Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Faster!: The Need for Speed in the Barclay's Premier League

photo by Kevin Krejcivia PhotoRee

Ed wrote this column pretty quickly, as well

Is it all about speed?  The new trend of the BPL's winningest teams makes you thinks so.

Let's start with Liverpool -- Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, both very fast and quick with or without the ball.  United's defenders looked absolutely plodding against them.  On the other end RVP and Wayne Rooney looked, well, okay.  But on the break the two Liverpudlians seemed untouchable.  It makes what happens behind them somewhat irrelevent.  Just hold a good line and eventually you'll get one through.

How about Chelsea?  For all the talk about Samuel Et'o's age, he still looks pretty darn fast to me.  Their game plan against Spurs was to wait until he or their other speedster, Andre Schurrle, stole the ball or got a break.  Pretty football?  No.  Effective?  Yes.

Arsenal?  Well against Spurs this weekend, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played the number 10 spot.  Was he there to act as a creative playmaker?  No.  Clearly, Arsene Wenger took page out of Mourinho's book and just waited for the break.  It came, of course, but Oxlade-Chamberlain messed it up.  The rest of the game was all Spurs, but did it matter really?  And what has hurt Arsenal more than Theo Walcott's injury?

Spurs?  Emmanuel Adebayor is pretty fast, but not that quick.  Andros Townsend comes into the game and it's a different story.  Everything seems to click as he rockets around the pitch.  Chances are made, shots are had.  Townsend is great on the ball, but more than that he's the fastest guy out there.

City?  Well, they're a different team without Sergio Aguero.  Not so easy to find the back of the net.  James Milner is so skilled AND so slow.  Ya Ya Toure?  Fastest guy on the team and it shows every week.

I could go on, but there's no need.  Speed up top seems the trend; the big target man is falling into history.  I would even say that England has a better chance in the World Cup than they have in years due to the new speed of Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Townsend (he'll be there), and others.  Used to be a lot of square passing holding midfielders (see, e.g., Gareth Barry), but now there's a ton of threat.

Is this what it's all about in the BPL?  I don't know, but it's starting to look that way.

This is farlieonfootie for March 19.

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