jump to navigation

Premiership weekend review and top five goals August 31, 2009

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
trackback

This season the top four could be really vulnerable. That’s what pundits say more in hope than expectation every year and it always proves false. Truth is, while clubs like Aston Villa and Everton can assemble impressive lineups, they can’t fund squads deep enough to sustain a challenge to the oligarchy.

So I’m sure you can see where this is going. Manchester City. I didn’t really believe it myself until this week, but it wasn’t the blues’ win over Portsmouth that convinced me, at least not entirely, that they might have bought their way into the elite. Rather it happened across town from the City of Manchester Stadium as Robin van Persie changed direction to cut onto his left foot and shoot at the Old Trafford goal.

It got me thinking of the anatomy of a title-winning team, to which I believe a brilliant playmaker and a deadly, exuberant, two-footed finisher are essential. Van Persie is Arsenal’s principal striker, but as his change of direction proved, he’s not two-footed, and as the distance between the shot’s destination and the goal proved, he’s not much of a finisher either. But Arsenal at least has the playmaker in Cesc Fabregas, and maybe Eduardo, Nicklas Bendtner or Carlos Vela can prove to be the finisher.

Who knows whether Manchester United has either. Wayne Rooney seems capable of being both, but undecided about which he prefers and a little bit wooed besides by the idea of pretending to be Roy Keane or Dennis Irwin every now and then. Dimitar Berbatov has done nothing to suggest he’s reliable. Michael Owen? It’s not impossible, but not probable either.

The point being, Emmanuel Adebayor and Steven Ireland definitely seem closer to that ideal than anything at either of those teams. And, for that matter, so do Jermain Defoe and Luka Modric. Tottenham Hotspur has always had billions, but has also always been too free with them. This summer, Harry Redknapp was admirably conservative (and I loathe the man), and it gave the Lilywhites something they’ve lacked: team chemistry, consistency and confidence. It’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible, especially not with the possibility that men like Giovani Dos Santos and David Bentley might suddenly prove themselves at any time.

For the record, I’m not saying Arsenal and Manchester United will drop out of the top four. Liverpool’s more likely to, because although Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard do fit the ideal, they are surrounded largely with knockoffs (Kyrgiakos, Lucas, Dossena). But I begin to think someone will fall. And it’s more expectation than hope all of a sudden.

Top five goals of the weekend:

5: Gabriel Agbonlahor vs. Fulham: It wasn’t a tremendously important goal to much of anyone. Much of anyone not named Gabriel Agbonlahor of course. The man’s long slump after Villa fans began booing him shows he’s a confidence player. And the thing about confidence players is, the slightest hint of confidence can suddenly spark brilliance in them. Agbonlahor didn’t score the first goal, but the P.A. announcer thought he did. And maybe remembering what those words sounded like and hearing the cheer that attended them drove him to hit that left-footed beauty past Mark Schwarzer.

4: Aaron Lennon vs. Birmingham City: I might have moved this one a little high because it felt good to me. Warning: this paragraph will be more criticism of Lee Bowyer than praise for Lennon. That tackle on Luka Modric was gruesome and violent. It hurt to see the league’s most horrid little man injure one of its most wonderful. When Bowyer scored, it made it even worse. The only thing that could have made Lennon’s winner better, then, would have been if he ran over to the former Leeds and West Ham man to rub it in.

3: Glen Johnson vs. Bolton: Glen Johnson’s proving to be a hell of a player. He’s not one of the knockoffs I mentioned above. Attacking fullbacks are the difference-makers in the modern game, and not many of them are as good at beating men or as skilled with their supposed weaker feet. Here Johnson demonstrated the talents that made him worth so much of the Reds’ cash by cutting inside a Bolton defender to fire off a perfectly placed left-footed laser.

2: Andre Arshavin at Manchester United: He gets extra points for having the balls to shrug off a shuddering tackle from Darren Fletcher moments before. Some players would have rolled around in agony. Arshavin’s eyes danced with flames. He chased the ball down. He used his next touch to set up a swerving wallop into the top corner, to take out his anger on the ball, and to ram it down Manchester United’s throats.

1: Ashley Cole vs. Burnley: I’m a sucker for one-two passes. Even more so when they end with sumptuous, first time half volleys into the far corner from oblique angles. Before he married a celebrity and said some stupid things, he was just a very good footballer, remember?

Advertisements

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: