30/09/2013 05:42 BST

Manchester United Lack Hunger And More: 5 Premier League Talking Points

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28: Saido Berahino (2nd right) of West Bromwich Albion celebrates with team mates after scoring his sides second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on September 28, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The Premier League is well underway now as West Brom recorded their first win at Old Trafford since the Three Degrees ran riot in December 1978 and Aston Villa brilliantly rallied to beat Manchester City without Christian Benteke.

Here are five talking points from the weekend...


When David Moyes petulantly complained about United's start to the season he could not have imagined it would be compounded by a home defeat to West Brom. Languishing in 12th, with just two wins and without a goal from open play since the opening day of the campaign, United's start resembles many Everton experienced under the Scot.

However he has been let down in the boardroom and on the pitch. An inexplicably incompetent display in the transfer market has preceded some woeful performances from individuals whose hunger should be questioned.

Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick boast 11 Premier League titles between them and suddenly look comfortable with that amount. Both suffer from the luxury of knowing there is not enough competition for their starting berths and both are out of contract in under a year.

Their dips in form are not a patch on the disgraceful Anderson, who still looks overweight but still gets games because of the dearth of midfield options. Add Phil Jones' incongruous presence at right-back and the competition winner Alexander Büttner on the opposite flank and it is easy to see why a worthy West Brom side won at Old Trafford.

United publish satire


Sunday lunchtime's encounter between Stoke and Norwich was not the most reassuring of televised fixtures and so it proved, as Jonny Howson's 34th minute goal was enough for the Canaries' first win in nearly a month.

Mark Hughes has changed Stoke's approach but the manner of their defeat was as concerning as it was unsurprising. Stoke had one shot on target in the whole game and when you consider their striking options their pitiful second-half effort felt quite natural.

Jones and his fellow strikers are too impotent for Stoke

Their strikers, Kenwyne Jones, Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters, struck a meagre 24 goals between them last season and Stoke were second lowest scorers behind QPR.

Jones has hit three this season and Crouch has one, but they came against Walsall and Tranmere in the Capital One Cup.


Crystal Palace Ian Holloway has impersonated Neil Warnock expertly this season but on Saturday he changed tack and condemned one of his own players, Marouane Chamakh, for diving.

"Chamakh looks like he's dived there to be honest, which I'm not too happy about," Holloway told BBC Sport. "He went over far too easily."

Chamakh declined to have an attempt at scoring

What is most perplexing about the Moroccan's failed attempt at cheating was that he passed up the chance of scoring with the score goalless. Such muddled thinking thickens the gloom around Selhurst Park, as the Eagles failed to take off again.


Fernando Torres' (attempted?) scratch on Jan Vertonghen was spiteful and puerile but it is debatable whether such an act warrants a red card. He was yellow-carded and Chelsea fans will argue it was just good to see some gumption from their toothless striker, and as José Mourinho opined, "This is England."


Mourinho's point was that such niggly incidents are ridiculed in this supposedly macho country, unlike on the continent. What Vertonghen did - feigning injury in an attempt to get an opponent sent off - was deceitful and "disgraceful", as Mourinho said, and however inept Mike Dean's officiating was he had been convincingly duped by the Belgian.


Rarely a week passes by without Joe Hart emerging from a match culpable for an opponent's goal. His decision to rush out to confront Aston Villa's Andreas Weimann was destined to end unhappily for the England goalkeeper, whose form has regressed since a jittery European Championship.

Hart's form has failed to pick up in the last 12 months

Hart lacks competition at international and club level, though Manuel Pellegrini could be forgiven for selecting Costel Pantilimon, who thrived in last year's FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea and is a steadier presence than he is given credit for.

The Romanian is an inferior goalkeeper than Hart but taking the former Shrewsbury stopper out of the firing line might benefit him in the long-term.