This article is part of our Ball Watching series.
Thoughts from Gameweek 4 of the Premier League.
I. I don't know how Aston Villa is in second, either. The Villans are last in shots per game (8.3) and 19th (out of 20) in possession (37.2 percent) and pass success (72.2 percent). That means a team that doesn't shoot, pass, or hold the ball well is winning games. That can't continue – not even with the great Brad Guzan manning the gates.
II. The object known as Manchester United is closer than it appears. The Red Devils are leading the Premier League in possession (61.8 percent) and pass success (87.4 percent), but are mid-table in shots per game (12.3). Something tells me that the addition of Falcao and Angel Di Maria are going to change that. Be afraid, be very afraid.
III. Speaking of the Devils, let's temper the expectations on di Maria. The goal was flukey and they were playing lowly QPR. The most important player on the pitch Sunday was Daley Blind. He was the key man that linked the back line to the likes of Di Maria, Wayne Rooney, and Ander Herrera (whose offensive talents were unlocked with the addition of Blind). Blind completed 107 of his 112 passes (although a large percentage were within 15 yards). Still, he was in the right position to turn Man U's possession into significant possession by linking up with attacking players in the attacking third. However, this translates to zilch in the fantasy realm for the former Ajax man.
IV.Diego Costa is (not) the Truth. I have stated many times on the RotoWire Fantasy Soccer Podcast that I was not on board with the Costa transfer. So far, I have been very wrong, but no one is this good. Costa has seven goals on 14 shots. I don't care how many games you play, you don't score at a 50 percent rate. Remember how goal-happy Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were last season? They had conversion rates of 18 and 20 percent, respectively. The slump will come, and the Brazilian-born Spain international has even said as much. The question is, will anyone else on Chelsea step up to the challenge when it does? So far, I'm not convinced.
V.Morgan Schneiderlin isn't, either: His phenomenal early start, scoring three times in four appearances, will not continue if his role remains the same. The defensive midfielder is scoring at a 43 percent clip and players simply do not keep that rate up (See Diego Costa above). I'm calling this "The Diego Costa Principle"
VI.Victor Moses is looking good. The Nigerian winger hasn't produced a goal or an assist in his two appearances for the Potters, but he has five shots and four key passes. As a bargain midfielder, that pace will lead to solid numbers, and he is obviously a part of Mark Hughes' plans considering he has received 80 and 90 minutes in his first two appearances, respectively.
VII. Hear the Tigers roar. You'd think that Hull were my favorite team when you listen to the podcast, but they really are becoming quite the fierce opponent. Think of it this way: they brought on Gaston Ramirez and Hatem Ben Arfa as subs AFTER they'd already scored twice against a solid defensive side in West Ham. Two other debutants, Mohamed Diame and Abel Hernandez, each netted and the latter also came close to a second but rattled the crossbar. I bet Tom Ince now regrets not going to Inter Milan this summer.
VIII. By The (West Ham)mer of Thor! The addition of Enner Valencia to the Hammers has provided them with a proper No. 9 (even though he wears 31). Not only did he net from an otherworldy hit from 25-yards out, but he was looking dangerous in the box nearly every time he touched the ball Monday. I didn't believe this when I saw it myself, but West Ham completed 387 passes Monday. Don't forget about Stewart Downing and Mauro Zarate, who have also been providing much needed teeth to the Upton Park side.