Archive for September 3rd, 2012

Football: Prem 2012 Week 3

Still Too Early For All That Anaylsis

Still too early to really bother to actually have a table, but here it is.

The problem with this part of the season is that it’s too much like foreplay. You’ve spent ages getting to the bedroom, ripping your clothes off and getting all tactile. It’s great and everything you remember, but really, deep down, you want to get onto the main event. Post-match analysis at this point, however attractive, is somewhat counter-productive.

So as we see a Man U side storm away from their early season defeat at Everton with something of a hailstorm of goals from Robin Van Persie (where had he been hiding all these years?), as Chelsea continue to fascinate with a rejuvenated midfield and another exciting new striker, one Fernando Torres, as Man City combine steam-roller imperialism with cack-handed defending, it’s oh-so tempting to begin to review the season so far.

And, yes, there are some slivers of certainty beginning to emerge. Stoke‘s inexplicable purchase of Charlie Adam and loan signing of Michael Owen show that, finally, hubris has captivated Tony Pulis, while QPR‘s purchase of every unsigned Premiership has-been reveals that, despite himself, Mark Hughes cannot change the habits of a lifetime. It’s as if neither of them has been told that transfers can go down as well as up.

Meanwhile, over at Liverpool, they have managed to turn what was always going to be a difficult transition period into one of utter chaos. They finally offload Andy Carroll to his spiritual home alongside Fat Sam Allerdyce and his former curfew supervisor Kevin Nolan, but mysteriously fail to actually sign anyone to replace him (although given the vitriol they received the last time they offloaded a striker and bought a replacement, can you blame them?). Then their manager gets a bit snippy, their board publish an open letter to fans saying, in effect, it’s all the old regime’s fault and we’re not putting in any more money, and they embark on their worst start to a season since records began. If that’s not a cue for a season of comedy capers I don’t know what is.

Those Games In Full

Arsenal must be delighted. Their 0-2 win away to Liverpool saw them begin to solidify their new side – far faster than they managed to solidify last year’s new side. Like Everton they seem to be getting more adept at the annual rebuilding malarky. Not only that, but Liverpool’s hilarious failings have moved the spotlight away from another season of selling not one, but two of their best players. Given their success last year, imagine what Arsène Wenger could do with a settled side, which he could build on. The midfield of Diaby, Cazorla and Arteta looked excellent and cut Liverpool to pieces.

Man U‘s purchase of Van Persie and Kagawa seems to be inspired. The two have hit it off and there are goals aplenty. However, just as with Everton, their 3-2 win over Southampton was typical Man U, with a hattrick for their striker, but with goals in the 87th and 90th minute. Southampton must wonder what they have to do to actually get a point.

Man City relived their famous last season championship winning game against QPR. And while the latter weren’t as provocatively rubbish as last time, they were still overwhelmed by the champions. And you could forgive them a bit given Hughesey had signed 12 new boys since the two last met on the final day of last season. City’s 3-1 win might not have been beautiful, but it was comprehensive.

Swansea appeared to get a bit of a nosebleed, given their high position in the table. A home game against Sunderland should have been a bit of a home banker, but the latter’s recruitment of Steven Fletcher seems to have given them the desire to actually get past the half way line. A case of Swansea playing poorly and Sunderland overreaching themselves resulted in a 2-2 draw.

Like Sunderland, Stoke‘s ambition seems to be limited to avoiding defeat away. They really are poor. Even against a Wigan side that appears to have rediscovered their usual early season form of ‘disaster mode’, they failed to do more than the minimum required. 2-2 really flattered the away side.

Another team facing a sense of deja vu are Spurs, only their search for times past seems to encompass both manager Villas-Boas’ poor start last year with Chelsea and Spurs’ own disastrous period under Juande Ramos. Still they’ve signed some really good players in Dembele, Vertongen, Lloris and Dempsey, and retained Adebayor (in the sense that he’s now a Spurs player, but Man City have paid all his wages), so they should be OK. Quite how they then let Norwich back into the game and a 1-1 draw is uncertain. Crap defence is the most obvious answer.

Fulham must be praying the transfer window closes soon. They’ve already lost Dembele and Dempsey, so like Arsenal, they appear to be significantly weakened. However, unlike the gunners, they haven’t recruited effectively and don’t travel well anyway. So an away trip at West Ham was never going to be easy. Add to that the appearance of Andy Carroll for the Hammers and it was a defeat waiting to happen. 3-0 pretty much says it all for Fulham.

West Brom continue their excellent home form. 2-0 against a very strong Everton is an excellent result, although Everton were a shade of the team that really took the game to Man U earlier this season. New manager Steve Clarke seems to be continuing Roy Hodgson’s good work, although this has to be a reality check for David Moyes.

Another team facing a bit of a reality check are Newcastle. Fresh from a European outing away in Greece, they looked a bit jaded as they faced an Aston Villa side that actually looked like they wanted to pass the ball, albeit to get the ball out wide for someone to lump in to the big man. Still even that has to be better than the shite served up last season by McCleish.