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Saturday Night Takeaways: Mourinho will live and die by Rooney, Koeman teaches Everton how to defend

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

20:26 27 Aug 2016

It is still too early to fully understand the identities of all 20 Premier League sides and with another four days of transfer window activity, a lot can change but there are some trends emerging after our third Saturday of action in the top flight.

As Chelsea continue their unbeaten start to the season along with Manchester United, Everton are compiling a nice start for themselves and Eden Hazard seems to have returned to the player who won the Player of the Year title in two seasons ago.

Mourinho will live and die with Rooney on the field

Manchester United struggled to break down Hull City, who sat deeper as the game went on in the hope of catching the visitors on the break. Much of United's problems came from a lack of creativity and speed to get in behind Hull on the few occasions that they did push forward enough to be exploited.

Anthony Martial has gotten off to a slow start this season and he was replaced by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata, who has been exceptional this year so far, was replaced by the game-changing Marcus Rashford.

Rooney was only taken off deep into injury time in an effort to kill more time on the clock and bring in an extra defender in Chris Smalling.

As it turns out, Mourinho made the right decision as Rooney was the catalyst for United's goal as he bolted down the end line before setting up Rashford for a tap in.

What we learned from this is that Jose Mourinho is sticking with Wayne Rooney no matter what. His passing was sloppy in the first half and he was ineffectual in the second half until the goal but he has Mourinho's trust and there doesn't seem to be any changing the new United managers' mind.

This tweet pretty much sums up Rooney's performance but in games against bigger sides, will United still be in with a shout with five minutes to go. 

Koeman has already improved Everton

There was a general sense of upset amongst Everton fans when Ronald Koeman declared his squad was only 70% fit at the start of the season. A dig at the previous regime perhaps or a message to the fans and the media to keep expectations low but Ronald Koeman has already made the Toffees a better team than last year.

Cast your memory back to March 5th when Romalu Lukaku and Aaron Lennon had given Roberto Martinez' side a lead at home that they surely could not lose.

Within the space of 12 minutes, Michel Antonio, Diafro Sakho and Dmitri Payet had scored to give the visitors a 3-2 lead that was simply could not be forgiven.

WIth Koeman at the helm, it seems Everton can now defend! Whether Everton finish in the top four, or even six, remains to be seen but Toffee fans will be happy with this little facet of the Dutch managers hiring.

2014-15 Eden Hazard is back

Footballers don't just lost their magic overnight and while it did seem like Eden Hazard did last year, there was clearly something else at play that prevented the Belgian from reaching the heights he is capable of.

Chelsea fans will be delighted with Hazard's goal against Burnley, which was a throwback to a time when he was really, really good. He swallowed up ground on the counter and struck low and hard to give Conte's men a lead they would never relinquish on Saturday afternoon.

As Manchester United (Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan) and Manchester City (Gundogan, Stones, Nolito) improve on the field, Chelsea already have many of the pieces they need in order to compete for domestic and European honours this year.

They currently lead the Premier League and have won three in three under Conte with Hazard, Diego Costa and Michy Batsuayi in fine form.

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