|photo by desomurchu archive gallery||via PhotoRee|
Ed has some thoughts on last weekend. Unfortunately, it took him until Thursday to verbalize them:
Just when you think you’ve got the EPL all figured out there’s a week like this.
First there’s United against Chelsea. Wayne Rooney, averaging three goals a game his last two games, falls down on his way to his second goal against the Blues. Huh? No, it’s true. And while United ultimately put in three, Chelsea for the most part saw the better of the play. Torres' first goal after the half was a as shocking as it was merciless, almost nonchalantly flicking it over De Gea on a quick through ball.
His sec . . . . oops, of course there was no second, but instead there was that complete “Doh!” that we’ve all seen countless times, where after beating De Gea with a quick stepover, he nearly missed the entire stadium on a kick in that should have been a layup. But let’s face it, it was the first time in a long time that Torres looked dangerous. And it was the first time that United seemed to be on the defensive most of the game. Does this mean United is vulnerable? Well, it was just one game. But their lack of dominance against the speed lineup of Chelsea – that is, the lineup they went to after pulling Lampard – has got to put some concern in United fans when they think of what Barca might do to them if it all comes to that again. Hmmm.
Second there’s Spurszzz. Someone clearly put the jumper cables right on the left and right . . . . well, let’s keep this above board, and say that Adebayor and Scott Parker, the smartest looking holding midfielder in the EPL, absolutely transmogrified (wait, is that a word?) the team. Spurs went from a demoralized last place team to a team that looked downright dangerous, taking advantage of a Liverpool team that looked predicatable and slow and, well, slow.
Liverpool had no answers on the interior or on the outside for Adebayor and Bale and Defoe. And Modric, who only a few weeks ago was too demoralized to even suit up for Spurs, looked absolutely joyful as he planted a dizzying first hit past goalkeeper Jose Reina. Maybe Spurs don’t have the depth for the long haul at this point, but for the first time in a long time they look again like contenders. If only they had pulled off that Cahill deal they might be considered the real thing. If only. . . .
Third, there’s Fulham, the first team to actually push back against Manchester City this year. Of course, City’s front, in particular Sergio Aguero and David Silva, continue to absolutely dominate in both substance and style points. Aguero seems lethal at all times, and Silva always seems to be the best pure player on the pitch. It’s either a testament to the amazing quality of the Spanish team or an indictment of their manager that this guy can’t get some PT with the nationals. That said, Fulham came to play, and for the most part managed the center of the field against City, especially in the second half. The 2 - 2 result was not at all luck, but rather reflected the balance of play.
Fourth, there’s Barcelona. What they did against AC Milan in the Champions League was absolutely nutty. They held the ball for what seemed to be the entire game. When Milan would finally get it, they would take it a away like a bullying older brother. But yet they tied. The first Milan scored in the first minute was an absolute shock. And the last on the corner kick occurred long after everyone though the game was over. So Milan walks away with a point at the Nou Camp. Could Barca be in trouble? Nah.
Fifth, there’s Arsenal, a team that looks so bad these days it’s almost hard to write about them, let alone watch them. Somehow, these former footballing giants have a total of one win in their first five games, and gave up four goals (four goals!) to Blackburn. In the match, Arsenal possessed the ball 69% of the game and seemed to dominate play. Bur Arsenal is also a team in complete mental disarray right now. Don’t be fooled, Arsenal may not have top 4 talent, but they’re not exactly Swansea. The problem, it would seem, is that this team has no idea what they’re playing for. For so long they’ve believed they were playing for the top spot, and now suddenly they’re not sure whether they’re a big club or just another Everton. Maybe Wenger deserves some blame, but I think the problem goes right up to the owners. Hopefully for them and the EPL they’ll figure it out quick. And for now, at least you Arsenal fans can celebrate the big win over Shrewsbury last night.
This is farlieonfootie for September 22.