Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spurs and More -- Week 1 Roundup of the Barclay's Premier League

photo by Jimmy_Joevia PhotoRee

Ed's at it again:
Well, it seems the bossman has forgotten where his crayons are, so here’s my post on the weekend’s action:
On Spurs v. the Hammers:
This Spurs team doesn’t appear richly talented, but they are young and used their depth well this weekend.  I also think the expectations for the team are a bit lower, which I think will help them at least until or unless the pressure builds as the season wears on.  Spurs players are younger and I don’t think they feel as much pressure when games like this one remain close for so long. 
I enjoyed watching Holtby and Townsend come off the bench and inject some intensity and pace into the game.  Immediately Holtby had a steal that led to a break.  I also liked Pochettino’s confidence in the bench and the very young players on the squad.  This is not to denigrate Erik Lamela, who looked confident on the ball and much better than he did in any of his appearances last season.  He clearly has talent, now he just needs confidence, and Pochettino is clearly trying to help him get it.
Benteleb played okay, but I found it interesting that he was out there rather than Paulinho or Sandro or Dembele, none of which made an appearance.  In light of Spurs interest in Morgan Schneiderlin from Sunderland, I’m wondering if each or all of these players may be headed out of White Hart Lane.  I think this would be a curious choice, despite the fact that Etienne Capoue played well in the role of the disrupter.  Perhaps there are injuries that I am unaware of? 
Adebayor played well, though not well enough to score.  Erikson was quiet and ineffective.  Spurs will need much more from him from week to week as he’s one of the few creative players in the lineup.

Harry Kane was brought on instead of Soldado.  Not only did the Spaniard show little last year, he also showed little in preseason.  Often players with talent from the Spanish league don’t translate to the Premier League.  I suspect this is because defenders are bigger and faster from top to bottom in the BPL.  Soldado lacks pace, isn’t a strong target man like, say, Lambert, and isn’t a shifty quick release guy like Lewandowski.  It would seem that he’s the Spanish version of Chris Wondolowski – which makes me think he just might not be good enough for Spurs. 

Hugo Lloris showed why he’s the best keeper on the team despite his relatively small size.  His quickness kept Spurs alive in a game they could’ve lost and probably should’ve tied.

Younes Kaboul looked very mediocre, but then there was Eric Dier, the Spur’s hero who neatly dribbled pass the Hammer’s keeper after a perfect pass from Harry Kane in extra time.  It’s so nice to see a new signing perform well out of the gate – not the typical thing for this team.

Of course, it’s impossible to make any big conclusions after just one game.  Perhaps the Hammers are awful, or perhaps they are terrific.  One never knows at this point . . . .

On the Rest of the League:

n  Clearly Manchester United’s lineup wasn’t top notch, and clearly they didn’t dominate at home against a mid-table team, but . . . . let’s recall that Swansea converted on pretty much their only chance in the second half, a half that United pretty much dominated.  And let’s remember that Siguurdson’s goal came off a very fortunate rebound.  That said, the oft- injured Robin van Persie is needed quickly, and I question just how good that Herrera guy is at midfield.  Or that Ashley Young was the first choice at wingback.  But hey, way too soon to panic.  Way, way too soon.
n  Chelsea did look white hot against an overmatched Burnley side.  News flash:  Cesc Fabregas is a really good player, just like he was a few years ago.  I agree with Mourinho – he wasn’t used the right way at Barcelona, a team that seemed to have a stockpile of scorers and playmakers such as Fabregas and Alexis and Iniesta and Messi yet still only played with one ball.
n  Arsenal looked less than I would have expected, but they got their win.  Alexis looks to have completely the wrong body type in those tight new kits, but he certainly played well and seems much more part of the action than he was at Barcelona.  He also seems really tiny though in the BPL.
n  Liverpool looked like a team that missed Suarez, though Sterling has amped up his game considerably.  Coutinho?  He needs to look like he did in preseason, not like he did most of last year.  At this point he’s no David Silva.
This is farlieonfootie for August 20.

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