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 5.
Aguero and Jesus: Yin and yang
Somewhere out there, there is a brilliant joke waiting to be told about Sergio Aguero finally accepting (Gabriel) Jesus into his life, and finding peace and harmony in his existence. Sadly, Aguero has been very public with his devout faith for a number of years, making any such joke a little disingenuous. Let’s just say that these two strikers have been lethal when paired together, and they appear to be Pep Guardiola’s preferred choice now for Manchester City. In seven starts together, each player has six goals.
They are the yin to each other’s yang. How times change. It was assumed by many that last year’s arrival of Jesus and his fantastic start to life in the Premier League would spell the end of Aguero’s stint at City, a stint that saw him become the most feared goal scorer in the league.
Well, as early as it is, and regardless of whether Aguero is one dimensional or multi-dimensional, he and Jesus have found some magic together this season. Last week’s unselfish dish by Aguero to Jesus in City’s win over Liverpool stood out as the mark of a man who is happy to reinvent himself. It appears Gabriel Jesus is Sergio Aguero’s redeemer in the eyes of Pep.
Rooney returns to Old Trafford
Wayne Rooney back to Old Trafford on Sunday, now as an Everton player, eh? So far we have seen controversial figures Alexis Sanchez return to Arsenal, and Philippe Coutinho return to Liverpool. Virgil van Dijk looks set to return to Southampton this weekend as well. Of course, all three of those players are still with their clubs after failing to orchestrate summer transfer moves.
I make these comparisons to Rooney as they are all controversial figures, and Rooney, for all his brilliance as Manchester United player, will always be seen as a controversial figure. After all, he was able to hold up Sir Alex Ferguson for more money on two occasions while threatening to join rivals Manchester City.
Rooney achieved more at his former team than the aforementioned trio of players achieved combined at all their clubs, and then some. Therefore, I suspect he will be met with great fanfare when his Everton take to the field. Yet, there does seem to be something missing with his relationship with the fans. Rooney will never be a Giggs, Scholes, Charlton, Best or even a Beckham. He will be remembered, he is a legend, but there will always be that asterisk beside his name.
Hodgson to the rescue at Palace
Here is a prediction for you: Roy Hodgson will lead Crystal Palace to a mid-table finish this season.
In an era when bullying is finally being exposed, I have always been alarmed by how easily the football world has targeted Roy Hodgson over the years – from his speech, to his appearance. Here’s what I do know: Hodgson is as well travelled as any English manager, and has succeeded, while also failing, as any football manager has in the past. Sure, Euro 2016 was a disaster, and he will always be known as the manager who led his team to a loss to Iceland, but maybe, just maybe he can redeem himself at Palace.
This is a very good situation for Hodgson. Palace has plenty of talent, good experience, and with a bit of organization will be competent. The truth is, only a brain cramp of a back pass, and an utterly horrific Scott Dann miss late against Burnley saw Palace pull the plug on Frank De Boer. Crystal Palace will not be in the relegation discussion by season’s end.