Manchester City winger Jesus Navas has warned the Premier League pace-setters not to get complacent after their blistering start to the season.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have surged to the top of the table with three wins from their opening three matches and the swaggering manner of their performances suggests City are back to their best after tamely surrendering the title to Chelsea last season.
With Raheem Sterling bedding in nicely after his move from Liverpool and a big-money deal for Wolfsburg’s Belgium playmaker Kevin de Bruyne reportedly close to completion, City are assembling an awesome array of attacking talent that could leave rest of the top tier trailing in their wake.
The leaders are firm favourites to maintain their flying start when they host promoted Watford on Saturday, but Spain international Navas is well aware of the dangers of underestimating a team who have drawn all three of their league matches so far.
“It is not only that we have won these three games, it is that we didn’t concede any goals and we created a lot of chances. We are really happy,” Navas said.
“But we need to keep the same attitude, working really well defensively and also creating a lot of chances. That is the way to win more games this season.”
Like City, Liverpool, who host West Ham on Saturday, were disappointing last season as they followed a second place finish in 2013-14 by slipping down to sixth.
But, while City have recaptured the enterprising style that made them champions two years ago, Liverpool have focused on solidifying a defence that proved so porous over the last 12 months.
The early signs are promising for boss Brendan Rodgers as new full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez have helped third placed Liverpool keep three consecutive clean-sheets and take seven points from a possible nine.
“For two guys that have just arrived at the club, where the expectation level will be way above what they’ve experienced before, they already look as though they’ve been here a long, long time,” Liverpool assistant coach Gary McAllister said.
“Nathaniel obviously has already made it through to the England set-up and Joe Gomez has in the younger age groups, but they both look as though they will go on to play (regularly) at that level comfortably.”
Buoyed by Wayne Rooney’s return to form with a hat-trick in their midweek Champions League play-off round demolition of Club Brugge, fourth placed Manchester United can focus on the title race now their European progress is assured.
United, unbeaten in the league so far, will need Rooney at his best if they are to mount a sustained title challenge, so it was a major boost to see the England striker end his 878-minute scoring drought ahead of Sunday’s trip to Swansea.
“I wasn’t worried, if it was going on for three, four, five games more then maybe so but it’s early days and I knew when the chances came I’d take them,” Rooney said.
“As a striker obviously you want to score, everybody goes back to last season and it was so many games without scoring, but a lot of top quality strikers are yet to get off the mark at this stage.”
With one win from their first three games, Chelsea find themselves in the unfamiliar position of languishing in mid-table, well below Saturday’s opponents Crystal Palace, who visit Stamford Bridge in fifth place.
But spirits have soared at the Bridge following the impressive debut display of Pedro Rodriguez, who marked his arrival from Barcelona by scoring one and setting up another in Chelsea’s maiden victory of the season at West Bromwich Albion.
Crucially, the presence of Pedro in Chelsea’s attack should open up more space for Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard, who had made a subdued start to the season.
“Pedro’s arrival is good for Eden. Whenever Eden got the ball before, you knew that two or three players would go with him to try to stop him,” Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said.
“Now we have Pedro, the defenders can’t just stay with Eden because they will know the other side is free for him to exploit.”