Monday, 19 September 2011

Five observations from week 4 in the Premier League

  1. Man United are still invincible at home – Last season Man United had a home winning ratio of 94%. A sensational record which is shared by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea title winning side in 2006. It was this fine home record which was the difference last season between Manchester United and their title rivals. The last time United dropped points at Old Trafford was an incredible 11 months ago against West Brom in 2-2 draw. Indeed, the Champions have continued their fine dominance at home. So far this season, at home Man United have played Tottenham and Chelsea, and United have come away with three points on both occasions in a rather emphatic fashion. What will please the United faithful and Sir Alex Ferguson is that they have beaten two very tough opponents with genuine comfort. When weaker opponents come to Old Trafford this season, a continuity of this invincible confidence will continue to be rife amongst the fans.
  2. Fernando Torres drought is over – Fernando Torres scores! The £50million man finally gets his first goal of the season. His drought lasted an eye watering 12 hours and 12 minutes. But everyone will agree the goal has been coming. In his last few games, Torres has looked far more settled, more dangerous and more integrated in the Chelsea side. Chelsea’s style under Andre Villas-Boas is a leading factor as to why Torres has looked sharper. Chelsea are passing the ball at a quicker tempo, and Torres is receiving the ball to feet very quickly. This is something the Spaniard thrives on. Against United, Chelsea played slide balls and low diagonal passes to Torres, in return, Torres became more of a threat with every attacking pass. However, Fernando Torres’ miss will never be forgotten. There is no denying it was utterly, utterly woeful. But, a positive for Chelsea is that he did score the harder chance. Without a doubt, he was Chelsea’s leading threat throughout the game. The Fernando Torres of old is potentially just around the corner.
  3. Blackburn ‘Kean’ to win –Blackburn surprised everyone by defeating Arsenal. In the first half, Arsenal were the better team, they were comfortable and crucially, they were leading. But in the second half, Blackburn came out incredibly motivated, driven and hungry for the win. Arsenal’s flaws of last season came back onto the surface. Firstly their inability to defend set pieces was re-highlighted on two different occasions. This inevitably lead to a test of Arsenal’s mental strength, which arguably, they failed. Arsenal couldn’t deal with Blackburn’s desire to win. After going a goal down, the Gunners allowed Blackburn to grow in confidence and make the score 4-2. Blackburn’s commitment in the second half was unprecedented. The team defended very solidly and passionately, but once Blackburn won the ball, they looked to pass the ball out wide and start a counter attack. At times, Wenger’s men couldn’t deal with Hoilett and co. Prior to this game, Blackburn hadn’t won a league game. But a strong willed performance proved that if Blackburn play with high intensity and desire, they will pick up number of wins this season. But inconsistency is rife at Ewood Park.
  4. Promoted boys show they can fight in a giants world - All three promoted sides bagged impressive wins this weekend. Q.P.R were rampant at Wolves, while Norwich got their first win at Bolton and Swansea scored their first goals in the hammering of West Brom. Norwich result will provide great encouragement to their fans and manager alike. Norwich dropped a few key players such as Grant Holt but they still had enough in their locker to come away with a win. The Canaries continuously probed Bolton and caused them a number of worries. But for Norwich to win their first Premier League game away from home will provide much enthusiasm to everyone connected to the club. QPR were another team who picked up all three points on the road. The Londoners scored twice in two minutes and set the tone of the game. QPR’s attacking quartet of Barton, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips and Boothroyd were very impressive. Their unpredictability, movement and passing was the difference against Wolves. QPR’s attacking players could drive the team up to the top 10 of the Premier League. Swansea finally scored their first league goals and bagged themselves a notable win. Swansea’s attacking nature along with their fluid passing was the distinction between them and West Brom. Swansea’s Joe Allen was instrumental in everything good that the Welsh side created. If Swansea can impose their passing game, they have a great chance in the Premier League.
  5. Tottenham will fight till the fourth – Spurs’ sensational hammering of Liverpool proved they are side worthy of competing for the Champions League spots. People often forget, Tottenham have a wonderful side with quality in depth. Against Liverpool, the Spurs bench, had 5 out of 7 subs who were full internationals. This Liverpool side, which are assembled with expensive signings, were blown out of the water by Tottenham. A sterling performance from Luka Modric – who’s passing was the catalyst of everything dangerous about Spurs. While Bale continuously threatened from the flanks. Liverpool could not cope with Tottenham’s attacking play. Upfront, Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe constantly questioned Liverpool’s defence. Both have formed a healthy partnership as they offer different yet crucial characteristics to Tottenham. The harsh reality for Liverpool is that they failed to step up to Spurs’ game. This was Liverpool’s chance to prove they had the credentials to break the top four after Arsenal’s defeat this weekend. But a woeful performance marred by two men being sent off demonstrates, Liverpool have a long way to go. But for Tottenham, their strength in depth, and constant attacking threat means that they certainly have the credentials to battle for fourth. But consistency is crucial. Last season inconsistent results meant Tottenham missed out on fourth.
Five Statistics from this weekend

1.) Wayne Rooney is the first player in Premier League history to score 9 or more goals in his opening five Premier League games.

2.) Luka Modric against Liverpool passed 109 times and had a completion rate of 89%, he also scored.

3.) Liverpool only had three shots against Tottenham – The lowest in a single Premier League game in nine years.

4.) No player currently in the Premier League has scored more goals against Man United at Old Trafford than Fernando Torres (Three goals)

5.) It took Swansea 374 minutes to score their first Premier League goal.

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