Both Manchester City and Arsenal were under scrutiny in the build up to the fixture, in which both teams were planning to make a statement of intent to the rest of the league. Arsenal had suffered just their second defeat of the season midweek to Everton. Manchester City, and more specifically Pep Guardiola, were under the microscope as fans, journalists and pundits alike were beginning to question Guardiola’s ability to adapt his tactics to the English Premier League.
Currently, AC Milan are the second most decorated club in Europe, boasting a massive trophy cabinet stockpiled with European and domestic titles. However, Milan, and Italy in general, didn’t have much to offer before the entrance of Arrigo Sacchi, the man who reinvented Calcio. He singlehandedly took an Italian side which was plagued with lacklustre, dreary, dull, and dangerously cautious, defensive football, and, over the course of a few years, made Milan one of the best teams in the continent.
This year, Leicester City decided to soldier on with the strategy they used last year that won them the title. They bought players from peripheral or lower leagues, which means I can’t say whether Islam Slimani, their most expensive signing this year, was any good. Incredibly annoying. Anyway, for the players I can evaluate, here are their stats.
At the beginning of the season, when Claude Puel took over from Ronald Koeman as Southampton manager, a new era started for the Saints. The two years’ tenure of Ronald Koeman brought to Southampton the highest ever Premier League finish, with a 7th and 6th final places. So, the expectations for Puel are demanding, but the performance in these first 13 games look really promising.
After 12 games newly promoted Middlesbrough sit in 15th place with 11 points. They are one point from the relegation zone and have scored just 10 goals while conceding 13. While not supporting a single Premier League team I do have a soft spot for Middlesbrough, and this made me want to have a look at how they are performing.
After the triumph of last season, Leicester City find themselves sitting in a disappointing 14th spot in the Premier League after 11 games. So, what’s happened? How much worse are they performing compared to last season? How much of an effect has the loss of N’Golo Kanté had? Are the additional Champions League games proving a distraction? I’ll investigate these questions, looking at the numbers to try and find answers.
At the very end of the 2015-16 season, Roberto Martínez was fired from Everton and was replaced by former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman. Since taking charge, Koeman has been sensible and hasn’t spent too much in the transfer market; Everton ended the transfer window with a positive net spend of €1.4 million. However, some would argue that a positive net spend would have been all that Everton could afford, given they finished in the bottom half for two straight seasons. The fact that all the players Everton bought played in the Premier League last year shows Everton adopted a risk-free approach this summer.