Monday, 17 October 2011

Five Observations from Week 7 in the Premier League

  1. An under strength Manchester United side is still a very good Man United side – Almost everyone was left in shock when it was revealed Sir Alex Ferguson had left out Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Nani on the bench for the Liverpool game. Arguably they are Man United’s best players. However, even without their three key players, United played reasonably well. The Champions kept Liverpool at bay for most of the game and challenged a full strength Liverpool throughout 90 minutes. But it cannot be denied, Liverpool were marginally better. They created more chances, saw far more of the ball and looked more likely to make something happen. But Man United even with a team lacking in key assets were incredibly tough and potent. Indeed, United’s point gained at Liverpool just proves what a powerful side they are. The fact an under strength Man United side, who didn’t play that well could keep a strong Liverpool side at bay is a very impressive feat.
  2. Mario Balotelli is becoming Mr Consistent – For the third Premier League week in a row, Mario Balotelli comes with good news, rather than traditionally bringing bad news for Man City. Balotelli has consecutively found the net for the past three Premier League games. The controversial striker has now scored three goals in his last three games. Furthermore, because of the Carlos Tevez saga which virtually leaves the Agrentine unplayable. City and their fans know that Balotelli can be depended on to get goals in the Premier League. Not only this, the fact Balotelli, Dzeko and Aguero have all rather easily found their goal scoring boots this season, it shows Man City have three extremely potent centre forwards who could change the game instantly for them. This of course is vital for a league challenger, as every game must be won.
  3. QPR still can’t get a result at home – QPR have yet again failed to win at home this season. This season they have had 4 Premier League games at home, and have managed to draw three and lose one. Perhaps the fact they are unbeaten in their last three home games should be an impressive feat. But upon closer inspection is not an impressive feat at all. Firstly, QPR have only scored two goals at home this season. Which is the worst goals tally for a home side this season. Secondly, QPR hosted Blackburn this weekend. One must remember, this Blackburn side are rock bottom of the Premier League and haven’t won a single away game yet. This weekend was supposed to be a golden opportunity for QPR to get their first three points at home and score a few goals in the process. QPR should be very worried about their home form. Winning at home is a basic imperative in the Premier league, and the team could find themselves progressively declining towards the foot of the table if their home form doesn’t pick up anytime soon.
  4. Wolves and Wigan’s form depicts the same picture from last season – Both Wigan and Wolves lost crucial games this weekend. Wolves would have seen their away game at West Brom as a very winnable fixture, while Wigan would have thought the three points were there for the taking at home against an out of form Bolton. But both sides lost. Wigan and Wolves have now lost their last five games in a row. Which of course, reeks of relegation form. This weekend, Wigan were poor at home to Bolton. They gave Bolton the impetuous to get the three points, which they well and truly did. While Wolves who created many good chances against West Brom but Wolves just couldn’t finish them off. That was the difference between Wolves and West Brom was that the Albion’s could finish their chances, while Wolves were left bemoaning the ifs and buts after the game. Last season, Wigan and Wolves found themselves in the bottom three for most of the season. But on the last day of the season, both teams just about survived. This season, both teams may not be so lucky. Wigan and Wolves recent form has been utterly woeful. It’s crucial they end their winless run as soon as they can. Or they may find themselves going through the trap door on the last day of this season.
  5. Arsenal become ever more dependent on captain fantastic Robin Van Persie – Van Persie was the difference between Arsenal and Sunderland this weekend. The Dutchman was in majestical form. His intelligence, clinical finishing and wonderful technique gave Arsenal an edge over their opponents this weekend. When Sunderland equalised, Arsenal became nervous. The team’s passing had no real substance or direction and the Gunners were not really threatening as much as they possibly could have. As the last 10 minutes loomed, Arsenal were growing in agitation and so were their fans. When Robin Van Persie stepped up for the free kick in the 82nd minute, it would take a man who could handle the pressure and the expectation to lift Arsenal out of another miserable Premier League disappointment. And Van Persie didn’t fail. Mr . Arsenal scored a sensational free kick which was enough to consign an out of form Sunderland to defeat. But there are two causes for concern for Arsenal which can be learnt from this weekend. Firstly, the team struggled to beat a poor Sunderland side who haven’t won their last three games. The worry about this is that, better sides in better form will face Arsenal and if Arsenal struggle against the in-form sides, the Gunners will lose. Secondly, Arsenal are becoming ever more dependent on Van Persie. The fact Van Persie has scored 41% of all of Arsenal’s Premier League goals this season proves his contribution to Arsenal has been substantial. However, if Van Persie gets injured, do Arsenal have the players who can pick the team up and score goals consistently? I fear they do not, Arsenal hinge on Van Persie, its vital for the Gunners progression that he stays fit and injury free.

Five Statistics from this weekend

1.) 90% of Arsenal’s points this season have come at home.

2.) 5/7 of Jermain Defoe’s last Premier League goals have from outside the box.

3.) Liverpools last three direct free kick goals in Premier League have come against Man United.

4.) 11/15 of Chris Samba’s Premier League goals have been from headers.

5.) Wolves have failed to score in the first half in their last six Premier League games.

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