Sharman’s 3 thoughts: Brighton turning heads early on

James Sharman and Craig Forrest get us set for another marquee Premier League matchup this weekend, as Chelsea hosts Manchester City.

Ahead of every weekend this season I will give you my three thoughts on what’s going on in the Premier League. These might not always be the biggest stories, but rather my personal observations as the games approach each Saturday.

Here’s what makes me somewhat intrigued ahead of Matchday 7.

Aguero’s off-day exploits a sign of the times

I’m not suggesting there was anything untoward about Sergio Aguero being involved in a car crash while hanging out in Amsterdam. But the fact that his manager Pep Guardiola had no problem with his star striker’s off-day exploits really shows you how much the game has changed.  

Pep, arguably the best in the business, believes in training less and recharging the mind through relaxation. I wonder how Sir Alex Ferguson would have reacted if one of his players suffered a similar fate?

Back to Aguero, though. I did some digging (Googling) and it turns out he was not in Amsterdam to sample café culture, but instead to see a concert by a Colombian artist named Maluma. 

As far as I can tell, Maluma is utterly dreadful, although he does have a knack of making music videos watchable, albeit with the sound off. Perhaps I am showing my age here, but the most disappointing part of this story is that the Premier League has lost one of its top stars for a few weeks because of bad music. A true tragedy.
 

Watch five games from the Premier League this weekend live on Sportsnet, including Manchester City vs. Stoke City and Watford vs. Arsenal. Coverage begins Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Loss of Benteke a crushing blow for Palace

While Manchester City has the depth to cover a player as brilliant as Aguero, the same cannot be said for Crystal Palace.  Just when you thought that things could not get any worse for Palace, news comes that Christian Benteke is lost for six to eight weeks due to a knee injury.  

Palace have zero points, and have scored zero goals through the first six matches of the season. 

Benteke has been poor this year, although he has received zero service, but come on, give this club a break! Manchester United host Palace on Saturday, then they have to play Chelsea. Exactly who, if not Benteke, is going to break the duck for Roy Hodgson’s side?  

Consider this: the last side to go eight or more games without a goal was, wait for it, Crystal Palace back in 1994-95.  That season Palace only scored 34 goals, finished fourth from the bottom, but due to the Premier League streamlining to 20 teams, they were still relegated. They did make it to the semifinals of both Cup competitions, however, so all was not lost. 

Brighton turning heads early on

The soccer crew here at Sportsnet will be up early on Sunday morning as we bring you Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Arsenal. I am not complaining, as I actually quite enjoy the early kickoffs, and this match is pretty intriguing. 

Arsenal, who are everyone’s favourite whipping boy, has actually strung together a decent run of form. In fact, since that 4-0 loss to Liverpool, they have gone unbeaten in six, including a win against BATE Borisov in the Europa League this week.  Alexandre Lacazette is looking to be a clever signing, and even Jack Wilshere is earning plaudits.  

Brighton, meanwhile, appear to be a well-coached side that ended Newcastle United’s good run last week, and in midfielder Solly March they have a player who is worth the ticket price. March has been superb in an attacking role for much of the season, but he has also found himself excelling in a more defensive role when manager Chris Hughton decides that is what is needed. Against Arsenal’s flying wingbacks, it’ll be interesting to see where March is deployed.