What a start to the Premier League season… for precisely half of the Premier League clubs. For the other half, it has not been good at all. The reason? Every single game this weekend has ended in a positive result for someone, i.e. there have been no draws.
This fact alone is not necessarily positive: If there were 10 home wins out of 10 it would be a major cause for concern – “Is the Premier League too predictable? Is home advantage too much of an advantage?” would be ringing from the rooftops of the cynics looking for something to moan about – but that is of no relevance whatsoever: Six of the ten games this weekend were away wins, and with two of the top four being at home, five of the non-big four games were away wins – whichever way you look at it, it’s a big positive.
Of course there are mitigating circumstances, three of the away wins – West Ham at Wolves, Fulham at Portsmouth and Man City at Blackburn – were very winnable for the away teams involved, but even that leaves 2 away wins to one home win. Search high and low, you will not find a disproving fact. The away teams have won this weekend.
Maybe this weekend is just a trend within itself – Mido himself is proof that spectacular starts on the first day of the season mean little – but maybe this is a precursor to an attacking ethos from middling teams away from home, more attacking games between middling clubs, and a more attacking league overall. Followed by goals, drama and, in short, fun. Am I getting a little carried away? Probably, but let’s just hope that the days of “playing for a draw” at Villa Park, The Reebok Stadium or Fratton Park are carried away with me.
“Big Three” Slow To Start
There are only three teams who can win the Premier League title, apparently. The general consensus being that one of Liverpool, Manchester United or Chelsea will win the title because of:
a) Their variety of matchwinners: Three out of their 39 outfield players scored this weekend. Five players scored for Arsenal alone.
b) Their watertight defences: Chelsea conceded at home. To Hull. Liverpool conceded two goals – directly or indirectly – to set pieces, and both were avoidable. United’s back four – Fabio (a left back – *thanks Joel, lazy blogging*, at right back), John O’Shea (Captain for the day. Don’t get me started…), Jonny Evans (talented, but still quite raw, and quite unfit) and Patrice Evra – was at best shambolic defensively (Evra apart) and worst atrocious. In short, all three seem there for the taking at the moment.
Arsenal, Man City, Spurs and the other “also rans” behind The Omnipotent Triumvirate will get their chance. It’s now. Take the crown before the giants wake up, or be glancing worriedly down towards the Europa League for the rest of the season.
(N.B. My dear friend/chance acquaintance (delete where appropriate) David Critchley has a new football blog at his fingertips. Please follow him, because you’re all that he has - davecritchley.blogspot.com )