A Few Things About The Premier League From The Weekend

  • ·Arsenal will struggle if van Persie becomes injured. The Dutchmen put in a captains performance against Sunderland, scoring both goals and leading by example. While the Gunners started brightly they could not maintain the tempo and allowed Sunderland back into the game. It took a world class free kick from van Persie to win the 3 points. So far in his Arsenal career van Persie has struggled to stay fit for an entire season. Arsenal will need him to stay on the pitch and off the physio’s table if they are to remain in the top three. If he is unavailable then the Gunners strike force looks fairly weak. Walcott is not a striker, no matter how much he thinks he is, and Gervinho is still adapting to the physicality of the English game. One more thing while we are on the subject of Van Persie, why did he (or any player for that matter) remove his shirt after scoring? Surly they know they’re going to get a yellow card. It would drive me mad if I was a manager. What if he had done that after he scored in the first minute then got a yellow card for a stupid tackle later on? He then has a red card all because he wanted to expose his body to the world.  Damn footballers.
  • I saw a few QPR games last season and when they were in the Championship Adel Taarabt really stood out for them. It’s fair to say that his performances helped QPR win the Championship last season. However since they have been in the Premier League Taarabt has looked out of place. Taking too long on the ball, not working hard enough off the ball and not really displaying the attitude of a captain of a Premier League side.  In the 1-1 draw with Blackburn he, again failed to hit the back of the net or put in an inspiring performance. Now with Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips the Moroccan is now no longer the star player, losing the captains arm band to Barton. Reports suggest that Taarabt wants to leave QPR in January and on his current form, QPR wouldn’t really miss him.

  • Do not, whatever you do, write off Chelsea. This team is improving every game. This season is a marathon not a sprint. Villas-Boas is slowing getting his team to play the way he wants. While they may still have a functional element about them, with a player like Juan Mata they are a team capable of matching any side in the Premier League. Daniel Sturridge has also flourished under Villas-Boas, his form has helped keep players like Anelka, Kalou and the newly arrived Lukaku on the bench. Juan Mata pulled the strings for Chelsea helping to set up two goals in the 3-1 win over Everton. Strangely the area the Chelsea manager needs to focus on is Chelsea’s defence. Since Richard Carvalho’s departure John Terry has lacked a solid partner in defence. David Luiz is used in the Champions League, but doesn’t seem trusted in the league. While Alex has not inspired confidence when used. Although not the finished article, Chelsea will be near the top of the table at the end of the season.
  • Newcastle United are still unbeaten and it is no fluke. They fully deserve their current league position of 4th place. They would probably be a bit disappointed with the 2-2 draw with Spurs, especially as they dominated the first half but were losing 0-1 at half time. They battled back twice to level the game and could have won the game late on if Coloccini had put away his chance in the final minute. It would seem that owner Mike Ashley is being proved right in his decisions to sell on Joey Barton and with the appointment of manager Alan Pardew. While he has failed in his promise to reinvest the money from the sale of Andy Carroll, the form of Demba Ba, Colin Best and Shola Ameobi has seen the need to buy a striker fade away. The real test for Newcastle will come late November when they face Manchester City, then Man Utd and Chelsea all in a row. That’s when we really see if they are really a top 4 side.
  • Also regarding Newcastle United, they need to sign Ismael Tiote to a new deal. He was outstanding against Spurs. Braking up play, keeping possession, making tackles and almost scoring for his side. He has been a hit since he arriving from FC Twente last season. It would not surprise me if a bigger club comes in for him soon. He is a player that every club or manager would love to have in their squad.
  • The 1-1 draw between Liverpool and Manchester United showed that Sir Alex is not afraid to change up his side. The deployment of Phil Jones in midfield was a big surprise. With Wayne Rooney, Nani, Anderson and Javier Hernandez all on the bench you would think that Fergurson was playing a defensive side against Liverpool. However Sir Alex would have been looking at the big picture. There is a Champions League game coming up, and after drawing their first game 3-3 at home against a so called small side, United will not be taking the match against Otelul Galati lightly. Maybe the match against Man City next weekend also played a part in Sir Alex’s team selection. A draw was a fair result judging from the performances of both sides as neither side managed to dominate the game for long stretches of the game. On the plus side David De Gea  must have finally convinced those who doubting him, that he is a worthy replacement for Edwin Van Der Saar. While he may still be uncomfortable with set pieces his shot stopping is exceptional. This goal keeper is only going to get better as the season goes on.
  • You don’t have to watch a big team to have an entertaining match. While many of us may change the channel if we see that Norwich is playing Swansea or West Brom v Wolves, I would advise against it in future. This weekend saw some pretty entertaining matches played out despite the apprehend lack of star power. The 2-0 win by WBA over Wolves was a particularly good flowing match. Don’t be so quick to judge next time you see the fixture list.
  • A quick note about Spurs. They look a much better side when Defoe is up front partnering Adebayor. While Van Der Vaart feels he is more suited to playing in the middle, when he does it forced Modric out to wing where he was less influential and also dropped Defoe to the bench. I’m starting to think that Van Der Vaart is quickly becoming a thorn in Harry Redknapp’s side. Unwilling to play on the wing and sulking about being taken off in most games, Harry is still trying to find a way to accommodate all his best players. Furthermore, it looks like Captain Ledley King is going to face another spell on the side lines. It’s a shame for Spurs as his return to the side coincided with their 4 wins in a row.
  • Mario Balotelli has the talent to lead Man City to the top but his temperament is still in doubt. As shown when he squared up to the Aston Villa fans after scoring against them. He also showed his frustration with Yaya Toure when he felt the ball should be played to him. Balotelli threw his arms up in disgust when the ball was not played into his path. He seems like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. I’m sure Mancini will be hoping he can keep his fellow Italian in line now that Carlos Tevez is no longer an option
  • I follow a number of footballers on twitter. The one thing I’ve learnt is that none of them are that interesting. When I started following them I thought I would be getting some sort of insight into their club sides. However that is not the case. They all seem more interested in telling me what they’re watching on TV (mainly X Factor) or slagging off some English celeb I’ve never heard of.
  • I’ve also learnt that I watch way too much football. But it’s just all so good. I can’t help it.

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