5 things to know about the English Premier League
26 September 2013, 18:28
London -The dust had barely settled on the inquest into Manchester United's loss to Manchester City when the apparent crisis ended. With critics circling after the 4-1 derby setback, David Moyes' side responded by beating Liverpool in the League Cup. With West Bromwich Albion next up on Saturday here are five things to know about this weekend's English Premier League matches:
Just five games out of 38 games have been played in United's Premier League title defense, and the champions are only five points behind pacesetters Arsenal and Tottenham. In reality, it represents the best start by any new United manager since Matt Busby in 1946.
"That is one of the good stats," Moyes said. "I have not had that many good ones. But that is one of the better ones. It is not frustrating. I will sort it. I will fix it. I will turn it round. I have no doubt about that."
Moyes might be looking over with envy at the start made by his former club, with Roberto Martinez's Everton the only Premier League side still unbeaten. And the Merseyside team is two points above United in fifth as it prepares for the visit of Newcastle on Monday.
The pupil is being reunited with his master at White Hart Lane as Andre Villas-Boas faces Jose Mourinho for the first time as a manager. Villas-Boas was on Mourinho's coaching team at Chelsea and Inter Milan before setting out on his own managerial path.
Facing Chelsea brings back bitter memories of Villas-Boas' ill-fated eight-month reign at Chelsea in the 2011-12 season. The Portuguese has rehabilitated his managerial reputation at Tottenham, which is two points above Mourinho's Chelsea and only behind leader Arsenal on goal difference. And Tottenham can boast one of the stingiest defenses in Europe, conceding just one goal in nine league and cup matches so far.
SUNDERLAND: After Paolo Di Canio was fired amid a reported player revolt, the shackles have been lifted at the northeast club. In the first game after his departure — a 2-0 victory in the League Cup over Peterborough — caretaker manager Kevin Ball mobilized a squad reeling from the excesses of Di Canio's 175-day reign.
Former captain Lee Cattermole was brought in from the cold in the convincing win. But it will be far tougher for the newly unified Sunderland squad on Sunday when it hosts a Liverpool side with Luis Suarez back up front following his 10-game biting ban. While Sunderland is stuck at the bottom on one point, Liverpool has made an impressive start, collecting 10 points from four matches before its unbeaten Premier League start ended against Southampton last weekend.
NEWCOMERS' PROGRESS: Crystal Palace is stuck in the relegation zone with just three points heading into Saturday's match at Southampton. And Cardiff is only a couple of points better off as it prepares for a trip to Southampton.
Hull, though, is making steady inroads, sitting mid-table with seven points and West Ham next up on Saturday. In the League Cup, Steve Bruce's Hull is in the last 16 for the first time in 36 years after beating Huddersfield.