After a fascinating opening round of fixtures in the Barclays Premier League, here I look at what we can take from the weekend's action
Firstly let’s start with the obvious: Manchester United’s squad is not yet good to secure Champions League football, let alone challenge for the title. Louis van Gaal opted to play with three centre-backs and two wing-backs, a tactic that he simply cannot use again until he buys at least one quality defender.
Manchester United defending
With Jonny Evans injured, he handed a debut to young Tyler Blackett - a move I’m sure he will be regretting now. The failures of Ashley Young playing firstly at left wing-back then left-back were obvious as well and highlighted by Gylfi Sigurdsson's winner.
With the club closing in on at least two defenders things could change, however. Judging by the opener it seems things will have to change a considerable amount at Old Trafford.
One of the key talking points of the summer was how Liverpool would cope without Luis Suarez. For me, the answer seems simple - Raheem Sterling. The teenager seemed to run the show for parts of the game against Southampton at Anfield, playing in the hole behind Sturridge seems to suit him and along with Philippe Coutinho, the three of them could blossom.
One thing that was also apparent from the first round of matches was that Chelsea mean business. After an early blip against Burnley at Turf Moor, Jose Mourinho’s side were ruthless.
The two new signings, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, showed why Chelsea are favourites to clinch the title. The execution of Fabregas’s first-time pass to set up Andre Schurrle for his goal was sublime.
Best of the rest
Away from the big guns, it finally appears that Aston Villa may have learned how to defend. With a back four of Aly Cissokho, Ron Vlaar, Philippe Senderos and Alan Hutton, they look like a tricky team to beat as Stoke found out.
Leicester City had a weekend to remember, getting a 2-2 draw with Everton and it looks like they have found a frontman to lead them in the form of £8 million signing Leonardo Ulloa.
Swansea have quietly slipped under the radar this summer but have been very astute in the market. Bringing back Sigurdsson as well as capturing Bafetimbi Gomis, they looked as good as anyone as they put away a weak United team at Old Trafford.
Lastly, could it be another season of torment for Harry Redknapp in the top-flight? His QPR outfit were beaten by Hull after an error at a corner.
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