Friday, October 4, 2013


Photo by Pol Sifter

As a long-time Spurs fan, one thing Ed has in abundance is hope:

At the end of the day, neither Spurs nor Chelsea should be happy about their 1 - 1 draw this past weekend. Spurs shouldn't be pleased because they missed several other good opportunities to win, including Gylfi Sigurdsson's close call near the end of the game. But more importantly, Spurs looked very second-tier in the second half and were happy just to hang on. As I said prior, this game was big for Spurs because they needed to show they could beat teams like Chelsea, not merely pull out a draw at home. They must somehow aim and reach higher or I fear even fourth place all be tougher to land than might seem the case right now.

As for Chelsea, they allowed themselves to be dominated for a half of the game by a side that should be substantially below them. Sure, they pulled out a draw and looked the better team in the second half, but if they were that much better why should they be satisfied with a draw?  If Chelsea are intent on winning the league -- which they are -- a draw at Spurs just shouldn't be enough.

By the way, it was me (and AVB) who questioned Gylfi's spot in the lineup. The last few weeks he has showed me to be completely wrong and has been a creative and goalscoring force from the left. Moussa Dembele also looked the part against Chelsea beating no less than 8 players off the dribble. Paulinho, however, looked less than impressive. Similarly Roberto Soldado, who just hasn't shown much of anything since joining Spurs. We can only hope he improves as Spurs need a finisher who, well, finishes!

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Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were fun to watch this weekend with their quick but purposeful play. Sturridge has always had the athletic ability, but now he seems very sure of himself. This confident keeps him from rush decisions, and as of now he always looks to have time on the ball. Suarez has picked up his jail break frantic style. He's an impossible player to like, but he is definitely dangerous.

Perhaps most interesting about Liverpool is that they don't even try to play the tiki-taka style that Rodgers used at Swansea. With Steven Gerrard as a holder that's frankly impossible. Stevie G is the kind of the long cross field one touch pass. He's not going to keep swiveling and moving it backwards and sideways. But Kudo's to Rodgers in not forcing something that isn't there. The tiki-taka style is more than half personnel; Liverpool don't have those kind of players, but the kind they do have are pretty good.

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Last year as Manchester United ran the table we used to joke that they were a mid-table team without Van Persie. Well, Van Persie has cooled and, predictably, gotten injured, and United looks very much the mid-table team. David Moyes was criticized on this site for stating that they don't have enough top-tier players to win the Champions League. I suspect the Special One wouldn't be criticized for saying the same thing. Plus, Moyes is right. The mystery at United isn't so much why they fell to 12th place as it is why so many formerly elite players look so mediocre these days. What exactly happened to Nani and Antonio Valencia? Even Ashley Young looks bad these days. In fact, only Wayne Rooney and RVP appear to be top tier talent. That should be enough to win a lot of games in the BPL -- presuming RVP isn't hurt -- but won't be enough to win in Europe.

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Arsenal continue to win and to look good. Sure they're playing the bottom of the table, but right now as much as it pains me to say it no team looks better and few in the world play as attractive a game. It's amazing the difference one big signing can make on a team. Where there was once none, now there is hope. Take note United.

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This is farlieonfootie for October 4.

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