EPL rewind

The distractor was away this weekend so all I did was watch EPL this weekend.

1.Hull City v. Bolton. I know I am biased but I have never seen a substitution so change a game. Bolton were dominating and Altidore comes on and all of sudden Bolton’s defense which had nothing to do all day had to scramble. He set up a goal with his first touch 28 seconds in and he almost (everyone thought it was in) had a great goal shortly after. My favorite part of his performance came in the last few minutes. Zat Knight got in Altidore’s face in an effort to intimidate him. The next minute the ball is hoofed forward Jozy out muscles and outworks Knight controls the ball and leaves him in his dust on the break. I have seen enough he is not just very good – at 19 should be tapped to be a big star.

2. Spurs did something I have not seem the do – maybe ever – play badly and win. Spurs were just not in sync against a decent West Ham and the quick rhythm passing game was just not happening (Huddlestone passed the ball into the stands like 4 times). However they capitalized on West Ham’s mistakes, defended well, and had one moment of brilliance from Lennon. It was a performance that should bring Spurs fans back to earth – ie we won’t win the league – but there is enough quality there to really contend as we did under Jol.

3. Man U’s 5-0 victory glosses over real deficiencies. A telling stat – Wigan had 51 percent of the possession. 51 percent. I saw the middle portion of this game from about 30th minute to the 65th and in that half hour or so Wigan were very much in the match. Everyone is talking about how the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez puts pressure on Rooney and Berbatov to score more goals – it does – but it also will put a lot more pressure on Man U’s central midfield. When Man U was playing a 4-2-4 with Rondaldo, Tevez, Berbatov, Rooney, teams were incredibly hesitant to get forward, afraid to leave themselves exposed in the back. You simply couldn’t mark all those guys and the tempo that they played at offensively and defensively relieved a ton of pressure on the defense and central midfield. That just isn’t the case now. On Saturday, Man U had a traditional 4-4-2 Berbs and Rooney up top, Nani and Valencia out wide and (at least on Saturday) Scholes and Fletcher in the midfield. This is a good team but that midfield is not a midfield that looks likely to win the league – let alone the battle of possession with Wigan. Seriously Scholes and Fletcher? True, Man U scored 5 goals, but at the 55th minute a 0-0 draw was more likely. What should scare Man U is that I (and I believe most observers) would take Spurs midfield of Modric, Lennon, Palacios, and Huddlestone over United’s.

4. Chelsea looks really strong. Watching them however is like watching a team in Serie A – they are boring really boring and play with a really slow tempo. But it is working. Fulham are a good team and they barely had the ball the entire game. I think this is a team that trudges along with a lot of 1-0 wins – the only question will be do they give up too many draws playing this way.

5. Man City look soft. They just got Lescott and another Brazilian defender and they need it. I watched the last 30 min of this game (after Man U exploded) and boy did they look shaky in the back. Wolves should have equalized – they hit the bar – and looked threatening every time they lofted the ball into the box. City created a lot of chances, but they look soft and should have paid the price for not putting the game away.

6. Arsenal look like Arsenal. But with the Cesc Machine out for 3 weeks will they sputter?


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