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Monday, 11 November 2013

The aftermath of a fascinating Premier League weekend

What an astounding weekend of Premier League action it really has been, showing and proving to the world that the Premier League is by far the best league in the world. The competitiveness of all the teams in managing to compete with the top teams in the league is incredible.

THE WEEKEND WINNERS

SOUTHAMPTON - You have to mention this team, currently lying 3rd in the Premier League after 11 games and a mere 3 points behind the leaders is an astounding achievement. They are becoming consistent, exciting to watch, well organised and the rise of some of the younger English players has been fantastic to see. Players like James Ward-Prowse and Luke Shaw rising to through the ranks and not to mention the newly England trio of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez who have been fantastic. A lot of people including myself heavily questioned the decision to sack Nigel Atkins and appoint Mauricio Pochettino, but he has proved everyone wrong. Whether Southampton can maintain their start is another thing, but it is great to see this team in action this year.

MANCHESTER UNITED - A hard working performance against a lacklustre Arsenal side and the benefit of the poor results of Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham put United fully back in contention. The form of Rooney and Van Persie will be key to the success of the team this year and they are very reliant on these 2. However, if they play with the fight and passion of Sundays game then they will be in with a shout of regaining their title.

SUNDERLAND - Huge win for Gus Poyet's side against Manchester City. They will need to play with that fight more often this year if they are going to survive the drop and there is a lot of work for Poyet to do on the training ground, but that result will certainly have given the fans more hope.



NORWICH - Huge 3 points for the Canaries and more importantly for the future of Chris Houghton. A home defeat against West Ham would have potentially meant curtains for Houghton and when they went behind I'm sure many thought the same, but they came back strong. They need to make a big push and get on a run after the International break to move them clear of the drop zone.

CONTROVERSIAL POINTS



It was not the best weekend for referees, but none more so than Andre Marriner. That decision in favour of Chelsea to award them a last second penalty was one of the most disgraceful decisions I have ever seen. He should not be let off lightly. The speed at which he gave the penalty for a coming together was shocking. No thought went into it at all, and I feel there should be an explanation as to why it was given. We need to hear referees speak out and explain decisions at times. West Brom battled hard at Stamford Bridge and deserved the 3 points, but time and again the bigger teams seem to get the decisions especially at home games. It's not good enough anymore. Maybe technology is the answer, or maybe stricter standards for referees is needed.

The last second penalty brigade didn't end there and we saw it happen again at Swansea on Sunday, that gifted a point to Stoke City. This decision is more difficult, as I can see why the referee gave it for handball due to the player leaning towards the ball. However, he had a player directly in front of him and nobody seemed to appeal for the decision which is always a sure fire sign it wasn't a penalty. Swansea have been struggling with the demands of Europa League football and their Premier League form has dipped since last season, so 3 points here would of been valuable. Again I would like to have seen the referee come out and explain the decision, as in my opinion I thought it was very poor.

These decisions can cost jobs and something needs to be done about it. The demands of the Premier League are so extreme now a days, and the pace at which games are played at doesn't help referees and I feel they need more support. But they should be culpable for their actions.



ARSENAL UPDATE

Being an Arsenal fan it was very hard to watch the game Sunday, as it was a very very disappointing performance by the team, especially after the great run of form we have been on. Social media circles have been giving lots of stick to Arsenal for the defeat and in particular Ozil and Ramsey received a lot of stick too. Yes both were poor. Yes Arsenal were not fantastic. YET...we lost the game by a single goal and a goal from a corner. The second half we created a lot of chances and had opportunities to equalise. In previous years this would not have happened. United were not the same team as last year. They didn't have their usual cutting edge, or fluidity we come to expect from the Red Devils. I wasn't amazingly optimistic going into the game for some reason, but knowing we had a cushion at the top meant a slip up wasn't the end of the world, even more so after this weekends events.

The fact the game was so tight at Old Trafford certainly showed the improvements in the Arsenal side this year. We played poorly and our best players this season didn't show up, yet we only lost 1 vs. 0. That to me shows huge improvements and gives me plenty of optimism for the rest of the season and believe we really will compete for the title this year.


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

2013/2014 Who will win the Premier League

This will now be kept regularly up to date and when my new laptop arrives the whole page will be jazzed up for the 21st century as it is very out of date to say the least.

Anyways...What a start to the Premier League it has been with big results against the big teams for Cardiff - beating Man City and Aston Villa beating City and Arsenal away. United struggling, Spurs getting thumped at home by West Ham and Southampton beating Liverpool at Anfield too. Thats to name but a few. But these results are the big reasons why the fans love the Premier League so much. On any day, any team could beat any other, which is something that is not seen in other leagues around the World.

8 games in and the title could go anywhere in my opinion. Its Arsenal that have impressed people the most and the signing of a certain Mr Ozil seems to have given the side a huge lift in confidence! The rise of Aaron Ramsey has been nothing short of incredible and gives that new signing to the Arsenal squad as he is a completely different player to previous years where fans have constantly been critical of his performances. The football they have played this year and the battling characteristics to grind out results have been lacking for years at the Emirates, but maybe this is a big turn. I still feel they need to add some depth to their squad particularly up top, but I feel they could be there or there abouts. A tricky 6 games awaits them though and I feel that we will know more about their prospects after that.

Man City for me are the team to beat. Yes they slipped up in a couple of games but in both they were absolutely dominant and I expect with Pelligrini and the players all adjusting to work together they will soon find that regular cohesion and be a force to reckon with this year. The strength of their squad is a big key factor.

Chelsea will not be far behind. Mourinho back in the realm and leading his troops as Mourinho does. Always makes his teams hard to beat, sets them up in an extremely organised way and has a knack of grinding out results from poor performances. A strong squad puts them in a strong position to mount a challenge on all levels this year.

Manchester United on the other hand are struggling and find themselves quite a way behind already into the early part of the season. The importance of Sir Alex Ferguson has been proven (if people struggled before hand) and with David Moyes now in charge the team will take some time to adapt to a new style and a new man holding the reigns. The summer was very unsuccessful for United in terms of signings and only a deadline day deal for Fellani happened. A good solid signing, yet a player lacking the creativity which United so badly need. I feel they will come strong as the season continues and if Van Persie and Rooney stay fit I believe anything could happen. Signings needed in January otherwise the title will be easily taken from them.

Spurs have been the team that has impressed me a lot this year and they made some big transfers in the summer to cover for the loss of Bale. However the best signing of all has to be bringing back Andros Townsend from the countless clubs he has been loaned out too. Villas Boas has unearthed a gem here and in many ways has got some that brings you around 60%-70% of what bale did which would of been more than anyone could of imagined. The strength in their squad is fantastic and if they can continue to gel together there is no reason why Spurs won't be too far behind this year. A top 4 finish is certainly not out of the question.

Finally Liverpool. I have huge amounts of respect for the owners for giving Brendon Rodgers time, something that seems to be forgotten about in football. He has developed the team into playing some exciting football and Rodgers has also brought out the best in Daniel Sturridge who seems to be returning the faith shown by the manager with his performances on the pitch. Liverpool defensively may struggle at times and their squad does feel a little light to mount a title challenge, but a top 4 finish could be in their sights this year. With no European distractions expect a strong season ahead for the Reds.


If you have any comments on this please do not hesitate to contact me and I would love to have a discussion. If you have anything you would like me to discuss then I am also happy to write about that too.

Many Thanks

James