By Jake Crouse, Copy Editor
The 2015-2016 Barclays Premier League season began in unexpected fashion: a deflection off the leg of Spurs defender Kyle Walker gave Manchester United a quick three points. The next four weeks played out in an equally unexpected manner.
Fans anticipated shake-ups in the league after summer trade negotiations moved a number of league stars around. Perhaps the biggest news of the summer was Liverpool’s loss of young star forward Raheem Sterling to Manchester City. In his last two seasons with Liverpool, Sterling, who is only 20, tallied 22 goals in 90 appearances. His former club still has a lot of reason to cheer, acquiring veteran winger James Milner from Manchester City, a player who many analysts believe will bring stability and experience to the squad.
Some international footballers were given their first chances in the Premier League this trading period. Manchester City was able to nab Belgian winger Kevin De Bruyne, who helped Wolfsberg reach second place in the Bundesliga with 16 goals last season. Former Marseille standout Andre Ayew was acquired by Swansea, and has already contributed three goals in four appearances this season to propel his team into the fourth spot on the league table.
However, no one could have predicted how much the table would deviate from last season after the first four games. As expected, Manchester City (4-0-
0) used its major acquisitions to catapult the team to the top spot. Spots two and three, though, were occupied by Crystal Palace and Leicester City, two teams who were in danger of relegation throughout much of the 2014- 2015 season.
Despite losing to Arsenal in its second game, Crystal Palace (3-1-0) has been on the offensive with eight goals in four games and a 2-1 victory over defending league champion Chelsea. The squad will face Manchester City in week five for its toughest test this season. Leicester City (2-0- 2) has had an easier schedule, but showed strong scoring ability in its four goal appearance against Sunderland to open the season.
Even more surprising to many than the rise of Crystal Palace and Leicester City is the lack of brilliance displayed by Chelsea (1-2-1), who currently occupies the 13th spot on the league table. Chelsea lost only one of its consistent starters this summer in left back Luis and made up for this loss by signing young attacking fullback Baba Rahman, who made more successful tackles during the 2014-2015 Bundesliga season than any other player.
Fans are expecting the Blues to rise in the league table in the coming weeks, as well as Manchester United and Arsenal, but as the rankings stands now, this should be a wild season for football.