Monday is nearly here. The first day of the week is nearly at our doorstep but it has to pick up some snacks on the way. No club has more points at this stage even if some sides have played a game more and at the fourth matchday round, no EPL outfit has dazzled early on. The Premier League's Saturday schedule threw up some interesting results and performances with a home victory for Everton against Chelsea, an impressive draw for Stoke against Manchester City, and an away victory for Newcastle at Aston Villa.
Is the English Premier League that good? England's best sides have questions hovering over them and that should make a more interesting league campaign. As it stands, only the Merseyside clubs remain undefeated in the Premier League and there remain question marks over the top three sides from last season. Would anyone place them among the favourites for the Champions League? ETW might be taking a pessimistic stance here but including Arsenal, the four English representatives look like dark horses for Europe's top prize not front runners. That's not to say that last season's top four aren't to be respected but there could be more surprises this season.
Tottenham and Swansea are strong Europa League competitors; AVB and Laudrup wouldn't want group stage exits in that competition even if it could adversely affect domestic affairs. Wigan are a second-tier side now and I'm sure Owen Coyle will heavily prioritise promotion over a European adventure. It's still early in the Premier League season but even if we've been trying to calculate who will finish in the top eight, there could be some surprises in the top four. Arsenal have and trust Özil and Cazorla, Ramsey's revitalised, and Giroud is scoring. Liverpool possess greater defensive depth, Suarridginho, and a steelier attitude for a new season. Tottenham have a host of talented additions who could devastate if they click quickly enough. These are just early indications but the established top three might not have everything their way. Now that would be interesting.
- It's been quite a while since a Liverpool player or manager has won an official award to recognise monthly excellence in the league. Interestingly, the Sturridge/Rodgers August awards are Liverpool's first since 2009. It's been a good start and these are the small steps on the way to recovery. Rafa Benitez's loss has been much lamented and Fernando Torres was the last major player to leave the club in his prime. It's easy to live in the present when results are going well.
- Liverpool Ladies emerged victorious in the Merseyside derby 4-2. Liverpool are five points ahead of Bristol Academy Women having played a game more and Arsenal Ladies are a further point back in third with a game in hand. If Bristol pocket a victory against Doncaster Belles on 15 September, there'll be a title showdown on 29 September between Doncaster and Liverpool. One match to go and if everything goes to form then the title will head to Merseyside.
- Hapless Hamburg were pummelled by a destructive Dortmund side. The 6-2 victory kept Borussia Dortmund ahead of rivals Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich who both picked up routine home wins. Thorsten Fink's future as Hamburg manager will be discussed. Again. Dortmund's 4231 line-up looks irrepressible with Reus, Mkhitaryan, and Aubameyang operating behind Lewandowski. Sahin's quality is shining alongside Sven Bender in the absence of İlkay Gündoğan. Klopp and Watzke have lost jewels three seasons running but have turned each loss to the advantage of the team. Perhaps this is a lesson for others.
- Borussia Dortmund's next opponents will be Napoli, the impressive Serie A pacesetters. The first set of weekend fixtures stage a Turin versus Milan match up in the other ties. The Derby d'Italia between Juventus and Internazionale ended in a draw and
Max Allegri'sSilvio Berlusconi's AC Milan (with added Kaka) also drew away to Torino. Napoli's three points in Naples creates an interesting state of affairs this coming Wednesday: Serie A league leaders against Bundesliga league leaders. Not a Juventus or Bayern Munich in sight. Rafa Benitez seems happy with how he's started in his new job.
- In La Liga, Gareth Bale scored on his debut but Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't having that so he was getting a goal too. All is well in the world. Atletico Madrid continue to impress under Simeone and while Suso got a full game against the freescoring Madrid side, Almeira succumbed to a 4-2 defeat. That's four wins in four for Tata and Diego while Carlo has some catching up to do. Mind you, Villarreal are doing exceptionally well for a promoted side even if past pedigree dictates a smooth transition back to top flight football. Sevilla lost numerous key players this summer but competed gamely with the league champions. More of the same please.
It's not quite Monday yet but there was an interview with Brendan Rodgers on his philosophy and progress as a manager. Is it Monday yet?
Brendan Rodgers Interview On Soccer Saturday (via LFC Tiki Taka)