August 27, 2013

Don’t compare Man City’s upset loss to Arsenal’s

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It’s funny how two big upsets can garner two different reactions.

Last week we saw Arsenal lose 3-1 to Aston Villa at home, a team that was nearly relegated last season and is very green.

This week we saw Manchester City lose 3-2 to newly promoted Cardiff City, a team that was shut out last week by a very average West Ham squad.

Arsenal was stuck with the “crisis club” tag and people were calling for Arsene Wenger to do something – anything – including step down.

Manchester City? They’ll be just fine.

The biggest difference between the two clubs is that one is willing to make changes, bring in new players and adjust on the fly. The other club is Arsenal.

With Matija Nastasic and Vincent Kompany both hurt, City was forced to plug defensive midfielder Javi Garcia in on the back line. Considering they gave up three goals, I’d say it didn’t work out. I’d be surprised if we don’t see the Citizens head back into the transfer market to sign a new defender this week. It won’t be a huge name, but at least someone to plug the hole. Let’s face it: When Fraizer Campbell is repeatedly burning you on runs, you need some help.

And that’s more than we can say about Arsenal.

Granted, the Gunners did bounce back from their Gameweek 1 upset with wins in Fenerbache and over Fulham, but these were two teams that aren’t in the best of shape either. If Arsenal wants to contend and stay in the top four with Manchester United, City and Chelsea, it needs to do something in the next week, before the transfer window slams shut.

MORE DRAMA THAN ACTION

The supposed match of the week – and of this young season – was supposed to be Chelsea paying a visit to Old Trafford on Monday. What we actually got was 90 minutes of transfer speculation with some rather average football.

Honestly, the Wayne Rooney saga is far more interesting than the outcome of the 0-0 draw, so maybe it is understandable why the announcers were as infatuated as they were.

In case you didn’t know, Chelsea, who are in need a striker that can capitalize on the build-up play from their stunningly creative midfielders, have lodged two bids for Rooney. United’s English star is reportedly unhappy and the club and would like to leave.

So, perhaps in a move to get in Rooney’s head, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho didn’t even play a true striker for most of the game. As the announcers commented, was this just a way to show Rooney where he would be slotted in?

And then there’s this whole scenario with Juan Mata. For some reason, Mourinho hasn’t felt fit to start the Blues best player from last season. Is he on the way out, is he being rested for some reason? You never really know for sure with the Chosen One in charge.

THE SUMMER’S BIGGEST SAGA DRAWS TO A CLOSE

It looks like Gareth Bale is finally getting his move, Real Madrid is finally getting its man and Tottenham is finally getting its boatload of cash. So, it all finally makes sense now.

The usually frugal Spurs went on a spree this summer, signing several high-profile targets. Many wondered if it was an attempt to satisfy Bale and take some pressure off of him, but it turns out the team was simply preparing for his departure.

I’m sure it was no coincidence that the money the team spent this transfer window is oddly close to the amount it will bring in when the Bale deal is official.

And that number, in case you were wondering is an outstanding, record-breaking $134 million.

Quite the tidy sum.

Let’s just hope that it works out for Real Madrid. There will be a lot of pressure on the Welshman to perform and a lot of star power surrounding him.

AROUND THE PREMIERSHIP

Is it just me, or is Joe Hart looking very timid? There’s a little bit of David De Gea from last season. He wouldn’t come out to claim corners and it cost his team … It looks like Chelsea has swooped Willian from Spurs, who swooped the Brazilian from Liverpool. Adding another creative midfielder is just another sign that Mata may leave. Samuel Eto’o is also reportedly close to coming to Stamford Bridge … Two games, two penalties for Spurs. That two more than last season … Anybody else notice that Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino bares a striking to resemblance to Roger Clemens? Better check him for PEDs … You know it’s a weird week when Maraoune Chamakh scores a goal. But if he’s the answer for Palace the question is likely going to involve a season-long relegation battle … If Sunderland thinks it can defend for 85 minutes straight, it has another thing coming. That was a bad decision to play so timid by Paolo Di Canio.

FANTASY CORNER

The best part about the season finally being under way is that we can figure out which players are actually playing. There’s nothing worse than seeing a zero under your guy’s name … It’s also nice to scoop up the cheap guys that will put in 90 minutes every week. Guys like Pajtim Kasami, Ross Barkley and Robbie Brady are great bargain buys.

FINAL THOUGHT

You have to love the way that Liverpool is looking. It is playing a possession style that also has some directness to it. The two questions are how will it deal with Lucas’ inevitable injury and how well will Luis Suarez meld back into this team? Also, how long can it get away with playing Kolo Toure at CB?

Leave a Reply