Monday, August 15, 2011

Shane Long for West Bromwich Albion (v Manchester United), 14 August 2011

So, the Best League In The World is back with a bang for a brand new season of, well, exactly the same as we're used to.

1. Opposition manager has a go at Stoke City

If there's one thing likely to get our hackles up, it's the assertion that teams who do not play Barcelona-esque fancy football are somehow less worthy than other sides. The whole idea of football is that there are an infinite number of ways a match can turn out, and countless different styles of play, player and tactics.

This time it was new Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas having a pop at Stoke for their 'over physical style' (conveniently ignoring the presence in his side of John Terry and Didier Drogba, neither of whom would back out of a fight if one were offered).

Arsenal under George Graham and Arsene Wenger are two very different types of side but both ended up winning the league. Teams play in different ways, and we wish Stoke all the luck in the world.

2. Joey Barton makes headlines

Joey Barton is to the back page of the Daily Express what Princess Diana and Madeleine McCann are to the front page. This time it was his scuffle with Gervinho and his 'being stamped on' by Alex Song that thrust the wantaway Newcastle midfielder into the spotlight.

Barton had a point regarding Song (who will no doubt receive some retrospective punishment) but dragging the Ivory Coast striker up by his shirt and roughing him up a bit before throwing himself to the deck after the faintest caress on his cheek didn't do Barton any favours. To be fair to Barton, he has acknowledged that he 'went down a bit easily' but, yet again, trouble follows the controversial midfielder.

3. Arsene needs to sign a centre half and holding midfielder

How many seasons have we been saying this now? And what will he do? Sign a diminutive trickster to add to the twelve he already has on his books.

4. Kieron Dyer gets injured

You really couldn't make this up, could you? 35 appearances in four seasons. He's only 32, you know.

5. Sir Alex proves once again that signing goalkeepers is his Achilles heel whilst Sky's analysis is ****

Mark Bosnich. Massimo Taibi. Andy Goram. Tim Howard. Jim Leighton. Les Sealey. Ben Foster. Fabien Barthez (to some degree). Roy Carroll. Ricardo.

And now we can add David de Gea to that list. Looking like a beanpole student who can't find his way to the lecture theatre, de Gea flapped and fumbled his way through his league debut looking a pale shadow of the impressive character who helped Spain to the European under 21 title.

Clearly he will adapt to life in England (Peter Schmeichel famously had a nightmare in his first away match at Wimbledon) but a 20 year old playing behind novice centre halves for the next few weeks could cause Sir Alex some sleepless nights.

Whilst we're on the subject, Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville's inane analysis on Sunday was something to behold. The pair blamed de Gea's nervous performance on 'having to come to England and cope with an intimidating atmosphere.' This is the same goalie who has played 100 La Liga games including matches at the Bernebeu as an Atletico player, yes? I gather that's much less intimidating than a Sunday afternoon in West Bromwich....

Sigh. Not much changes, does it?


swisslet said...

Interesting one to add to the mix: the Barton/Gervinho incident saw all the pundits banging on about how you "can't raise your hands like that"..... Barry Glendenning, the Guardian journalist, was highlighting on twitter that no such rule actually exists, and all the pundits who cite that "rule" haven't troubled themselves to look up the rules of the game they're amply paid to analyse.

pay per head reviews said...

I hate that people might things that kind of thing. I don't think that Barcelona is in the top of the world. There are teams that they play better.