Save your Plan B, guys. It was a good weekend, but not that great. This early in the season, it’s hard to not get carried away with speculation, good or bad, about the way the season is going to end for a lot of teams. If I had it my way, the season would end today, and Chelsea would win the title. Swansea and West Brom would be in Champions League, and City would have to qualify for the competition. Liverpool would be relegated. That would be really fun, actually. Sad fun? I think the Germans have a word for that. ANYWAY, short-term, this weekend was a nice window into what slight/massive adjustments teams are going to have to make to turn their early fortunes around.
Van Persie pointing at the almighty CTHULHU.
Let’s start early Saturday where Fulham looked completely drained of any motivation to take on West Ham. Some teams can play unmotivated and still get away with a decent performance or result (See: United, Chelsea, and City), but enhanced by Allardyce’s tactics, Fulham were completely out of the match at kickoff. West Ham’s new exchange student, Andy Carroll, had a great match for the Hammers before he had to be taken off for a hamstring injury. West Ham’s midfield just bossed the match. Fulham have the tools to move forward and avoid another topsy-turvy season, despite losing both Dempsey and Dembele this week. I have always felt Fulham have built decent depth at positions all over the field over the past couple of years. They should be okay. (West Ham 3 – 0 Fulham)
Swansea showed great character on Saturday after going down to Sunderland twice in the same match. It was the sort of character that could only be forged through experience in the top division. Swansea bided their time, played their football, and came up with the draw. All three points would have been preferred, but Sunderland, through their recent acquisitions, are amassing a formidable squad. It was a decent result for all. Martin O’Neill is doing a good job at Sunderland, and I consider this draw at the fortress that is the Liberty Stadium a warning shot to the other mid-table teams in the division. (Swansea 2 – 2 Sunderland)
West Brom continues to roll over teams quietly. I did not watch much of this match, but I was impressed with the amount of chances they created against an Everton team that was also off to a great start. (West Brom 2 – 0 Everton)
Agent AVB is doing a JOB on Tottenham. Spurs have not developed an identity, yet. The significant chances to the squad through the transfer window have hardly helped. It’s hard to say what system Tottenham implemented on Saturday. There was no structure. Defense and attack failed to link up anywhere on the field, and Bale looked lost out there. It felt very much like last year’s Chelsea. Gylfi Sigurdsson looked despondent when he left the field. He is not playing with the same youthful vigor he exhibited at Swansea last season. Defoe was ineffective, and the backline was being terrorized by a collection of lower league all-stars. (Tottenham 1 – 1 Norwich)
City handled QPR. (Manchester City 13 – doesn’t matter QPR)
Arsenal finally got off the mark! 2-0! Unfortunately for Liverpool, it was at Anfield. Caz(thhhh)orla looked wonderful as he paired up with Giroud (I need to figure out a pun where his name becomes a pun that references something completely shitty and not ready for the Premier League). Except for a few shaky seconds, the Arsenal backline looked great.
For Liverpool, last year, the chances were there, and the team couldn’t finish. This season, the chances aren’t coming at all. Perhaps it was tactics or just not being good enough, but Liverpool were just dangling fruit for Arsenal to pluck by the end of it all. Terrible performances from Gerrard, Borini, and Reina didn’t help. Rodgers has more reasoning and evaluation to do before this team can perform. I’ll leave conjuring up solutions to Liverpool’s problems to people who know more than I do. I’ll say this. Liverpool’s performances are due to an unenviably layered and complex set of problems from the ownership through the administration and the players. Good luck. (Liverpool 0 – 2 Arsenal)
I’m incredibly proud of Villa’s performance at St. James’ Park. Reinforcements are coming for Villa, and they should be safe this season, maybe. (Newcastle 1 – 1 Aston Villa)
People have already spoken at great length about the Southampton v. United match. There isn’t much I can add except that Southampton let off United in a big way. Southampton looked ready and in the match for a large portion of the game. They were in it. Chests puffed out and heads up, they came at United with no problem. Puncheon and Lambert had great matches, as well as Lallana. Perhaps it was the missed RVP penalty that scared Southampton and made them play more cautiously, but somehow, fear struck the Saints HARD. United almost too easily walked all over Southampton at the end of the match. Two late Robin Van Persie goals sealed his hat trick and a United victory.
Three points or not, United cannot play like that if they want to compete against the bigger, stronger teams. Like Tottenham and QPR, they looked disjointed and without purpose. They rode their luck out there. Without Rooney, they have no direction in attack. The defense looked out of sorts on the flanks, and the Southampton attack had no problem whipping in crosses to Lambert and Co. (Southampton 2 – 3 Manchester United)
Finally, Chelsea didn’t play this weekend because they were busy embarrassing themselves and getting publicly pantsed by Atletico Madrid, namely Falcao. The Chelsea antidote for this loss has apparently manifested itself in the sale of Raul Meireles and not Florent Malouda. They’re going to keep Malouda on the books just in case Chelsea need someone to come onto the field and make absolutely no impact at all. God knows we don’t have enough attacking midfielders and pseudo-wingers. (Atletico Madrid 4 – 1 Gary Cahill)
Don’t fuck up this great start for me, RDM.
FUN THINGS THIS WEEK:
A German girl wrote a love song for Anderson Cooper look-a-like and freeze tag enthusiast, Alan Pardew. She looks like a shorter Taylor Swift, which is a good thing, imo.
Ronaldo is sad about something, and that can only mean more goals and less leg pointing. I think we all win.
I’m usually the guy in the white cap when penalties are being taken. I want to thank the camera team for grabbing this footage. It made my weekend a little brighter. However, all of these poor bastards don’t know what’s coming next — Robin van Pers-three.