This week’s Premier League’s Talking Points column is back after a weeks hiatus due to the damned international break. Since the last weekend of Premier League football there has been two managerial casualties – with Brendan Rodgers and Dick Advocaat leaving Liverpool and Sunderland respectively.
Their replacements – Sam Allardyce and especially Jurgen Klopp has filled all the subsequent headlines. But other issues have also arisen, such as a spate of injuries to key players during international duty. Here, Kevin Kelly discusses the pivotal talking points going into game week nine.
Injuries, Damned Injuries
Will international football never go away? All it does is disrupt real football and injury the best players there are. Principally, Sergio Aguero is out for Manchester City – shock horror. David Silva looks out of action too. How will Man City cope without the key components to their devastating attacking triumvirate?
Looking at both the form and fixtures for Arsenal and Manchester United specifically, it is the Londoners likely to gain the most advantage, should one arise. Then specifically examining who could take the Argentine’s place in terms of goal scoring it is likely to be the Belgian Kevin De Bruyne, who has already scored three and assisted twice, albeit from a deeper position than Aguero.
Aguero’s actual replacement – Wilfried Bony – was generally seen as a poor replacement, one whom, for all the talent on show from his time at Swansea, doesn’t seem up to the task of leading the line at any point for a club with elite aspirations.
More from Playing for 90
- Alexia Putellas reaches 400 games with Barcelona
- Everything you need to know ahead of the 250th ‘Super Clásico’
- Barcelona put five past Real Betis
- Manchester City suffer but come away with win over West Ham
- Baffling Liga MX ruling strips Puebla of a hard-earned victory
Another one Bites the Dust for Villa?
It is now just one point in 18 for Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa, who sit in 18th place in the table after eight matches. Their ‘blunderbus approach to the summer transfer window’ has failed; especially when considering their best player bought this summer is a full-back – Jordan Amavi.
Rudy Gestede looks a fine player and ready to play in the Premier League for a sustained period, but his team are yet to really make the best use of the fierce forward on a consistent basis. Gestede’s performance vs. Liverpool was perhaps the stand out moment of Villa’s season. Albeit in a loss, Gestede’s ferocious header illustrated his aerial ability against (supposedly) some of the league’s best defenders in Mamadou Sakho.
Kloppomania is Here – How Will Liverpool’s Players Cope?
Jurgen Klopp has been the source of every sorting headlines for most sports papers all over Europe in the past few days, and rightly so. The rock-star manager brings a wade of trophies and charisma worthy of the famous Anfield club. But how will he affect the Liverpool players? Will they respond to his unrelenting methods?
First and foremost you need to look at Liverpool’s all-action captain Jordan Henderson, whose attributes would fit perfectly with Klopp’s model of hard-work and more hard-work. In the 2013/14 season Henderson’s ‘numbers’ offensively were good, but needed improvement. He scored four goals and assisted seven in that Premier League season. The following campaign he took another leap forward; scoring six and assisting nine times.
More from Aston Villa
- Aston Villa’s European project: Are they here to stay?
- Aston Villa sign Premier League journeyman Danny Ings
- Will Jack Grealish be Aston Villa’s equivalent to Jamie Vardy?
- Aston Villa are desperate for Liverpool to pressure Tottenham
- Aston Villa and Leeds United take shots at Wolves over Mendes link
Roberto Firmino is another player likely to thrive under the tutelage of the enigmatic German who won two Bundesliga titles consecutively with Borussia Dortmund. Firmino’s direct nature could subsidise the likely lack of a strike partner for whoever is up front in Klopp’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.