5 Things We Learned from Premier League Weekend

Neri Stein@neristeinFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2011

5 Things We Learned from Premier League Weekend

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    What a weekend it was in the Premier League once again.

    Manchester United just keeps on flying, while Manchester City actually scuffled a bit and teams like Arsenal and Liverpool can't decide what direction to go in.

    Fernando Torres finally got his second Chelsea goal, but then he shot himself in the foot by missing the most open goal he will ever see. Wayne Rooney also proved he's not a robot when he slipped and missed a penalty, but it came when his side was 3-1 up, so no harm done.  

    We're five games into the 2011-2012 season, and here's what we learned this past weekend. 

Sunderland May Not Need a Striker

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    Sunderland's strike force consists of the young, unproven Connor Wickham and Arsenal-failure Nicklas Bendtner. The Black Cats have struggled to score and win anywhere ever since Darren Bent left last January.

    On Sunday, Steve Bruce's side proved they didn't need a bunch of centre-forwards to score as they hammered Stoke 4-0 for their first win of the season. 

    Sunderland have been a top-half team since Bruce took over, but they've always found some way to slip up. Sebastian Larsson looks to be a very good signing by Bruce, and if they have many more performances like Sunday's, they could very well fight for a Europa League spot. 

Everton Sick of Slow Starts

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    In the past few seasons, now would be the time Everton was languishing in the drop zone, without a win and with only a few goals to their name. 

    That's certainly not the case this season. 

    Despite selling Mikel Arteta on transfer deadline day, Everton have two wins and have scored six goals so far. It's a big difference from last season. 

    The Toffees' money troubles are known to everyone, and another slow start just couldn't happen this year. 

    The question is will they be able to keep it up, or is this just a false start? A strong season with European football at the end could be very big for David Moyes' side. 

Arsenal and Liverpool Can't Decide What They're Doing

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    Arsenal made some great signings at the end of the transfer window and few weeks ago and backed it up by at least getting a win over Swansea. Then they went in reverse with a loss at Blackburn that included two comical own goals. 

    Liverpool looked like they were really turning over a new leaf under Kenny Dalglish before selling Raul Meireles on transfer deadline day. Since then, the Reds have lost two away games, including an embarrassing 4-0 thrashing at Tottenham Sunday. 

    There isn't room for both of these teams in the top four, and by the looks of recent weeks, only one may score any type of European football for next season.

    Who will it be? 

Roy Hodgson's Magic Has Worn Off

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    Roy Hodgson and West Brom were very close to starting this season off with at the very least two points off Manchester United and Chelsea in their first two games. They could've even won it at Chelsea. 

    A couple mistakes later and suddenly, the Baggies are bottom of the table with just one win and four losses. 

    When Hodgson came to West Brom the beginning of the year, he immediately took the team out of the relegation race and up to mid-table.

    But 2011-2012 has started much like 2010-2011, and Hodgson needs to be careful. Much like at Liverpool, he's got the players, but he needs to use them correctly.  

It Could Be a Race for Second Place

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    It's too early to hand anyone the Premier League title officially, but boy does Manchester United look unstoppable.

    And this is a Red Devils team without Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand and with Dimitar Berbatov on the bench. 

    Chelsea did very little to trouble United Sunday, and Manchester City finally slipped up to give United a two-point cushion at the top of the table. 

    The Red Devils have scored 21 goals and conceded just four in five games, and it's been entirely a team performance.

    The only question mark is young goalkeeper David de Gea, and it's starting to look like he's gotten over his initial jitters.

    Chelsea were in this same position last year, and they hit a midseason slump that cost them the title, but you just can't see that happening with Sir Alex Ferguson's side.  

    I'll say it again, it's still too early to just give United the title, but it wouldn't too bold.