Cardiff City, the minnow club promoted to the top flight this season, taught new Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini an early lesson in his first season in the Premier League. After beating Newcastle United comprehensively at home on opening day, Pellegrini probably expect a similar result in Wales – especially when Edin Dzeko put them ahead early in the second half. But there were some unexpected twists to come.
It was a former Manchester United academy player in Fraizer Campbell that turned the game in Cardiff City’s favor. Campbell assisted Aron Gunnarsson to make it 1-1 then stunned the visitors by heading home another two from corners. Álvaro Negredo grabbed one back for Manchester City in the suspiciously generous six minutes of added time but it was too little, too late as the Blue Moons lost their first league game of the season. Pellegrini blamed two poor defensive reads for the loss, but a club with the money and power of Manchester City will expect far better in the coming weeks.
The first genuine blockbuster of the new season was staged at Old Trafford on Monday night between Manchester United and Chelsea but the game didn’t live up to expectation as it ended in a tame 0-0 draw. In-fact, it was the team-sheet that proved more interesting than the score-sheet. Wayne Rooney, who is involved in a transfer saga between the two clubs, was in the United line-up and showed great professionalism with a largely impressive performance. But both teams paid too much attention to shape, organization and frustrating one another to come away with the win.
There is one more week to go before the transfer window closes on 2 September and we expect some frenetic activity from several top clubs. Arsenal is back on track with two wins in a row against Fenerbahçe and Aston Villa but the Gunners are still desperately searching for reinforcements to alleviate a crippling injury toll. Tottenham Hotspur beat Swansea 1-0 at home with Roberto Soldado’s penalty proving the difference. But they are about to farewell Real Madrid-bound Gareth Bale and will be hoping upcoming players such as Roma Winger Eric Lamela can fill the void. Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge once again scored the only goal for the Reds to help them to a 1-0 win against Aston Villa. But even two wins from two starts won’t make Brendan Rodgers happy with several marquee signings slipping through his fingers – the latest being Brazilian Willian. The Reds are now in talks with Chelsea in the hope of a loan deal for winger Victor Moses.