Four games in to the Premier League season and it seems Manchester is the place to be. The red and the blue half of the city are currently occupying the top two places in the league and both have won their opening four games emphatically. Saturday evening, Manchester United beat Bolton 5-0, two weeks before they beat Arsenal 8-2 – that’s thirteen goals in two games. Between them they’ve found the back of the net 33 times.
That 5-0 victory over Bolton was the Red Devils’ second away victory of the season – last season United had to wait until New Years Day to achieve this. It’s clear that this is a more ruthless, a more hungry and an even more youthful Manchester United. In the game against Spurs, the starting XI had an average age of just 23 – the second youngest team fielded since the start of the Premier League, and they’ve already begun to evoke memories of the club’s golden generation from the 1990s.
A great deal has been made about David De Gea’s shaky start to life in the Premier League, but according to OptaJoe he has made more saves than any other keeper in the league – 22 in total. Phil Jones has settled in almost immediately and looks an accomplished figure at either centre-back or right-back. Injuries are something which seems to continually blight the Red Devils defence, but even with injuries to Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Rafael – Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and the aforementioned Jones slotted it with ease to cover.
Wesley Sneijder was constantly linked with a move to Old Trafford throughout the summer, but as is the norm with Sir Alex Ferguson he has chosen to keep the faith with youth, and after a very successful loan spell at Wigan last season, Tom Cleverley looks to be the heir to the Paul Scholes throne – though he has now been ruled out for four weeks with a foot injury, luckily it is not as serious as first thought. Danny Welbeck suffered a hamstring injury against Arsenal, but such is the strength in depth at United, last season’s star performer – Javier Hernandez immediately stepped into his place against Bolton and grabbed his first two goals of the season.
Wayne Rooney continues his remarkable turnaround of fortunes having scored back to back hat-tricks against Arsenal and Bolton. What a difference 12 months makes. A year ago he was a frustrated figure, now he is ruthless in front of goal, but not just that his overall work rate has improved dramatically. Eight, yes eight – goals after four games represents half the amount of goals he scored in the whole of last season – and just three goals of the 11 he scored in the entirety for the Premier League season. He didn’t hit eight goals until after April Fool’s Day.
The Red Devils have by far completed the best start to a season since the Premier League was formed in 1992 – but one caveat, four games do not make a season – there is still 34 games left to play, however if you are a fan of either Manchester club the 23rd of October is a date to mark in your diary.