Fascinating is the word that comes to mind as Barclays Premier league enthralled audiences worldwide yet again with some memorable games. A certain London club continued their merry run with its multi million pound signing blitzing all and sundry in its wake – Chelsea now have three wins in their games riding on the brilliance of Eden Hazard. Fernando Torres suddenly looks a man possessed and all seems rosy at Stamford Bridge, for the time being at least. Former Chelsea boss AVB on the other hasn’t got his Tottenham side of the blocks as quickly; Spurs could manage only a draw against West Brom at the Lane.
Man United did what they do best, bounce straight back from a disappointing result with a win. In a game of two halves Man United edged out Fulham but not before the visitors gave Fergie’s side more than a few jitters. Furthermore the new signings RVP and Kagawa bagged a goal each with the latter looking quite a bargain already. Swansea City defeated West Ham three goals to nil in a game where two contrasting approaches to football were at show. Norwich City were happy to return to the comfort of Carrow Road but despite laying a late siege on the QPR goal, the game ended in a draw. Everton made it two wins in two with a splendid first half display at Villa Park that must have pleased the Goodison faithful and underlined David Moyes’ pedigree as a top manager.
Gunners fired blank at the Britannia once again as the game ended in a stalemate. Arsene Wenger never ever shy of speaking his mind provided the quote of the weekend, the Arsenal boss said “Defensively we had no problem. In the air we dealt very well – they have six basketball players!”
Team Man United still a work in progress
Ferguson laid down the marker with his team selection by dropping the non performers from the Goodison game – Nani and Rooney omitted while Scholes made way for Anderson. The manager can claim that his changes worked to the tee, Van Persie scored on his home debut with a brilliant left footed strike, Ashley Young on the other hand got better as the game progressed and ended up with a vital assist. It was much improved display by the Red Devils especially in the first half as Valencia back in his favoured right wing position coupled with a vibrant Rafael Da Silva at Right Back caused a lot of discomfort for the Cottagers. Shinji Kagawa impressed yet again with his neat and tidy footwork and link up play.
Second half however displayed United’s fragilities at the back with Michael Carrick struggling in his new role. Dembele displayed what United lack the most in their side – a strong imposing figure at the heart of their midfield. Could Ferguson make one last dip in the transfer market?
Everton put rest to their usual early season blues
David Moyes and Everton have done wonders, over the years, with their limited budget and that’s hardly a secret. What’s left the Toffees down for the past few seasons have been their inability to get off to decent starts to the campaign, Everton’s early season blues are well documented and often the reason for their mid table finish. Now Moyes’ side have beaten a top side in United on the opening day and then followed it up with an impressive away win at Villa Park. The fixture list ahead seems mouth-watering for the Everton faithful. The Merseyside club have a host of games against last season’s bottom half sides barring Alen Pardew’s Newcastle United in the next ten league encounters. One can expect Everton to make storming start this time around and possibly challenge for the coveted top four spot.
Swansea wins the battle of contrasting philosophies
Swansea have carried on playing possession football under their new manager with much rewards as well. The Swans have won both their opening games, scoring eight goals in the process while conceding none. In their second game, they had to come over West Ham who, since last season, have adapted well in playing the Sam Allardyce brand of football. In the end, it proved to be no contest at all as the Hammers neither had enough possession, nor did they force enough set pieces to cause Laudrup’s men any sort of problems.
Although the visitors loss came mainly due to two horrendous errors at the back, the manager has to take some blame as well for his poor tactics. In the quest of playing physical football, Allardyce deployed Kevin Nolan – his most threatening midfielder from last season – on the right to use his height advantage over Neil Taylor. However, the move backfired as the newly promoted team lost their best source of creativity in midfield and struggled to put any moves together.
Swansea, on the other hand, played their own brand of football that won them so much praise last year. Their ball retention serves as an attacking as well as a defensive strategy and that’s exactly what happened at the Liberty Stadium as their opponents were frustrated for long periods.
New look Chelsea mix style with substance
Chelsea owner Roman Abromovich finally achieved his holy grail – the Champions League trophy shines proudly in the Stamford Bridge trophy cabinet. The Russian hasn’t sat back but instead gone for an overhaul and the results so far have been picture perfect. “Sexy football” has been on the wish list for some time and it looks like the dream is closer to realization than ever before. Eden Hazard has begun like a man possessed and already defences up and down the country are running for cover. The Belgian will only get better with maturity, his potential seems scary for rest of the league while Chelsea fans can dream of bigger and beautiful things from the hitherto outstanding playmaker.
Fernando Torres has regained his mojo or so it seems although one can never be sure with the Spaniard these days. Roberto Di Matteo got his tactics spot on and this time the Blues mixed caution with aggression just fine. Ryan Bertrand playing on the left coupled with Ashley Cole neutralized the threat of Ben Arfa and with Chek Tiote missing in action, the double pivot of Mikel and Merieles was all over Newcastle’s Cabye and Anita pairing. Good solid display by Chelsea and John Terry must have celebrated the win all kitted up with shin pads galore from the comfort of his drawing room.
Liverpool and Man City provide a spectacle at Anfield
The big game of the weekend took place at Anfield as Champions City looked to win their first league game at the stadium since May 2003. Roberto Mancini yet again opted for a back three while Brendon Rodgers gave a surprising start to teenage sensation Rahim Sterling. After an encouraging start by the visitors, it was Liverpool who took the lead ironically. Martin Skrtel with a towering header as the Anfield side ended the half strongly.
City pushed hard for an equalizer and inevitably it was Yaya Toure – Mancini’s man Friday who got the all important goal. Liverpool’s pole star Suarez wasn’t to be undone though, the Uruguayan restored Liverpool’s lead with an inch perfect free kick. City were handed an equalizer this time by first half hero Skrtel whose back pass fell nicely in Tevez’s path and the Argentine obliged.
The game ended with both teams on the front foot and giving their all for the winner. Liverpool should take heart from their display against such a formidable opponent; Joe Allen in particular was outstanding. The former Swansea midfielder brought much-needed calmness and purpose to the home sides play and that augurs well for the future. In the end, Liverpool fans will take much heart from their team’s display; however, the Reds have always given the big guns a run for their money. It has been the poor performances against weaker sides that have cost them valuable points in the past seasons.