Saturday, September 8, 2012

Picking Up Where We Left Off: More Thoughts on the Season to Date

photo by Crunchy Footstepsvia PhotoRee

Picking up where we left off yesterday, some mildly entertaining and slightly insightful analysis of the action in the first three weeks of the Barclay's Premier League season:

Chelsea are Not as Good as They Appear: We could ultimately be proven wrong on this, but we don't think so.  The Blues clearly have a friend in the FA scheduling department, as this is the third straight season in which they've started out with a very user-friendly run of games.   While playing softies at home may lead to a bulging net and high degree of confidence in the season's early going, we remember when Chelsea started out like a house-a-fire last year, too -- and we all recall how that one turned out.  We've plowed this ground in an earlier post, but the Blues appear to be as leaky as Correspondent's Ed's nose during allergy season, and we're big believers that Champions are built from the back up.

It's Difficult to Gauge Just How Good Man United is: It typically takes Sir Alex's men a few games to really get rolling, and a woeful return of goals in the pre-season would seem to indicate that the new players on the squad have yet to really bed in.  Combine this with the fact that Nemanja Vidic -- United's most reliable defender -- hadn't played competitively in almost eight months, and he and the oft-injured Rio Ferdinand have started exactly one game together this season, and you have a recipe for a very murky defensive outlook, too.  Our guess is that the Reds will turn it on at some point -- they always do -- likely after Sir Alex is able to establish a more regular rotation of his players.  We believe that it will only be after the injury list begins to shorten that we'll have a true bead on United's prospects.  We're certain they've ultimately got plenty of goals in them, but how will the midfield and defense stand up to the best in the League?

City Look a Bit Shaky, Don't They?: Despite two wins, the Citizens have not exactly stamped their authority on their opponents to date, and look on par with United defensively.  They appear to have withstood the early loss of El Kun through some wicked play from frontman Carlos Tevez, but there's another significant question hanging over the heads n Eastlands: Can they win the League without David Silva hitting the heights he reached last season?  The Spaniard clearly looks overwrought, as we indicated he would here.  While we have no idea how Maicon and Garcia will adapt to English League play, the guess here is hat the former will be an improvement over Mancini's current choices, and the the latter will offer City more bite in the middle of the pitch -- the combination of Toure and Garcia should provide some real bite -- even if he does have very questionable judgment.

Michael Owen Could be a Decent Pick Up for Stoke: If he's available, of course.  The diminutive Englishman plays a pretty good game at the horse track and on Twitter, but he wasn't exactly available regularly during his brief stint at United.  We've always liked Owen, though -- that is, outside his time at Liverpool -- and wish him the very best with his new team.  He'll have to fight Jonathan Walters for playing time, and Stoke City is not known for its deep runs in the Capitol One Cup (or even the League Cup, or the Milk Cup for that matter), the tournament in which Owen has recently seen the majority of his playing time.  What we do know is that Owen still has a goal scorer's touch -- he may have lost his speed, but he never lost his nose for goal -- and that the little guy should be able to poach a few Peter Crouch knock downs before that cruel popping sound in the back of his legs strikes again.

That's all for now.  This is farlieonfootie for September 8.

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