Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reflections on the Season to Date

photo by daluevia PhotoRee

Twelve observations on the season to date -- some obvious, some serious, and some tongue-in-cheek.  You decide which is which:
  • Didier Drogba is Not the Player He Was a Year Ago.  Yes, I know he's suffering from malaria, but I'm not commenting on why he's not as good as last year, just pointing out the fact that he's not the automatic goal scoring machine he was last season.  And that fact alone makes Chelsea a little less dangerous than they used to be (and might be again).
  • Dimitar Berbatov's Gone Cold.  Eight games in a row without a goal for the Bulgarian hitman, but who's counting?  My guess is Sir Alex.  Expect Wayne Rooney back in the lineup shortly.

  • Gareth Bale is Overrated -- Slightly.  Yes, I know he's the flavor of the day, and he is damn good, but Bale better not believe all the press he's currently getting.  I rate him about equal to Theo Walcott, and if you don't believe it, take a look at the statistics.  Bale is marginally better than Walcott in goals and assists, but he's played all season whereas Walcott has missed a good portion of Arsenal's games.  There's no one like the English tabloids to hop on the bandwagon and make an English (ok, Welsh) player even bigger than he should be (see Rooney, Wayne, for more details).
  • Chelsea's Current Injury Crisis Shows Their Lack of Depth.  Although their starting 11 is as good as anyone's in the League, Chelsea's backups are a little thin -- Paolo Ferreira, anyone?  Terry and Alex are both hurt?  Cry me a river.  Anyone remember last season when Manchester United's defense featured Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs as fullbacks, and Michael Carrick and Patrice Evra as the central defense?  Now that's a crisis.
  • When Exactly Did Nani Become Luis Nani?  I never saw his name used this way prior to the current season.  Nani's real name is Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha Nani, but heretofore I had always heard him referred to as just plain old Nani.  This season, though, he's often called Luis Nani.  Did he tire of just the one name?
  • Arsenal's Attackers are Slowly Returning to Health.  This could be temporary, as Robin Van Persie seems to be perpetually on the injured list, but the Professor is going to have some interesting selection issues in the near future, with Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, Wilshere, Arshavin, Van Persie, Bendtner and Chamakh all in the fold, to say nothing of Vela, Song, Denilson and Rosicky.  It's a veritable embarrasment of attacking riches at the Emirates.  If only the team had some heart....and a goalie.
  • Is Avram Grant a Good Coach?  My heart tells me yes, because I'd like to see him succeed, but  my head tells me something else.  He didn't save Pompey (although he did display amazing loyalty, way above and beyond the call of duty), and I don't see West Ham exactly lighting the league on fire with Grant at the helm.  I hope he turns it around, for the sake of my diehard Hammers friend Paul, but I've got a sinking feeling -- or maybe it's the Hammers that have the sinking feeling, but either way it's not good, and neither is Avram, I'm afraid.
  • Manchester United Have Not Hit Top Gear Yet This Year.  And maybe they won't.  The signs are apparent, but I'm turning a true fan's blind eye to them.  I'm ignoring the fact that we're desperately missing Antonio Valencia's crosses into the box, and Wayne Rooney's battering of goal, and a bunch of other things (@Cristiano, is it really true you may be coming back one day?) too numerous to mention, but I'm hopeful the Red Devils may still find a way to pull it all together before too long.  After all, it's only November, and the season has a long way left in it.  Still, I'm haunted by the following question: If Chelsea aren't going to win the title, which one of the other teams chasing them has looked like it will?  Certainly not United, at least to this point.
  • Is it a Requirement for Arsenal's manager to have the same first five letters in his name as the team has?  Arsenal - Arsene Wenger.  Get it?  Okay, I know -- it's late.  Let's keep moving.  
  • Why Does Uncle Harry Want to Get Rid of the British Flamingo?  After all, wasn't he the one who brought Crouchie to Spurs from Pompey?  And certainly, Spurs' uneven form can be blamed on a lot of people beside the Big Bird -- Jermaine DeFoe and Aaron Lennon's absence, just to name two.  I'd get rid of Robbie Keane or even Roman Pavyluchenko long before the big guy -- but that's just me.
  • What Exactly Did Adam Johnson Do to Roberto Mancini?  Insult his haircut?  Or maybe his scarf....  I mean, he had to do something big time bad to get this deep in the dog house.  Other players at City can fly home for an extended break in Argentina, argue on the pitch during a game, sulk off the field after being substituted, or even pick a fight in the locker room, but all Johnson does is dribble the ball at defenders and provide crosses into the box.  And Mancini doesn't like it -- not one little bit.  Maybe I'm missing something, but I thought dribbling and crossing were key skills for a winger to possess.
  • What are Bolton and Sunderland Doing Tied with Spurs, and How is Newcastle Only a Point Behind?  I wish I knew the answer to this one, but it's a combination of things: Johan Elmander, Kevin Davies, Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan, Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan just to name a few.  It's made selection for my fantasy team much harder, as there are very few "guaranteed" teams and scorers in the league this year (Drogba, Rooney, Torres and Lampard, just to name a few who have gone AWOL), but there's lots more guys sticking the ball in the back of the net, and it's made for a far more exciting -- and closely bunched -- league this year.
I'll end it on that note.  Let me know if you have any thoughts regarding the questions I've posed. I'll be happy to hear what you have to say, and may even argue with you.  This is farlieonfootie for November 19.

No comments:

Post a Comment