Cleat Geeks

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Vardy equals goal scoring record  Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy’s 45th minute goal against Newcastle United equalled Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10 consecutive Premier League games.
The England striker’s feat is made all the more amazing when you consider that just five years ago he was playing for Stocksbridge Park Steels in the Unibond Premier League.

Even three years ago Vardy was playing in the Conference – the fifth tier of English football – helping Fleetwood Town to promotion to League Two.

The 28 year-old will hold the record outright if he scores for the Foxes next week when they take on Van Nistelrooy’s former club, Manchester United.

Foxes lead the way claudio-ranieri-leicester_3368143

Not many could have predicted it at the start of the season; but Leicester City lead the Premier League table after 13 rounds.

A more than comfortable 3-0 victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park catapulted Claudio Ranieri’s men to the league’s summit, ahead of the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.

Only seven months ago Leicester were at the bottom of the table and looked destined to spend the 2015/16 season in the Championship, but a remarkable improvement in form saw the Foxes stay up and they have picked up where they left off this time around.

In fact, since April 4th, Leicester have amassed 50 points in 22 games – six more than Manchester City, nine more than Arsenal and 12 more than Manchester United.

Ranieri’s men might not be favourites to lift the title come May, but should they be ruled out so easily, especially given the poor starts the main title contenders have had?

City lacks depth   citeh

It’s amazing to think Manchester City has a team of players worth hundreds and hundreds of millions of pounds, yet one or two absentees brings them to their knees.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side simply can’t cope at the back when captain and centre-back Vincent Kompany are unavailable – a statement highlighted by their woeful display against Liverpool on Saturday evening.

With a centre-half pairing of Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis, the two-time Premier League champions were taken apart by Liverpool and were eventually humbled 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Mangala’s early own goal set the tone but Pellegrini was left exasperated by the whole team’s performance, not just the defence: “It was a complete disaster, the whole team,” the Chilean told BBC Sport.

“I am more than angry. It is unbelievable the performance we had.”

In all fairness City were deprived of more than just a couple of players; Nicolas Otamendi was also absent from the back four, David Silva was missing as was striker Wilfried Bony, who was replaced by the only partially-fit Sergio Aguero, who lasted 66 minutes.

Still, for a club that has spent $71 million this summer alone, it’s fair to say that more should be expected.

Spurs real contenders kane

On the right end of a 4-1 score line this weekend were Tottenham Hotspur, who demolished their London rivals West Ham at White Hart Lane.

Manager Mauricio Pocchetino appears to have improved his side’s defensive problems while Harry Kane continues to lead the line up front.

Kane, who netted twice on Sunday, had a slow start to the campaign, but the likes of Moussa Dembele and Erik Lamela have helped keep the scoreboard ticking over and helped put Spurs up to 5th in the table.

Sunday’s victory was a 12th unbeaten in the league for Tottenham who’s only defeat so far this campaign came on the opening day of the season.

Given Chelsea’s abysmal start this term and the inconsistency of the other title challengers, Spurs look good for at least a top four place this year and might have an outside squeak of even winning the title.

Garde faces immense task  remi

After holding Manchester City to a goalless draw at Villa Park in his first game as Aston Villa manager, it looked as though Remi Garde might be able to get a decent tune out of his new squad.

Just two weeks later, however, it was back to usual as his side was thumped 4-0 by Everton at Goodison Park – a score line which, in truth, flattered the visitors.

Villa are rooted to the foot of the table and have scored fewer goals than any other team in the Premier League – including just two in their last six league matches.

Garde told BBC Sport after Saturday’s defeat: “In the first 30 minutes we were not good enough to resist. We didn’t want to concede an early goal and we did. After that it was too difficult.
“When you concede four goals it is not a good performance. We will have to work on that. The second half was better. I was not pleased at all with the first half.

“I knew the size of the task before I came. Today we lost 4-0, I prefer to lose one game 4-0 than four games 1-0. We have to be ready for the next game, because that is very important.”

Villa’s next Premier League match is at home to Watford on Saturday and it is already looking like a must-win for Garde’s men.

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