So it’s back to business as usual. We travel away from home full of home after a couple of good performances only for our hopes to be dashed. A return of that away-day hoodoo, bad tactical decisions from Jol or was it just not our day?
Last season we conceded the more league goals in the first 45 minutes of games than anybody else in the top flight. We travelled to the Black Country with a strange formation, imaginative, perhaps haphazard positioning of players, and no Bobby we looked to struggle from the get go.
Despite Wolves having not managed a clean sheet in any of their last nine games we struggled to even test Wayne Hennessey in their goal. With just 4 shots on target in the entire 90 minutes, and with just AJ leading the line we seemed limp and toothless for the majority of the match. And despite the possession (48% to Wolves 52%) and pass completions (76% to the hosts 77%) being almost equal, we always seemed second best. There were heads being scratched all round the visitors section too with people wondering where Baird has disappeared to with Hughes being shifted to the right side of defence and Kelly being preferred on the bench.
On a run of six straight wins City are the pace setters up the top of the table. In an entertaining match at the Rebok blues midfielder David Silva was in top, top form. The blues won by the odd goal in three in a game which showed their skills at attacking, with players switching positions like it was going out of fashion.
I used to manage a five-a-side team that would get beat week in week out, often by margins of 30 goals. Even with that record I’d still be confident of my boys getting some kind of result against Arsenal at the moment.
Imagine the worst situation – we lose Fabregas and Nasri – you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. I believe for us it is important the message we give out. For example, you talk about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving. If you give that message out, you cannot pretend you are a big club, because a big club first of all holds onto its big players”
That was what Arsene proclaimed back in mid-July. And now come the tail part of August it looks like, by his own definition, Arsenal are no longer a big club. Frimpong was the third Gooner to see red on his debut in the last year and it really didn’t help their chances much. It’s probably fair to say Liverpool made hard work of beating Arsenal and with an increased ban in European competition for Wenger it’s all shaping up for an interesting time at the Emirates. Will he splash the cash and bring some new faces in, or will he stick to his stubborn guns and soldier on with their traditional place in the top four looking less like a given than it once did…
Despite conceding first to a Shane Long strike, that lot down the road came back to beat the Baggies 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. After not being at the races in the first half, a tactical change at the break changed the flow of the game and goals from Anelka and Malouda gave the home side all three points.
It was a bit of Monday Night Football action for Man Yoo on the day they announced a record £40m sponsorship deal – just for their training kit! It was Spuds first league game of the season after the first day postponement of their Everton game and we’ll be kind and say they were a bit ring rusty. Man Yoo kept up their 100% start to the season with a convincing 3-0 victory over Spuds.
Sunderland had lost six of their previous seven games at the Stadium of Light before the north-east derby kicked off on Saturday lunchtime. They quickly chalked up another defeat when their local rivals returned across the Tyne with a one nil victory in the bag, which Magpies gaffer Pardew said “Will makes the Geordies summer”.
It’s not going too well for our old assistant manager Stevie Kean up at Blackburn. The three one loss at Villa Park now means he’s lost twice as many as he’s won there. While new Villa gaffer McLeish got a far more warm welcome than many had predicted for the home supporters the visitors were never really at the races. Surely now a matter of time before he gets his marching orders the Rovers look set to complete the signing of Vuccevic shortly. The answer to their problems or a final roll of the dice for the Scotchman? Meanwhile his goal for the Villains means Darren Bent has now scored 10 goals in 18 run outs since his move, the most prolific Englishman in that period.
Norwich are my tip of the three new Premier League clubs to stay up this season and it looked like they were set to claim their first maximum of the season against Stoke. That was until the last minute equaliser from Big Kenwyne Jones which was a bit harsh on the Canaries who had probably done enough to deserve all the points. While fellow newcomers Swansea held Wigan to a goalless draw in the first Premier League game contested outside of England’s green and pleasant lands.
Much to my disappointment QPR are off the mark with points. Now with a new owner and actually looking like a football team it kinda dashes my hopes of them being relegated by the end of the month. Losing by a goal to nil, it’s not looking too rosey for the Goodion Park fans. Though with his appearance on Saturday, and Liverpools Skrtel not playing, Leighton Baines becomes the only outfield player in the Premier League to have appeared in every minute of every game since the end of the 2009-10 season. Well done him.
Next up for the whites in the league is a 249 mile trip up the A1 to Newcastle for a Sunday lunchtime fixture. Of course before then we have the matter of finishing off Ukrainian outfit Dnipro at their gaff. Until then we sit in 15th place in the league.