1. It has been 13 months of turmoil for Aston Villa but even the most hardened anti-McLeish Villa fan must be reasonably content with four points from two games. But perhaps a more influential figure has been a player they signed during the last transfer window.
When Darren Bent joined Villa last January the Birmingham club had accumulated 22 points from 22 games. It was pace that would have eventually got them relegated.
But over the last 16 games of the 2010/11 season and the two of the new season Villa has taken 30 points from 18 games – a points per game return that wold have been good enough for 5th in the Premier League last season.
It may be only two games into the new season but Wolves fans must be seeing a more enjoyable season (i.e. one not fighting relegation). With a 100% record Wolves return to Villa Park as one of only two teams to take all three points off Aston Villa at home in 2011.
The other was Sunderland.
2. Wigan’s game against QPR is their third consecutive match against promoted sides and the first two have finished as draws. On one hand a case can be made that the newly promoted clubs are benefiting from a rush of adrenalin – the other that the step up quality should make them easier pickings at this stage.
3. Makings of a hard season for both but at least Everton has the quality that should see them comfortably sitting in the middle of the table. That may not be the case with Blackburn. Last season a trademark of Blackburn was their first half performances. They only trailed at half time in 5 of 38 matches. Given two losses so far they need to quickly find that sort of quick start again.
4. Frank Lampard will probably have spent the last week licking his lips at the prospect of this match. Frank has yet to open his goal scoring account for the new season while Norwich has already conceded two penalty kicks.
5. One of the features of the early part of last season was the defensive statistics put together by Sunderland. In their opening 24 games of the 2010/11 Premier League season Sunderland recorded 11 clean sheets. In the remaining 14 games last season and two this, they have only shut out the opposition twice. Swansea might just fancy that this weekend as one that could bring a first Premier league win.
6. Despite being thoroughly outplayed last Sunday by Manchester City, Bolton showed a resilience and the destination of the points hung in the balance until the final balance. Bolton faced both Aguero and Tevez last week and this week it will be Luis Suarez. Three world-class strikers in seven days.
7. Newcastle have made a solid start with four points from two games and they have yet to concede a goal. Against Fulham, Newcastle will be going for three-in-a-row something they weren’t able to achieve last season. They did however achieve back-to-back clean sheets twice.
For a side that has general been poor away from home since joining the Premier League Fulham has a remarkably good record of 3 wins, 3 losses and 3 draws at St James’ Park.
8. It has been a tough start for Tottenham Hotspur. First their ancillary facilities were damaged in the London riots and that and other damage led to the postponement of the opening match against Everton. Monday brought a visit to Old Trafford while this weekend they face the blue side of Manchester.
Although this Manchester City side is very different than ones that have come before but nevertheless City has only won once in the Premier League era at White Hart Lane.
Also a source of encouragement for Spurs should be their record against top half sides last season. It was second only to Manchester United.
9. Stoke has achieved what all promoted sides set out to do – that is cement their position in the Premier League. In their second premier League season West Brom hope to do the same. Something these two sides had in common last season was that they struggled to open the scoring.
Stoke managed to do it only 14 times while no side opened the scoring fewer times than West Brom with 12.
Stoke visit West Brom with two draws while West Brom has lost close games to Manchester United and Chelsea.
10. Manchester United dumped three second half goals into the Spurs net on Monday night and in the process made a side touted as a top four challenger look pretty ragged.
A stand-out for me (even discounting his goal) was * Danny Welbeck. His ability to lead the United line shown through and his passing statistics for a striker were a testament to his accuracy and the support around him.
Rooney was a constant source of support while Nani tucked inside a bit more than was usual.
Compare that to * Robin van Persie’s statistics against Liverpool and it certainly alludes to the Dutchman playing in a certain degree of isolation.
*Linked to a performance graphic.
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