The Premier League is most definitely back, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham leading the way at the summit. Manchester City meanwhile got back to winning ways but Manchester United could only draw. A lot could now change in the final days of the transfer market, says Matthew Dunn, and in some cases it needs to.
Romelu Lukaku has never lacked confidence so it is no surprise that the Chelsea striker’s second spell at the club has started so spectacularly well with a goal after 14 minutes.
Around £270million has been spent for his services since I spoke to him just after his loan spell at West Brom in a sultry reception area in Kuala Lumpur on the club’s pre-season Malaysia tour in 2013.
Fernando Torres then stood in his path but rumours that Wayne Rooney was about to be signed had the Belgian insisting that the England captain at the time was coming to play alongside him rather than the other way around.
“I can score with both feet and with my head, I am very quick and skilful,” said a man who never doubted his own ability. “I can do a bit of everything but I can improve on things as well.”
As it was, it has taken him eight years to become Chelsea’s main man but already he is looking like being a huge final piece in the club’s title-winning armoury.
Certainly Lukaku believes they will win the title – no doubt about it.
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CITY MUST BID FOR KANE IF THEY’RE ABLE
It was relief for Harry Kane – but should have been no surprise – that the fans will get behind him for another year at Tottenham if Manchester City fail to snatch him from Daniel Levy’s claws.
A final more serious bid from the defending champions would be no surprise this week, despite Gabriel Jesus’s tantalising flash of goalscoring brilliance at the weekend.
The Brazilian, though, is still a rung short of the level needed to lead an assault on the Premier League and Europe and for all that City have got by without a striker, knocking five past hapless Norwich cannot be taken as a sign that everything is alright.
We are only two weeks into the season, but a table that has City in eighth and Chelsea – with their world class striker in the fold – on top of the pile might be all the encouragement needed for City to dig deep in their pockets before the window closes.
Guaranteed, though, as time ticks down to find a replacement, Levy will not accept a penny less than his full valuation.
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PRIMARK PEP NEEDS TO SHOW HIS VALUE
There were 58,729 “tickets sold” for Arsenal’s return to a “full” Emirates against Chelsea on Sunday but the empty seats shouted loudly just how many people are paying NOT to watch the Gunners at the moment.
Lockdown has protected Mikel Arteta from hearing more of the boos that met the half-time and full-time whistles and has perhaps hidden just how disjointed the team has become since he took over.
2006 AND ALL THAT
Steven Gerrard breaking West Ham hearts in the FA Cup final. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at their bristling best. Andrea Pirlo showcasing his talents on the biggest stage. Peter Crouch doing the robot.
Fifteen years ago, football was not too bad a place to be so if the new rules take us back there, we should be all for it.
It is disappointing but no surprise that prominent managers are already moaning about the protection of their players in light of the more flowing game referees are trying to orchestrate, and Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be better than this.
There will still be contentious decisions but hopefully with players staying on their feet more there will also be more goals and excitement – the things that made the Premier League the best in the world in the first place and made it such an attraction to football people from all over Europe.
TAKING LEEDS FROM THE PAST
Having been at Elland Road the last time there was a full house in the Premier League, it was a joy to see the stadium back at its noisy best this weekend.
The Champions League season saw Barcelona, AC Milan, Lazio, Valencia – some of the biggest names in Europe – wilt in the face of its passion.
Peter Ridsdale, living the dream, was the one talking about extending the stadium to 60,000.
Barely six years after reaching the Champions League semi-final, they were in League One. It took them 17 years to get back on their feet.
And now those plans for a 60,000 redevelopment are firmly back on the table.
Let’s just hope the current owners don’t make the mistakes of the past and try to run before they can march on together with confidence.