After a relatively internet free long weekend I return to see three new pages of posts on this blog. As I catch up on the news about the flurry of buying activity on the last day of transfer markets I am perplexed to see there is not one article I can write about transfers. So I am going back to the basics with a near actuarial analysis about August performances and an informed prediction for September.
Chelsea followed a near clinical disposal of Portsmouth with less than overwhelming performances against Hull and Tottenham stuttering to a near halt in the final game. Still they have conceded just a solitary goal in 3 outings and that one from an easily avoidable mistake – something that will be avoided in future after enough ‘Scolarification’. The emergence of Deco has already sent chills through London, Manchester and Liverpool.
I foresee a complete Chelsea romp in September that means a win at home over a Manchester United + or – Berbatov, No seriously, its gonna take Man Utd some time to get used to the genius of Berbatov. Berbatov is a player of such brilliance that you need to play for a while with him to understand his game and use it to your advantage which is the same argument I make for myself every time I have a bad football game.
The game at the new Abu Dhabi bankrolled super Manchester City ground will be an acid test for both teams – Chelsea to prove that Roman Abramovich’s billions mean more and Man City to prove that the big 4 has become a big 5, But I think Chelsea will have enough steam to see off Robinho’s Stepovers and the kitchen sink to scrape a win. The game against Stoke City – well.. if Stoke can play like they did to beat Villa, they need to play better than that to get anything against Chelsea.
Manchester United have been bailed out of jail this August by part time player – Darren Fletcher. I haven’t seen anything else spectacular from them this season and since Ronaldo is not coming back this month, and Berbatov is going to need some time to work his brilliance at Old Trafford, I have to say, it is reasonable to expect Rooney and Tevez to do the honours. If they fail, United are going to look at a very steep slope to climb.
A visit to Anfield and Stamford Bridge sandwiched with a tough Champions League home game against Villareal. It can’t get harder than that for them. They also face a surprisingly attack minded Middlesbrough side in a Carling Cup tie and unpredictable Bolton Wanderers towards the end of the month. United need make a statement by winning at Anfield and at least drawing with Chelsea, or else…
Ok, two back to back good results against Newcastle and FC Twente mean its crunch time for the Gunners. Earlier, they were abysmal against Fulham and depended on West Brom’s lack of firepower to win their first game. But losing after a couple of good results is like an alcohol addiction for the Gunners. Adebayor and Cesc seem to be back to their best and Nasri is definitely better than Hleb but.. see that’s the problem, the Arsenal side is like that drop dead gorgeous girlfriend you can’t introduce to your Mum because there is always a – ‘but..’ with her.
The North London flyweights have three away games to start with and one of them in Kiev. Those games are going to be rough ‘grind out’ games against Blackburn and Bolton (the perennial Arsenal bullies). If they can get off those games ok, they have it relatively easy after that with games against Sheffield United, Hull and Porto to round off the month. The month of September is important for the Gunners as they need to use this month to pull away from the Big 4 teams that get bruised by fighting each other.
Liverpool have had last gasp goals in 3 games and were held to a draw at Aston Villa. They are currently 2nd in the table but are extremely lucky to be there. I was extremely sad when I saw Gerrard’s drive in the 94th minute that sucker punched Middlesbrough. They always seem to lack that extra dimension or spark or just that winning attitude that could make them champions.
They start September’s games with a home game against an equally clueless Man Utd side and need to scrape a win if they need to considered as serious contenders. After seeing the dismal wingplay so far, I would expect Albert Riera to go right into the first team squad to inject some creativity there. The only other hard test for them is the derby against Everton and I can’t predict how that goes. This could be Liverpool’s month of glory if they can finally become the sum of their parts.
OK.. thats it for the big 4.. I will do the others in two more articles.. I hope my predictions go wrong and the Premier League does become a much more competitive league as the tables show now. Still very early days though, but we could still dream for a bit..