Manchester City's Kompany Crisis, Everton Too Blunt And More: Premier League Talking Points

Manchester City's chastening defeat to promoted side Cardiff City enlivened a dull second weekend of Premier League football, as only 11 goals were registered in Saturday's seven games and Tottenham won by the odd goal again on Sunday.

Here are five talking points from the weekend...


Everton lost just seven times in David Moyes's final season but also drew 15 games, which explains their sixth-placed finish. Their struggle to punish teams has continued under Roberto MartĂ­nez after two opening draws, and it is easy to see why with an attack as blunt as theirs.

Though Martínez has shown faith in Nikica Jelavić, profligate for much of 2012-13, Everton miss an outstanding goalscorer in the mould of Andy Johnson in 2006-07 or Yakubu Aiyegbeni of 2007-08. Marouane Fellaini is back in his preferred central midfield role but still came closest to breaking the deadlock against West Brom when he struck Ben Foster's post.

Everton remain a blunt team in attack

Fellaini - and Leighton Baines - could still swap Merseyside for Manchester, depriving Everton of their chief goal threat and creator. Martínez has brought in Arouna Koné as an alternative to Jelavić, but he excels as a selfless striker when the Toffees require a greedy poacher. Jermain Defoe, slowly easing towards the departure lounge at Tottenham, would be an excellent addition on a season-long loan.


Manchester City's seasonal panic occurred early this campaign and Vincent Kompany's injury has quelled the optimism which sprung from the 4-0 win against Newcastle United a week ago.

Joe Hart, for whom errors have happened on a monthly basis during the last 15 months, was forlorn without his captain as he failed to deal with the corner which allowed Fraizer Campbell to give Cardiff City the lead on Sunday. It was the catalyst for the Welsh side's victory as they exposed City's timidness from another corner for Campbell to nod in the eventual winner.

Fraizer Campbell rises to nod in Cardiff's eventual winner

Manuel Pellegrini has bought well but has not bought a defender. Since Kompany arrived the week before Sheikh Mansour's takeover City have bolstered their central defence but not necessarily strengthened it. Matija Nastasić was also missed in the Welsh capital but whenever Kompany is out the Citizens begin to defend like a promoted novices in the top flight. They were five points adrift of Manchester United when Kompany suffered an injury in January, and the gap widened to a yawning 15-point chasm when he returned in March.

Javi GarcĂ­a's presence at centre-back advertised City's frailties and their defeat will almost certainly intensify the club's efforts to sign a new centre-back. Fortunately, they face Hull City on Saturday before the two-week international break.


Daniel Sturridge was hardly an enigma but he was treated as such by Manchester City and, to a greater extent, Chelsea. The 23-year-old's ability has rarely been in question but his erratic decision-making left him vulnerable to being discarded on a whim.

At Liverpool, he is playing at a lower level, which has allowed him a measure of consistency. For now, they are not title contenders and they are not playing in the Champions League, which has aided Sturridge's superb start to life at Anfield. He has scored 14 goals in 16 games - seven in six since Luis Suárez's suspension began.

Sturridge made it two in two for the season

Brendan Rodgers' first six months at Liverpool are a distant and unwanted memory for Reds, a period synonymous with £15 million for Joe Allen, Fabio Borini, an opening day nightmare at West Brom and 1-3 home defeats. This calendar year, he has bought sensibly and inexpensively and his faith in Sturridge is commendable. Sturridge has laid down a marker for signings since he arrived and, omitting 32-year-old Kolo Touré, the average age of Philippe Coutinho, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and SImon Mignolet when they signed is 23. Sturridge has set the bar high, though.


Continuing BT Sport's trend to deliberately antagonise viewers, Jake Humphrey said Arsenal "won't have any easier games" this season after their 3-1 win at Craven Cottage. The Gunners were deserved winners but Fulham could be forgiven for wondering how the scoreline ended up looking so routine.

Fulham were the more impressive side even at 0-1 down Arsenal should have scored more with their counter-attacks. Their decision-making, symbolised by Theo Walcott, reprieved their porous hosts, who amateurishly over-committed in attack as Arsenal contentedly sat back.

Arsenal should have scored more against a porous Fulham side

Martin Jol has brought in Darren Bent and Adel Taarabt to complement mavericks Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan RuĂ­z but has forgotten about the defence. The underrated Maarten Stekelenberg, injured for Arsenal's visit, is not ample defensive cover and the signing of Scott Parker to supposedly shield the back four is destined to fail. Ironically (or unsurprisingly?), Parker was handier in attack.

Fulham are fun to watch under Jol and that will continue this season thanks to how unbalanced and carefree a squad theirs is. Shahid Khan might not tolerate it for too long, though.


It was that uneventful a weekend that Marouane Chamakh deserves some acclaim for his goal at Stoke City. Very few strikers commit a defender, leaving them prone, but the Moroccan did so and humiliated Ryan Shawcross before coolly finishing past Asmir Begovic. Strikers really should be more cerebral in the area.