|photo by barbourians||via PhotoRee|
What with all the excitement of the famed FIFA international break, we practically had to chain ourselves to our desk (that's right, we all share one desk here at Corporate) to hammer out the following piece. Herewith, our semi-lucid thoughts on what's happened so far in the World's Most Exciting LeagueTM:
o Yaya Toure May Be the Most Influential Player in the League: It's no longer a certain diminutive Spaniard who drives the City bus, but a rock hard Ivorian who has become the new measuring stick by which all BPL midfielders are judged. Although he's eminently capable of just sitting back on the pitch to break up opposition play and transition the ball toward City's offensive movement, it's when Roberto Mancini allows Toure the freedom to roam forward that opponents really begin to fret. Toure's already bagged two goals in the team's first three games, and has left the rest of the BPL asking only one question: How do you solve a problem like a Yaya...?
o Liverpool's Not as Bad as Their Record Would Indicate: We're going out on a bit of a limb here, but we don't believe the reds will finish the season in the 18th position in the League table that they currently occupy. 17th place possibly, but definitely not 18th. In all seriousness, though, Liverpool is clearly in a transitional phase, and undergoing a rather strenuous adjustment to Coach Brendan Rodgers' new tactics and schemes. They'll gradually get there, and we see it as a substantial postive that the new man has decided to bite off the many problems King Kenny saddled the club with in last year's transfer market -- which clearly serves to show that management has learned a bit of collective folk wisdom from the Deep South: "If you've got to eat a turd, don't nibble at it." The bet here is that Liverpool is only a striker away from challenging for a Europa League spot, and a couple of additional players away from being back in contention for the big time.
o AVB Had Better Start Winning. And Soon: He's won only three of his last 15 BPL games as a Manager, and although we believe that both he and Spurs will come good eventually, there's a significant caveat to our thinking: if the Portuguese version of Inspector Gadget doesn't pick up the pace soon -- and by soon, we mean very soon -- his second visit to London may be no more pleasant than his first. The press love a good villain, and despite his boyish good looks (according to Columnist Ed, who has a bobble-head AVB doll firmly ensconced on his desk) Villas-Boas has already been given all the rope he'll need to hang himself. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
o Despite What We Said, Swansea Doesn't Look Like They're Going Down: In fact, the Swans are peering down after three games -- peering down at the rest of the League from second place. Rather than suffering from the aforementioned Rodgers' departure, the Welsh side under Manager Michael Laudrup's guidance looks to have picked up the pace from last year, adding a little steel to their artful passing game. Of course, three games are hardly the correct measure for predicting a full season, but with Michu and Danny Graham both quick out of the blocks, the Swans look to have enough goals in them to finish mid-table at worst.
o Reversion to the Mean: What's up with Newcastle? Last season's glamour boys seem to have forgotten the lock combination to the makeup room. Cisse and Demba Ba have tallied once between them, and if it weren't for the brilliant form of Hatem Ben Arfa, the Magpies could easily be 1-2 after three games. Newcastle fans had better hope for an uptick -- or we could see Mike Ashley breaking this side up like he would a bar fight -- with great enthusaism.
The rest of our thoughts tomorrow --until then, this is farlieonfootie for September 7.