It isn’t Blackpool’s win that should have the critics gushing in admiration. It should be Chelsea‘s victory over West Brom that should take the limelight. Before accusations of favoritism are hurled, among other invectives, let’s pause to consider the facts. This is a Chelsea side that managed to lose all their 3 pre-season encounters, before prostrating themselves before Fergie’s men. This is a Chelsea side that decimated its own midfield without any proper replacements in sight.
This is a Chelsea side, looking over its shoulders in eternal fear of Jose Mourinho raiding their Lost Ark. This is a Chelsea side whose only major available signing at the start of the season was a 31 year old. This is a Chelsea side that wasn’t sure its chief striker would feature and whose only reliable custodian was nursing an injury. This is a Chelsea side comprised of admittedly overpaid stars, many of whom think there isn’t anything left for them to win out there. This is a Chelsea side that threw a hissy fit a day before the game on finding Abramovich wasn’t going to gift them a bonus.
And then, they go out and win by a margin of 6 goals vaulting them to the top of the table.
Giving Nostradamus a run for his money
Wayne Rooney. The guy predicted his own descent into oblivion by playing a Bizarro World version of himself living in a trailer with a foot-long beard and a beer-gut in that World Cup Nike ad. While he must be ruing the decision to take a swipe at himself back then, and since the favorable comparisons with Nostradamus are hardly a reason for cheer, it must be a poignant moment for one of the best strikers in the world to watch Berbatov take over the mantle of chief scorer for Manchester United. Low on confidence, plagued by an inability to find the back of the net, faced with the dawning realization that defenders no longer fear him; Rooney needs to take one long hard look at himself in the mirror … this time, without shaving his head and screaming at his own reflection.
Great Scot! A Brave-Hart for the English?
For a nation starved of true sporting heroes, England may finally have found a potential one. Joe Hart pulled off a string of saves keeping Manchester City in the reckoning at least and displaced the highly-rated Shay Given in the process. Roberto Mancini is going to need a whole season of stellar performances from his young ward, if he is to prevent himself becoming cannon fodder for the Abu Dhabi owners. After all, it’s a very thin line these days, between a scarf and a noose. The biggest loser so far in this whole episode has been Shay, who’s finding that his presence in the team is no longer a given.
The beach ball, the one which allegedly scored the solitary goal that cost Liverpool the game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last season, must be looking down in glee at Pepe Reina’s disastrous attempt at goal keeping on the stroke of full-time. With it now being safe to assume that the hallowed hands of Reina do not really require a distraction before committing a howler of biblical proportions, beach balls everywhere will breathe a collective sigh of relief in the knowledge that a member of their tribe has well and truly been exonerated.
Of Aging legs and Knee-jerk reactions
Former Chelsea star Joe Cole, who decided this summer that his future lay elsewhere – at Anfield, under Roy Hodgson specifically – can be forgiven for his knee-jerk reaction. In retrospect, it wasn’t the smartest decision to drag the spotlight onto himself while making a career-altering decision. But Joey just couldn’t resist the temptation to shower his new club with praise, and take a swipe at his previous one. Endearing himself to the Anfield faithful, Cole even became the bookies firm favorite to score on his debut for the Reds. But apart from running the entire field, all too eager to please, his defining contribution came via a shocking lunge for the ball. The referee saw red, and Joe Cole’s efforts came to a premature end.
Gunning for Nostalgia
All talk of this being the season when Arsenal’s squad finally hits puberty and begins to viably challenge for the title, has been quickly dispelled by Wenger’s boys who went out of their way to assure the club faithful and the rest of us that nothing has changed, with quite an insipid display against Liverpool. Koscielny impressed on his debut by managing to get hacked down under the watchful gaze of the referee and earned his team a numerical advantage – which they still managed to squander.
An embarrassment to the League
Wigan Athletic, as a side that has managed to stay in the Premier League for 5 years now, should’ve done better. The result against Blackpool, and the margin of defeat, is so disastrous that Roberto Martinez, the man who adeptly brushed off twin 8-goal margin defeats as just another day in the office, is finally dumbfounded. With N’Zogbia making no bones of wanting to leave, it remains to be seen if Martinez gets offloaded even earlier.