Premier League Review: Great Expectations.

16 08 2010

Here we are again. The opening weekend of the Premier League season passed with a pleasantly mixed-bag of shocks and inevitabilities throughout. Chelsea end the weekend top of the table, whilst West Brom end the weekend bottom. Didier Drogba tops the scoring charts. On the face of it, little has changed. But, as we see below, not everything was so predictable…

“I didn’t see that coming…”.

Blackpool’s 4-0 win at Wigan. A coupon-buster across the country, Ian Holloway’s men took advantage of a horrendous Latics defensive performance, in addition to Marlon Harewood remembering how to, well, be a striker, to stun the Premier League and top the table for a couple of hours. The Tangerines go to the Emirates next weekend two points ahead of the North Londoners, and will hope not to follow the path of fellow early-season successes Burnley and Hull in failing to capitalise on their moment in the spotlight.

– The goal of the weekend coming from Wolves, of all places. Molineux didn’t exactly grab the largest share of attractive football last season, but Dave Jones’ extravagant free-kick against Stoke will be one of the better moments seen in Wolverhampton this campaign. Flicking the ball up to yourself, then proceeding to volley the ball home from twenty-five yards during a direct free-kick is definitely something to try at home, kids…

– Everton toothless in attack. Everton began last season poorly, with injuries littering the squad. This season, with Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill and Louis Saha fit, in addition to Jermaine Beckford transferring in to bolster the striking line-up, Everton looked set to start the season with a bang against a typically average Blackburn Rovers. It wasn’t to be, with the eighty minutes following Tim Howard’s early blunder were not exactly filled with striking opportunities, despite midfield domination. Wolves visit to Goodison Park next weekend could provide the perfect antedote.

Joe Cole’s two-footed karate lunge at Laurent Koscielny, earning him a red card on his Premier League debut at Anfield. He’s just not that sort of player…

“Same ****, different season…”

– Stamford Bridge, the home of goals. Chelsea have now scored twenty-eight goals without conceding at home, and the train kept a-rolling against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday evening. In the same vein, Didier Drogba continued last season’s goalscoring exploits with a well-earned hat-trick, and Florent Malouda continued the kind of form that made him one of the players of the last campaign.

– Goalkeeping howlers. After a World Cup of extraordinary cock-ups courtesy of goalkeepers from across the planet, this weekend such hilarity was brought to the Premier League. Tim Howard dropped the ball at Nikola Kalinic’s feet for the only goal of the game at Ewood Park, whilst Chris Kirkland made numerous attempts at making everyone forget about Robert Green being England’s least confident custodian right now. Until, of course, Robert Green’s weak punch brought about Aston Villa’s first goal at Villa Park. Even the certified ‘Best Goalkeeper In The Premier League (TM)‘, Pepe Reina, gifted Arsenal a point through punching the ball into his own net late on at Anfield. Thank goodness for Joe Hart, eh? And I’m not even going to mention Manuel Alumunia…

– City are probably still not good enough to win the league. A damning assessment after one game away to last year’s fourth-placed side, for sure. However, the problems City need to overcome looked numerous on Saturday lunchtime. Tevez’s role as a ‘false nine’ ended with him being, well, a ‘real nine’, and he became City’s only out going forward, and the only player on the field for City who looked like scoring at all. Jerome Boeteng will surely enter the side upon full fitness, with Micah Richards being torn to pieces by Gareth Bale, whilst the Barry/De Jong/Toure partnership in midfield does not seem to have entered full flow in the slightest. City have spent the pennies, and Milner and Balotelli are yet to arrive, but they will need to improve on Saturday’s rusty performance to get anywhere near the title any time soon.

– Joe Cole’s two-footed karate lunge at Laurent Koscielny, earning him a red card on his Premier League debut at Anfield. Because, sometimes, he IS that sort of player…

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4 responses

16 08 2010
David

“Typically average Blackburn Rovers” David I am disappointed. I watched the match and we were magnificent in defence and midfield. I do feel that we are just a hard team to play against and made Everton look average, we stopped Everton from playing. I do not think Everton dominated the midfield, they had possession but we did not allow them to supply their strikers, I am happy for any side to come to Ewood and pass sideways or backwards. Unfortunately we lost David Dunn early on so we did then just lump it forward and try to win the second ball. In terms of goalkeepers Paul Robinson was excellent. Phil Jones was superb in midfield Arsenal can keep their £9m.
We are quietly confident with this season especially if the takeover happens which is looking likely. We may always be last on MOTD and we need more arte to go with the labore but I am expecting more teams to play badly against us this season.

16 08 2010
dkdickson

I knew you’d be on it! I honestly thought Everton would be absolutely fantastic, and Arteta would do enough to frustrate Rovers into kicking him about. There was little from them, and that’s what surprised me.

Agreed though, bastard of a place to go, Ewood.

17 08 2010
David

As for goalkeeping howlers can’t we just blame the ball, after all it is what we did in the world cup.
Excited by having £100m to spend on players, nervous at what Big Sam will get.

21 08 2010
SoccerDotTel

The goalkeeping howlers are certainly cause for concern. It’s pretty disappointing when games are decided by poor handling, let’s hope this isn’t a recurring theme…

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