In this recurring segment our lead soccer correspondent, Nick Verlaney, takes a look at the Premier League action from the previous week with three big takeaways.
1. Best Eleven: (3-5-2)
- Goalkeeper: Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace)
- Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Paul Konchesky (Leicester), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)
- Midfielders: Angel Di Maria (Manchester United), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Christian Eriksen (Spurs)
- Forwards: Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Diego Costa (Chelsea)
2. Biggest Takeaway: Costa in 7th heaven. After his hat-trick against Swansea, it is clear that Diego Costa is already adjusted to life in the Premier League. His combination of pace, power and finishing is providing Chelsea with precisely the spark that they missed last season. None of Costa’s seven goals thus far have been spectacular by any means, but he is in the right places at the right times and puts the ball on frame. His work rate is already endearing him to Chelsea fans.
3. Bold Question: Are Villa for real? With 10 points through 4 matches, Aston Villa are sitting in 2nd place in the league. They just signed manager Paul Lambert to an extension through 2018 and have a ton of young talent coming through the ranks at the right time. They have achieved all of this without star striker Christian Benteke, who is close to returning. Even with the club being put up for sale by Randy Lerner, Villa look like they could finish mid-table this season, which is an achievement considering they were almost relegated last season.
What’s next? Below are the fixtures of the weekend, highlighted by Manchester City v. Chelsea on Sunday.