Archive for August 26th, 2010

What We Learned From Prem Week 2

Still Early Days, But It’s Taking On A Familiar Feel

Difficult to say we learned anything from Arsenal vs Blackpool, except possibly how utterly forlorn Wigan are. Blackpool were completely out of their depth and performed about as well as a bunch of practice ground dummies as Arsenal pretty passed and tikki takked their way around them. Rosicky was commanding in the number 10 role just in front of Blackpool’s defence and Theo Wallchart took full advantage of their lack of pace and understanding. 6 – 0 didn’t flatter Arsenal, but somehow neither did it make them appear totally dominant in a cruel, kill the opposition off and leave them to die sort of way.

Wigan meanwhile were well on their way to achieving their goal of continuing to look even less likely to stay up than Blackpool. Apparently they held their own against Chelsea for a good half hour before being comprehensively run over by the Chelski juggernaut.  Drogba looked back to his old, club self and once they had scored, Chelsea never looked like getting less than a hatful.

Man U proved what we’ve all suspected for a while, that Fulham at home are a tough team to beat. In a man of the match performance Brede Hengerland, who’d previously stated that he didn’t like getting noticed, scored at both ends, his final goal an outstanding header to deprive Man U of two points.

Man City showed us nothing special, there still doesn’t seem to be a coherent team there, but they were still more than enough for them to turn over Liverpool, who look like a team requiring major surgery to get back to their old top four status. I can see both struggling to find a consistent run of form, let alone a consistent team. Liverpool don’t have the cash to invest at present, while Man City have too much to be sensible and with Mancini’s play it safe away from home philosophy, they might have a tough time nicking that top four space from Spurs.

If last season was their breakthrough season, qualification for the Champions League being the equivalent of being promoted to the Prem, then this season is critical for Spurs. They have to get into the group stages and stay in the top four to begin to reap the benefits of last year’s hard work. Based on their defeat of Stoke, they look to be a good attacking team certainly capable of challenging for the top four, but with ‘Arry’s preference for a 4 – 4 – 2 lineup they may have problems in the Big Cup.

Aston Villa by contrast are looking more and more like one of them yo-yo sides. One week they put on a good show, the next they’re torrid. And you can’t put it down simply to the loss of Milner. They were simply awful defensively against Newcastle, who like Blackpool are showing that the best in last year’s Championship can take the rubbish Prem sides relatively easily. You feel that if Villa were to lose against Rapid Vienna and be eliminated from the Little Cup, then their season would effectively be over and it wouldn’t even be the end of August.

Birmingham and Blackburn played yet another one of those Why-The-Fuck-Are-They-In-The-Prem matches featuring two teams whose football is based on ‘character’ rather than any display of skill or attractiveness. Like the ugly girls at the disco, they’re always there being picked up last of all by the Match of the Day crew.

You could say much the same about Sunderland, who look every bit as ghastly as a Steve Bruce team can be, and Wolves, who still haven’t managed to get a competent goal scorer. Admittedly both West Brom and Everton look like they might show a bit of promise on a good day, while bizarrely Bolton look like they might break with their tradition of lumpen prole play and actually pass it around a bit.

Finally West Ham are this year’s Team That’s Too Good To Go Down. They aim to eliminate any credit Avram Grant got for taking Chelski to the Big Cup final all those years ago.