious Tottenham. Watching Eric Dier speak to Spurs TV following their 4-1 win against Manchester City, the England Under-21 international was monotone in his responses, which is common place in any media interview with a Premier League star in modern-day football, even with a club’s in-house channel. However, Dier woke from his slumber when asked about the dressing room atmosphere, taking a swipe at Tottenham’s critics, who have previously branded Spurs ‘chokers’. While many have derided Tottenham over the past five years or so as Daniel Levy sifted through managers with petulant impatience, Mauricio Pochettino was seen as the right candidate to spark a fruitful and extended reign at White Hart Lane in May 2014. A slow start to his second season belied that impression but Tottenham look to be turning a corner. Instead of being mocked by Roy Keane, another Manchester United legend in the shape of Gary Neville, is now praising a resilient Spurs. The north London side showed character to bounce back from Kevin de Bruyne’s opener and seal an emphatic 4-1 win. It was a confident home performance albeit against a City side lacking their spine. Are Tottenham finally making real strides forward under Pochettino?
The dethroned leaders. City are in freefall after a second successive Premier League defeat. What looked an impressive start to the season is quickly transforming into a campaign which threatens to imitate last term. The Citizens have collected just two points in the last nine games where Manuel Pellegrini’s side have fallen behind. It is a record that suggests City don’t have the resilience of Premier League champions. The Citizens manager was without Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and David Silva at White Hart Lane, and despite taking an early lead, City always looked likely to concede. A 4-1 thrashing is a humbling result which has opened up the title race.
Swans’ wings clipped. Swansea City have won over many neutral Premier League supporters since their promotion in 2012. Their manager Garry Monk is affable, they’re style of play is pleasing to the eye, the likes of Leon Britton and Ashley Williams have stayed loyal to the club, whilst they boast some bona fide talent in the shape of Andre Ayew, Jonjo Shelvey, Bafetimbi Gomis and Gyfli Sigurdsson. But five-game unbeaten start to the season has been forgotten amid a three-game winless run which has seen the Swans drop to 11th place. Victory over United suggested Swansea were capable of a push for European places this season, but top-six sides can ill-afford to lose at newly-promoted teams, whilst Southampton were emphatic 3-1 winners against Monk’s men at the weekend. Swansea need to re-establish themselves as serious top-six contenders in their next fixture – and what better chance to do just that than beat resurgent rivals Tottenham.
Winners: Manchester United, Harry Kane and Alexis Sanchez.
Losers: Chelsea, Newcastle United and Christian Benteke.