The English Premiership season has just began, with only 2 matches played and 36 more to play. There will be UEFA Champions’ League and FA football to come. Only the present is here, and this is how it looks.
The Champions, Chelsea FC, have scored 6 goals in each of their 2 victories, the challengers Manchester United have only scored 5 and conceded 2 dropping 2 points, Arsenal, the pretenders scored 7 against 1 dropping 2 points as well while outsiders, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspurs are still to deserve any mention.
The opening 2 rounds of matches has seen a quartet of 6-0 score-lines, a 4-0 Blackpool win over Wigan Athletic as well as a 3-0 Manchester United victory over Newcastle. While the figures are interesting to the sports writers and the fans, they are worthy of a technical analysis.
Newcastle lost 0-3 to Manchester United and beat Aston Villa 6-0 a week later. Villa were 3-0 victors over West Ham United. It means the gap between the good and the bad getting big. Blackpool ‘s big win over an average team followed by a big loss from a top 4 team concurs with this.
West Brom bounced from a 6-0 defeat to beat Sunderland 1-0 who had a 2-2 draw against Birmingham City last week. Birmingham were 2-1 victors this week against Blackburn FC.
The results can basically be translated into something else, like this being a pre-season. It may reflect how much preparations time coaches had, or just the quality over the same preparation time. There is no doubt that Theo Walcott scoring a hat-trick is evidence of his maturity and better attacking quality in general and finishing in particular.
Chelsea scored their half-dozen goals without hitting full throttle. Poor defending abilities by their opponents was surely a contributor. Aston Villa in particular were pathetic in their efforts this week. The need for a respected head coach like Bob Bradley is urgent. The same can be said about the poor defending of Blackpool. They did not resist Arsenal at all.
Newcastle’s creativity was obvious and the improvisation coupled with courage got them the goals. Arsenal were quite incisive and penetrative on the break. They increased speed in attack and their quick 1-2 passing created useful 1 v 1 situations with either the last defenders or the goalkeeper.
In both of their 6 star performances, Chelsea showed 2 faces. There were deadly with an individual Didier Drogba show in the first and then a patient orchestration by the same as he turned on the heat as the provider of killer passes, a statement of how he wants his supply.
Collectively, they exhibited a disciplined team that did not lose shape and frustrated their weaker opponents by making them run out of ideas. This created cracks at these teams’ defences and allowed normal attacking movement to turn into dangerous opportunity easily converted by the mobile attacking players.
Manchester United for their part against Fulham, they tried a little too hard. They went into over-drive early on, overdoing their passing and losing possession easily in the process. This frustrated Hernandez and Valencia a lot while Barbetov as a veteran dropped deep to collect the ball and tried to slow things down. The issue was that he would have to release the ball to his fast-forwarded forwards.
Paul Scholes was not permitted to function his normal way by an educated Fulham midfield. The shining Manchester moments were of course thwarted by the in-form Stockdale who even went on to save a penalty from Nani. It is hard to see how much contribution Wayne Rooney could have made. He was not there and we will never know.
At this rate, the best thing for Manchester United fans better believe that it is a slow start by the former champions and they will be catching a ‘will burn out’ Chelsea somewhere along the way. In the mean-time, by the same token, Chelsea may as well enjoy the sun-shine while it last.
Manchester City beat Liverpool by 3-0 with Tevez scoring twice. These teams have not given much to write home about. Is this the year of Manchester City?