August 21, 2012

The sweet return of the EPL

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

The English Premier League is back and even after one weekend, we’ve gotten plenty of drama.

In Manchester, we saw the defending champions troubled by another squad of champions: Promoted side Southampton, who won League Championship last year. Just like in the amazing finale to last season, City grabbed a lead, gave it up and had to rally back from a goal down to claim three points. That’s just something that shouldn’t be happening to a side as good as the Sky Blues.

The other Manchester team – geez, when do you think United were ever called “the other Manchester team?” – started their season in less than spectacular fashion. The Red Devils were blanked by traditional slow starters Everton. To make matters even more frustrating, new signing and defending EPL player of the year Robin van Persie started the game on the bench and didn’t do much in the 22 minutes he did. It seems that the adapting period will be longer than expected.

RVP’s former team, Arsenal didn’t do so well adapting to life with him either. The Gunners couldn’t capitalize on their many chances against Sunderland, settling for a 0-0 draw. Hopefully their new signings will come through before the fans stage a revolt.

The unluckiest team of the week had to Liverpool. Their game against West Brom featured two penalty calls – one weak and one that might have been the worst call I’ve seen in years – and rather soft straight red card. Losing 3-0 to a side that will likely be fighting the relegation battle is a rather poor way to start Brendan Rodgers reign.

But let’s not forget about the joint leaders of the Premier League because they likely won’t be there for long. Both Fulham and Swansea plowed their way to amazing 5-0 wins. Not to take away from their achievements, but this seems to happen every season. Look at last year, when Bolton beat QPR 4-0 on the first day of the season. Celebrate while you can Cottagers and Swans, your EPL reign won’t last.

Speaking of QPR, what were the odds that in their season-opening games in the EPL, they would lose by a combined 9-0? I guess that’s what they get for trying to overhaul their team every off-season.

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