Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Where's the Plan? Some Brief Thoughts on the Premier League Season

Reading Glasses
Photo by Martin on Flickr

Ed has been reading up on all the action:
The BPL seems tumultuous this year, but is it?  The top four are Arsenal, Chelsea, City, Liverpool – not exactly an impoverished bunch.  Behind them is Everton, a dark horse but certainly one that’s inhabited this position before, and then Spurs.  Thus the only real surprise is United way down in 9th behind Newcastle, who just beat them, and Southampton, who have been playing very will this year but are still only a point up on the Red Devils.
Which makes me wonder what is worse for Moyes: All the losses at United, or is it Martinez making his Everton team look as good as or better than the league leading Gunners?  Everton definitely has more talent than Moyes had – Barkley is a year wiser and seems one of the best midfielders in the BPL at times – and Lukaku is a fairly recent addition.  But still, the style of Everton even without Leighton Baines makes United look lost in the early 1990s.  Plus Martinez’s additions such as McCarthy and Deulofeu, seem far better than the $28MM Felaini that can barely get time in a weak United midfield.  So query, did Sir Alex fail his club in his last act?  Was he blinded by a Scottish bias?  Only time will tell, but right now it would be hard to believe the United board might not be thinking they just made a terrible mistake.
Meanwhile, over in Spurs-land, AVB has guided the Spurs to two somewhat rocky wins over Fulham and then Sunderland, two basement dwellers.  At least these were wins, as there should be no shame in beating the teams you are supposed to beat.  However, the service to the center remains poor, and AVB seems to still be trying to figure out his best center and wing combinations.  Personally, I would try Paulinho and Sandro behind Dembele, but it turns out AVB doesn’t care what I think.  Regardless, Spurs seem miles apart from the Everton and Arsenal teams that battled it out last weekend.  They have difficulty connecting passes and have no rhythm to their attack.  Not sure what the plans is yet, and less sure it will work.

Another player that continues to impress each week is Mesut Özil.  While he wanders wide around the pitch, he always seems to be in the right place.  His footwork is elegant, and vision top notch.  It’s simply amazing how much he’s added to a team that prior was in complete disarray.

As a final note, Suarez might have become the best striker in the BPL this year.  I recall his first year at Liverpool – many mis-timed runs that ran out of time or space and ended with him diving and losing the ball.  This year he built on last year and seems to score multiple goals a game, notching 14 in only 10 games.  Amazing talent.  Annoying man.

This is farlieonfootie for December 11.

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