Belfast Telegraph

Diego Costa's a smash hit for Chelsea, Van Gaal's title hopes over already

Steven Beacom’s verdict on the weekend football

The fantastic four and the woeful one...

Costa's a smash hit for Chelsea

Everton boss Roberto Martinez insisted Diego Costa needed to learn some respect after Chelsea's £32 million summer signing taunted Seamus Coleman following the Irishman's own goal at Goodison Park. Costa doesn't need many lessons on being a top class centre forward though. He created havoc, scoring twice in a stunning 6-3 victory. Game, set and match to Jose Mourinho's impressive new striker.

Duff follows famous footsteps

Northern Ireland internationals have played a major role in Burnley's history. The great Jimmy McIlroy and brilliant Billy Hamilton are just two to have donned the claret and blue. Good to see the tradition continuing with Michael Duff. He delivered a fine display against Manchester United in Saturday's 0-0 draw, helping Burnley earn their first point of the season.

Monk's prayers are answered

Swansea boss Garry Monk was amongst the favourites to become the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season. I get the feeling he'll last to Christmas at least after the Swans made it nine points out of nine with a comfortable 3-0 victory over WBA. (Note: Baggies boss Alan Irvine may, however, be gone before Santa comes).

Eagle Zaha can soar again

Wilfried Zaha lost his way at Manchester United. Hopefully this gifted boy will find it again now that he's back at Crystal Palace on loan. He certainly started well in his second spell netting a 95th minute equaliser in Saturday's 3-3 draw at Newcastle. Neil Warnock, the Eagles boss once more, can help this unfulfilled talent.

Hart breaks down

Stoke's Mame Biram Diouf deserves credit for his fantastic run and goal that defeated Manchester City, but come on, Joe Hart should never have allowed the low shot to go underneath him and into the net. It was awful goalkeeping from England's number one. Maybe Manuel Pellegrini needs to drop him again...

Sproule’s big boost for Blues

I've always liked Ivan Sproule. Good guy, great pace and a man who, no matter where his football career took him across the water, never forgot his Castlederg roots. On Saturday he hit the winner for Linfield at Dungannon Swifts. Just what the Blues needed after that shock cup defeat to Ballyclare.

LVG’s title hopes over already

Three league games in, Manchester United have only secured two points in what was supposed to be a kind early run of fixtures for Louis van Gaal, who of course led the Netherlands to third place in the World Cup finals.

United don't actually play a top 10 team from last season until October 5 when Everton visit Old Trafford.

Important game that one if United are to have a chance of qualifying for the Europa League next season! Okay, okay, maybe the Red Devils can still make the top four, but believe it, with Saturday's 0-0 draw at Burnley, United's title challenge finished as rampaging Chelsea roared seven points ahead of them. Too far behind already.

Van Gaal will be busy with new signings today, but it'll take him more than one transfer window to sort the current mess out.

Alonso back in a new central

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso made his debut for Bayern Munich at the weekend in a 1-1 draw against Schalke... at centre half. Pep Guardiola has made many inspired decisions as a manager. This could be another one.



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