Who says Arsenal need new signings?
The Gunners looked very good in their 3-1 win over Fulham. They were composed in defence, and their attack was lethal with their chances.
Olivier Giroud held the ball up well, looked to finish off moves himself and set up his teammates for scoring chances. Lukas Podolski had a brace, with his first goal really standing out. It's not easy to score from 18 yards out like that, even if you've got a largely empty net ahead.
That's what's most frustrating with what Arsenal have or more accurately haven't done in the transfer window. The Gunners have the kind of pieces to have a title-challenging side, but they still need two or three players to bring it all together.
After only two matches, you can't really get any definitive answers as to how the 2013/14 season will unfold. You can, however, see some things that might be a sign of things to come.
Here are four takeaways from Saturday's Premier League matches.
|Hull City||1-0||Norwich City|
|Stoke City||2-1||Crystal Palace|
Scores via ESPN FC
Maybe Marouane Chamakh Isn't Terrible After All
Marouane Chamakh has become one of the biggest symbols of Arsenal's failings in the transfer market. Where Arsene Wenger was once able to buy Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira, he's now signing players like Chamakh, Gervinho and Andrey Arshavin.
In retrospect, it's easy to see why Chamakh was such a flop.
Quite simply, he wasn't made for the Arsenal system. Chamakh is at his best when playing in a more direct attack, where he can use his head and his feet to collect long balls and crosses into the box. The 29-year-old is not skilled enough on the ball to be able to dribble through a defence and play the ball on the ground.
Going to Crystal Palace could be a great thing for Chamakh. He's guaranteed to be one of the key players in the attack, and Ian Holloway will utilize a much more direct style in the attack.
Look at the goal he scored against Stoke City. Chamakh collected a long pass, fought off Ryan Shawcross and fired a shot into the back of the net.
Squawka has a nice visual of the goal.
Let's not go crazy and say Chamakh is going to score 20-plus goals. But he could be just enough to keep Palace out of the relegation zone.
Fulham Must Never Lose the Ball
When Fulham have the ball, they're lethal. When Fulham don't have the ball, they're in trouble.
You knew that with Dimitar Berbatov and Adel Taarabt on the pitch at the same time, Fulham will only ever have a maximum of nine players behind the ball. And that's when the Cottagers have time to organize their defence.
Opposing teams will be able to carve Fulham up on the counterattack, and that's exactly what Arsenal did on Saturday. Scott Parker was a great signing because he can at least provide some cover for when Fulham do in fact lose the ball.
With this kind of high-risk, high-reward style, the Cottagers will be one of the more enjoyable clubs to watch. They'll have their fair share of days when they get thumped, but they'll also have their days when their attack picks apart a top club.
Stoke City Still Know How to Win Ugly
The departure of Tony Pulis was supposed to mean the end of direct, physical football at Stoke City. So far, that's half-right. In Stoke's first two games, Mark Hughes has used a nice combination of direct football and a little bit of adventure.
It would be foolish to have the players at Hughes' disposal and ask them to play a quick-strike, free-flowing style of attacking football. You've still got Jonathan Walters and Peter Crouch up top and Charlie Adam in midfield. You might as well play to their strengths.
Don't expect to see many beautiful goals from Stoke this season. Their win over Crystal Palace was a nice demonstration of the Stoke City of 2013/14.
The Potters got two rather ugly goals in the 58th and 62nd minutes and squeezed the life out of Palace from there.
This is still a club that will rely on the principles of Pulis' style. However, Hughes will inject enough of his own tactics to make things a little more exciting at the Britannia.
Daniel Sturridge Looks to Finally Be Putting It Together
Daniel Sturridge's talent was never really in question. Everybody could see that he had everything to be one of the best strikers England has to offer.
What was up for debate was whether or not the 23-year-old would get his head right and not be the frustrating player he was at Chelsea, cutting in from the right and launching shots yards off goal.
Upon moving to Anfield, Sturridge has been given a regular first-team place and a manager who has a ton of faith in him. Both have worked wonders on the player. He was a revelation after he moved in January, and he's continuing that form into this season.
Sturridge scored Liverpool's only goal against Stoke City last week, and he scored Liverpool's only goal on Saturday against Aston Villa. It was a great piece of individual work from the striker.
United States women's national team player Abby Wambach approved of the finish.
That goal by Sturridge should count for 2 or something. That was fantastic footwork and a cheeky finish as he roofed it. Unreal.— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) August 24, 2013
It's incredible that Sturridge hardly had a preseason. An ankle injury limited him to just 45 minutes against Celtic in the Reds' last friendly. Then the English forward got the start against Villa and is already in midseason form.
With Philippe Coutinho and Sturridge linking up in the attack, Liverpool could very well threaten for a top-four place.