Monday, 27 August 2012

Premier League Week 2 review

The one thing I hate most about the Premier League and the 24 hour sponsored Sky Sports News coverage, is the need for status and position amongst fans.  After one game, we have to suffer the Premier League table with teams on top based on the fact they scored more goals than other victorious sides.  My belief is that the relegation zone should not be thrust into our screens until the start of December, when the games come thick and fast which can influence the position based on injuries and colder weather.

After the first week, though those happiest with there work obviously were the teams who won, some more convincingly than others; Swansea, Fulham, Everton, West Brom and Chelsea were over the moon; whilst Man City were lucky to get past newly promoted Southampton, with a 3-2 victory but the loss of Sergio Aguero for a suspected month due to a knee injury.

So week 2 is not really week 2 for Chelsea, who played there third weekend game at home to Reading early due to their involvement in the European Super Cup in Monaco on Friday.  After an initial scare and blunder by Petr Cech, Chelsea came back from 2-1 down to win 4-2.

So what else happened this weekend?

1. Chelsea lay down a marker
Okay, Newcastle had less than 48 hours to prepare for this game due to their own European travels.  Yet they came up against a confident Chelsea side, thanks in part due to the creative invention of Eden Hazard who is making everyone look better around him.  Fernando Torres is looking hungry, due to him being top dog and not having to compete with Didier Drogba.  Juan Mata is being given creative licence without doing much with it due to Hazard's great first week in England.  Defensive solidity remains in the form of Gary Cahill in spite of John Terry's neck injury which ruled him out.  Three wins from three is nothing ominous, but is still a good start.

2. Is Rooney's injury a blessing in disguise?
Wayne Rooney suffered a severe gash on his inner right thigh above the knee due to an errant stud by Hugo Rodallega in injury time during Man United's 3-2 win over Fulham.  Rooney started on the bench, as Ferguson granted Robin Van Persie a start on his home debut.  Rooney is set to miss a month of action, including both of England's World Cup qualifiers in September.  Yet for Ferguson, this could be a god send to a side to integrate a new style of forward into the United way without the trouble of rotating and worrying if they can co-exist.  RVP can go about his business, and build up some good links between himself, Ashley Young, Nani and the impressive Shinji Kagawa.

3. Teams refuse to be beaten
West Bromich Albion will consider the first week a great one. Steve Clarke's side followed up their home victory on opening day versus Liverpool with a point at Tottenham thanks to a last minute equaliser by James Morrison that prompted an 11 man bundle in the centre circle, a sign of Baggie resilience and togetherness.  In spite of a torrent of Tottenham attacks from Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe, Spurs could not get the second goal. Clarke threw on Romelu Lukaku whose size and power worried Vertonghen in defence.  This resilience must be instilled by Clarke, a defender himself who refused to be beaten himself as a player, in contrast to Mark Hughes at QPR who has chosen to build his side from the front rather than shore up his leaky, creaky defence.

4. Arsenal are nearly in crisis
Okay, two games and two points would be fine.  You have not lost a game yet, but you have not won a game either.  You seem to be difficult to break down in defence, yet you have not scored a goal either.  The departure of Van Persie was expected, and the tight wad Wenger did spend money on Lukas Podolski and Oliver Giroud as suitable replacements; yet Arsenal seem to miss that creative impetus in their midfield with the continued absence of Jack Wilshere.  Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain is coming on, yet the enigmatic Theo Walcott is again awol without warning.  Due to recent history, a point at Stoke is not bad considering no players were injured, but the lack of goal threat less than last week versus Sunderland will be a worry.  But only a worry if they go to Liverpool and fail to score next week.

5. Liverpool still can self-destruct
Last season, Liverpool endured a terrible season yet they somehow still won a trophy.  The omens are better for this season, Brendan Rodgers has entered hoping to instil the Swansea ethic to Anfield and bringing Joe Allen with him will be a good move.  Rodgers started in coaching with youth, so Raheem Stirling will prosper under him.  Yet Liverpool with all the belief in them in front of the home faithful played very well against the Champions Man City in a 2-2 draw, yet somehow conspired to throw away victory.  A fumble off of Martin Kelly fell to the feet of Yaya Toure to poke home the first equaliser.  Then having regained the lead thanks to Luis Suarez's beautiful free-kick, goalscorer Martin Skrtel played a blind backpass aiming for Pepe Reina which was both soft and off target, except straight to Carlos Tevez's feet who easily rounded the stranded keeper for his 100th PL goal.

6. Laudrup > Rodgers
Michael Laudrup must think this PL lark is easy, considering he has been at the helm for two games, eight goals and none conceded.  Like Rodgers, Swansea keep the ball in possession making it difficult to win the ball of them, then soak up any pressure thrown their way followed by a brisk counter-attack and ruthlessness in front of goal.  Swansea punched above their weight last season, getting goals from many people but in new signing Michu they have a goal-snatcher in the Lineker vein; who can sniff up mistakes or score crackers as well.  The 3-0 victory at home to West Ham was helped by two defensive lapses, yet the dominance was not something you would have seen from Rodgers' side last season.


  1. Nice article mate. It seems that the RVP signing was destiny - Rooney's injury isn't nearly as scary now!

  2. Imagine if RVP hadnt been signed. ManU would have to keep Berbatov, yes the loss doesnt hurt as much