Manchester United’s new ray of hope and Chelsea’s goal machine

Manchester, Southampton and Chelsea got off to a good start after the EPL resumed post the Int'l break

Updated: September 15, 2014 4:38:36 pm

With the fourth round of fixtures now complete, indianexpress.com takes a look at the three major talking points from the weekend: –

Angel, a fairy tale delight for Red Devils

Di Maria's brilliant goal was perhaps the sign of things to come for the Red Devils. (Source: Reuters) Di Maria’s brilliant goal was perhaps the sign of things to come for the Red Devils. (Source: Reuters)

Louis Van Gaal tasted success for the first time as Manchester United manager last night, as his new-look side disposed off a disjointed Queens Park Rangers 4-0 at Old Trafford. All of the four debutants put on a good showing; however, it was Angel Di Maria’s performance that enthralled the home fans.

Fresh from his exploits for Argentina, the ex-Real Madrid wingers’ speed, trickery and directness made him a constant menace down the right side of QPR’s defence. Not only did he open the scoring from a dead ball, but was also responsible for setting up goals for Ander Herrera and Juan Mata. Even though his performance brought about moments of good fortune, the speedster was rewarded for his overall work-rate and positivity.

While his 60 million fee may have raised many eyebrows, it is certain that United have acquired a world-class talent who is going to have a lasting impact in their push for a Champions League spot.

The return of the 4-4-2-diamond formation worked well for the home side, as they looked like the United of old; quick passing and movement being fundamental to the style of play. The fans will be hopeful the positive performance and clean sheet spells the end of the ill-fated 3-5-2 formation; and Van Gaal chooses to use this formation in future.

Chelsea finally has a genuine finisher

Diego Costa's good run continued at Stamford Bridge against (Source: AP) Diego Costa’s is proving to be Chelsea’s answer to a central striker, something that they didn’t have for a while. (Source: AP)

On Saturday evening, Diego Costa confirmed his status as Chelsea’s new hero with his first hat trick against a good Swansea side. He now has seven goals in 4 games from 14 shots. This is in stark contrast to Fernando Torres who took 43 shots to register as many goals.

Even though most of his goals have been ‘poachers goals’ – Costa has a lot more to offer to the side than being in the right place at the right time. His forward runs are a delight for midfielders such as Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard, and his never-ending work-rate is  there for all to see.

Fabregas became the first player to claim six assists from 6 games, while new signing, Loic Remy also managed to score on his debut for the club.

Jose Mourinho tried to downplay Costa’s goal-ratio in the post match interview by saying, ‘It is not normal’. However, in Costa, Chelsea has finally added the missing piece to their striker conundrum – Costa is a lethal finisher who could very well be the defining aspect of their campaign.

Southampton going strong despite mass exodus

(Source: AP) Southampton comprehensively beat New Castle at St. Mary’s. (Source: AP)

Ronald Koeman has disposed off all the negativity surrounding the sale of star players in the offseason, as his side lies comfortably in fourth position after four games. The 4-0 drubbing of Newcastle at St. Mary’s heaped more pressure on manager Alan Pardew’s future, who is likely to be the next manager to be sacked.

As a matter of fact, the south coast club’s new side is actually beginning to look stronger than Pochettino’s team of last season. The signings of Graziano Pelle – who now has three goals in 2 games, and Dusan Tadic, appear inspired; while loan signings, Ryan Bertrand and Toby Alderweireld have added quality and sturdiness to a defence that has kept two clean sheets so far.

Koeman has hit the right balance to his squad, and it looks as though his team will be a thorn in the sides of the top teams that visit St. Mary’s this season.

(Written by Saahil Mehta)
(Tweets at @saahilmehta8)

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