You can’t criticize the Premier League for one thing, and that’s a lack of goals. The opening two weekends of the 2010-11 Premier League season have seen a cascade of goals flying into the back of the net. And it hasn’t just been Chelsea and Arsenal getting in on the act. Even Blackpool and Newcastle United, two recently promoted sides from the Championship, have lost one game but won the other in convincing fashion.
If you want entertainment, despite some of it being very one-sided, this is the league to watch.
But I think it’s time for all of us to take a deep breath and not start to panic – especially if you’re a supporter of Aston Villa, West Ham United or Wigan Athletic.
Clubs such as Wigan Athletic and West Ham United, who have both started the season off disastrously have zero points but they shouldn’t start sacking their managers anytime soon. Wigan were abysmal in their first game against Blackpool, but the Latics played much better against Chelsea and matched them pretty closely in the first half. The second half was a different story where Chelsea showed the difference in class as they obliterated the Lancashire club. Despite the result, Wigan will hopefully gain some confidence from at least improving their performance. Although it’s hard to see that by looking at the scoreline.
West Ham United are a club, too, who started the season abysmally with a woeful performance on opening day. They were all over the place against Aston Villa, but their performance greatly improved against Bolton Wanderers this past Saturday. In the first half they were in the game and creating chances. The second half was a different story though and Bolton deservedly won the game.
It’s been a bizarre Premier League season so far. Aston Villa, who looked so impressive in their opening game against West Ham United, lost their momentum against Newcastle United when John Carew missed a penalty and Ashley Young had a goal unfairly disallowed because of an offside decision. Newcastle then deservedly tore Villa apart with sensational striker Andy Carroll embarrassing Aston Villa by scoring a hat trick.
The match at Craven Cottage between Sweaty White Shirts and Manchester United was the most entertaining game of the season yet, by far. Here were two teams that both had their chances to win all three points throughout the game. And there was plenty of ebb and flow, which made it thoroughly entertaining to watch. After Paul Scholes scored the early goal to open the scoring, it seemed as if this was going to be a game where Manchester United would continue being in the ascendency. But Fulham fought back, battled hard in midfield and were very creative going toward goal.
With ten minutes to go in the game, it looked more likely that Manchester United would grab a late winner as they usually did. And they scored from an own goal that went into the back of the net after being deflected from a corner. And when Manchester United were awarded a penalty decision in the 87th minute after Damien Duff handled the ball in the area, it looked a certainty that the Red Devils would walk away from west London with the three points. But Nani took a tame shot which was saved well by Dave Stockdale. Hangeland then knocked in the equalizer to give Fulham a well-deserved draw.
Arsenal, meanwhile, looked very impressive against Blackpool. But their advantage was even more in their favor after Ian Evatt was sent off after 31 minutes. From that point onwards, Blackpool didn’t have a chance of winning this game. But again, just like Wigan’s loss against Chelsea, the scoreline didn’t accurately portray how the game was played. Blackpool, even when they were several goals down, kept their heads up and continued to play an attractive style of football by passing the ball on the ground.
Speaking of attractive football, Gareth Bale scored a sensational second goal for Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday to give Spurs the three points needed to win this game. However, Stoke City supporters should feel cheated by the clear goal that crossed the line but wasn’t awarded by referee Chris Foy.
Let’s hope Monday’s match between Manchester City and Liverpool is equally exciting as some of the games we saw this weekend.
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