Premier league review

by Matt Quinn

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Football is back

32 goals, referees being respected, Villa winning, both my fantasy teams having an admirable start…. The premier league was back this weekend, and there was little not to enjoy.The Arsenal v West Brom game was a strange choice by Sky for the opening televised match. Predictably, the game panned out exactly as most expected and, as such, any sense of spectacle was lost. Tottenham, my tips for the top 4, were undone by a strange team selection and a vibrant Boro outfit. However, while making a mockery of my earlier article touting the North Londoners for great things, it was at least a defeat at the hands of one of my dark horses in the premiership this year; Boro. A team with any number of interesting attacking options with Alves, Downing, Tuncay, Mido, Alliadiere all capable of grabbing the goals needed to propel Boro up the table. With a couple of new, youthful signings to add to their already impressive cache of youngsters, I think Boro have the tools to shock a number of the bigger boys this year.

Aston Villa started the season as they finished last. Scoring plenty but conceding far too many also. However, the impressive dismantling of Man City on Sunday made rather a mockery of Capello’s astonishing England squad sans Young and Agbonlahor. With startling omissions like these, ergo the omissions of youth and pace, it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish any differences between Capello’s and McClaren’s reigns at the moment. Although the possibility remains that Capello is actually McClaren, fooling us all with a cunning Italian accent.

The top 2 in the premiership enjoyed contrasting fortunes during their opening fixtures. Man Utd looked rather poor for long spells against a revitalised Newcastle team and one look at the squad at Fergie’s disposal suggests that reinforcements are needed if the mystique of “invincible United” is to be maintained. Of course it is early days, as each and every pundit has told us this weekend, but the manner in which Chelsea inflicted defeat on Portsmouth should concern those at Old Trafford. The first 45mins of football at Stamford Bridge was some of the most exhilarating and one-sided I have seen for years, made all the more impressive as it was achieved against the current FA cup holders. With both full-backs playing like wingers, intricate passing by their classy midfielders and fluid movement by the forward line, the shackles appear to have been taken off by Big Phil. In their new signing, Deco, they have someone capable of unlocking the tightest defences and someone who possesses, as anyone who has watched the little Portuguese schemer over the years knows, a fiery side which will stand him in good stead against the more physical nature of the Premiership. Personally, I am delighted Deco is in the premiership as he is technically one of the most outstanding players to watch as a neutral. The saying used to be “Stop Deco and you stop Barcelona”. I think you can now substitute Barcelona for Chelsea.

At the bottom, Stoke stuggled against Bolton, while Hull got off to a flyer against Fulham. This could encapsulate the season that awaits for these two teams. Stoke appear to be workmanlike but bereft of inspiration, while Hull may just have enough craft to potentially scrape enough points to survive.

Overall, it proved to be an enjoyable weekend in the Premiership with exciting football and goals galore. Nothing will be decided as a result of the opening fixtures, although Chelsea have certainly sent out a message, Hull have given themselves the commodity of hope, and I have to take Valeri Bojinov out of my fantasy team.

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  • Darren

    lets all laugh at the Spuds!! top 4 my ars!!

  • Jackie Emu

    I think Boro will be okay but need cover in a variety of positions especially Goal-keeper which has the fans far from convinced.
    Villa look a better bet than Spurs for breaking into the top 4 although far too early to say really.
    And on the weekends evidence Chelsea to romp to the title…and bookies already paying out on stoke going down! One game and the season is already predicted!

  • tef1on

    Spurs were playing 4-0-6 at the weekend… great tictacs there from Ramos. Barbietov looked like he was going to cry a few times, but then again being put on the bench and loosing a place to Darren Bent… think i would cry also! Hate to say it Spuds, but… I told you so

  • Martyn

    Yeah alright, Darren but as I said, I wouldn’t be too comfortable with scraping a 1-0 at home to a relegation favourite (Eboue in midfield or not). We’ll beat Sunderland at home next week and I think we’ll both agree Sunderland are a better team than West Brom and I think it’ll be more convincing than a 1-0.

  • Darren

    so come on then, hands up who had Agbonlahor in their fantasy league team? 2nd quickest hatrick in Premier League history, 7 mins, Fowler holds the record for his in 4 min against Arsenal, he always scored against us.

    I’m still laughing at the Spuds…

  • Darren

    a win is a win, like I said 3 points read the papers, look at United, struggled to beat Newcastle at home, only Reading and Man City came away with anything from Old Trafford last season. And there is no guarantee you’ll beat Sunderland, Keano will have them fired up after their defeat to Borapool.

    if you can win and still play badly which we didn’t then you are in with a chance, as usual the Spuds believed their own hype, as the Flavour flav would say, ‘don’t, d-d-don’t. Don’t believe the hype’!!

  • Darren

    See what you mean about Capello, that squad is awful, how on earth is Jenas in the squad and Young isn’t. The only player with genuine pace is Walcott. Dafoe is quick if he stays onside.

    Expect another up torrid qualifying campaign, lots of 0-0 draws and 1-0 scrappy wins

  • Roy Evans

    i would prefer Rooney and dafoe duck up front for England. what else can we do? a lack of talented strikers in england. kevin keegan was right we will be searching the lower leagues for english internationals before too long. maybe its started already Heskey from wigan, are they still in the premiership?….what ever happened to Steve Bull and David White awesome on their day!

  • Darren

    Andy Grey was better, and Carlton Palmer, playmaker in center mid, great manager too. Bring him back, and Batty, he was a brilliant midfield dynamo, he reminded me of Zindane. Lets make all the Scottish players English then we may have a a chance of finishing 3rd in our group.

    Go go Sven Steve McCapello!

  • Stevie

    Capello hasn’t impressed me one bit, looks like the FA will be paying out another 5 mill at the end of another terrible campaign. We all know Martin O’Neil should of got the job!

  • Danny Brothers

    It was nice to have the Premier League back on Saturday, Match of The Day on Saturday night and all that…Newcastle surprised me by how adept they were as a team and their new players with extraordinary haircuts will scare anyone!

  • Parks numero uno

    I thought the first weekend of the Premiership season was quite boring. I’ve never been so unexcited about the start of a new season.

    I’m hoping that it will get better once the Champions League starts.

    All the talk about Spurs breaking into the top four is crap,they will lucky to finish 6th,they have injury prone defenders,an erratic goalie and no proven strikers.

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