Dispelling 3 Early Myths from the Start of the Premier League Season

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterSeptember 23, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17:  Lucas of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on August 17, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

We've been treated to five thrilling weeks of Premier League action so far in 2013-14, and certain patterns and themes have emerged over the course of the 50 games played.

Here, we attempt to dispel some early myths that are starting to take shape as fanbases begin to get carried away or simply misled by statistics and punditry.

Robin van Persie is essential to Manchester United and Philippe Coutinho is missed in Liverpool while Luis Suarez is banned.

These statements are true, but the following are false.


Lucas Leiva Is Playing Well

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Lucas of Liverpool in action with Adam Lallana of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield on September 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Statistics can lead to you to believe anything. Literally anything.

It's worth checking out Ben McAleer's Twitter profile, where he argues the very same thingand he's the editorial assistant for widely used statistics website WhoScored?.

Lucas Leiva's statistics look absolutely fantastic, as WS? indicates that he has 5.2 tackles and three interceptions per game. Those are Morgan Schneiderlin-esque numbers, and you'll recall he was lauded widely for his crunching displays last season.

Unfortunately, statistics matter little if you're giving up what Lucas does on the pitch.

He is an integral part of Liverpool's incredibly soft underbelly, allowing teams to run straight through the centre of Brendan Rodgers' formation at will.

Victor Wanyama destroyed the Reds' centre on Saturday, while Jonjo Shelvey ran riot the previous Monday. Steven Gerrard is a deep-lying playmaker with a dodgy groin and Lucas' inability to provide a physical presence is harming his side.

Not only is he weak in the defensive phase, he offers nothing going forward at this moment in time. You won't see a Wanyama-esque waltz up the pitch from him and he gives you nothing in terms of penetration or goalscoring prowess.


Victor Wanyama Is an Accomplished Ballplayer

VIGO, SPAIN - AUGUST 03:  Victor Wanyama of Southampton looks on during the warm up prior to a friendly match between RC Celta de Vigo and Southampton at Balaidos stadium on August 3, 2013 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

We scouted Wanyama during the January transfer window last season after the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal had been linked with the player.

Everything checked out superbly...except his passing—that needed serious work.

It seems we weren't alone in this line of thought, as former Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels had suggested to The Daily Record that the Kenyan lacked the natural instincts of a ballplayer and struggled in space.

After recording an 80 percent pass completion rate in the opening game of the season against West Bromwich Albion, claims that Wanyama had stepped his game up a notch started appearing from the likes of EPLindex.com.

Unfortunately, said claims were premature. Despite the high completion percentages, Saints look to be lacking a Jack Cork-esque presence who can spray the ball accurately over long distances.

Wanyama is a serviceable short passer and demonic defensive presence, but he's no playmaker—not even close.


Aston Villa Are a 1-Man Team

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - JUNE 07:  Daniele De Rossi of Italy #16 and Libor Kozak of Czech Republic compete for the ball during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier group B match between Czech Republic and Italy at Generali Arena on June 7, 2013 in Prague, Cz
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Villa fans will still question why a player such as Hiroshi Kiyotake or Younes Belhanda was not signed this summer, but the decision to bring Libor Kozak in is officially a sensible deal.

When Christian Benteke slipped and injured his hip flexor away at Norwich City on Saturday, the claret and blue faithful feared the worst.

But the feeling of dread associated with their Belgian saviour going down has been lessened significantly by the recruitment of a second towering striker, and Kozak came on to score the winner.

The Czech Republic international is still finding his feet at his new club after a deadline-day move, but his presence alone has lessened the burden on Benteke's shoulders.

Pre-Kozak, Benteke going down would have meant Villa's young team hitting the panic button. Now, they've got another viable option to hold his own up front.

Having another target man means the gameplan doesn't change:Villa's speedsters can still play off a focal point and use him to shield the ball.

The former Lazio hitman will start against Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday in the third round of the Capital One Cup and will be looking to give Paul Lambert an incredibly tough decision to make four days later.


Statistics courtesy of WhoScored?