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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Things Learned from the Weekend Football (August 13-15)

It was so good to have something fun to watch on Saturday afternoons as the Premier League returned to action- it has been a long couple of months without football and I am just glad it is all back up and running.

So what have I learned from this weekend's football:

1) Manchester United still need to improve away from home: This might sound funny considering United won at the weekend, but they looked like they were a little short of ideas in the 2nd half after dominating the opening 35 minutes of the game.

After only winning 5 of 19 away from home last season, it was good to see United start with a win, but I still think we will learn a lot more about them in their next two trips to Bolton and Stoke.

2) Sergio Aguero could be a real difference maker for Manchester City: The Argentinian could not have asked for a better debut for his new club after scoring 2 goals and setting up yet another in the 4-0 win over Swansea.

For a long period it looked like City were really missing Carlos Tevez as they struggled to create real openings, but the arrival of Sergio Aguero midway through the second half changed the whole attacking philosophy of the side and he looks like a player that can make a real difference.

If City sign Samir Nasri too, they could be a real danger this season.

3) Liverpool are going to find things tougher with the new expectations of them: A lot of Liverpool fans came into the new season with huge expectations of their side, but I think the team may still struggle when they are expected to win games without the freedom of being so far behind in terms of points as they were since Kenny Dalglish came back to the club.

They did play well in the first half against Sunderland but couldn't put their opponents away yet this was a game they would most likely have won in the second half of last season when the pressure was off the side.

There are still some big issues in defensive positions for the team and I still think a top 4 finish would represent a good season for this side.

4) Wigan are in for another relegation scrap: I can't help but think this side is going to struggle again this season as they have lost some creative talents like Tom Cleverley and Charles N'Zogbia and they don't strike me as a team that will score enough goals to make survival a straightforward task.

Roberto Martinez has kept doing a very good job in tough circumstances at the DW Stadium, but the next two weeks already look big for the Latics as they visit Swansea and then entertain Norwich.

5) Referee's inconsistencies need to be rectified: I am sympathetic as to how tough the job referees have, but the inconsistencies that blight their performances need to be resolved quickly as it infuriates managers and fans alike.

We have had the early bookings for 'diving', a policy that disappears as the weeks go by and more and more players get away with it, while it seemed unbelievable that Kieron Richardson was not sent off for tripping Luis Suarez when he was through on goal.

Mike Jones was the ref during the West Brom-United game and he had a poor performance in terms of consistency. He booked Ashley Young for an accidental trip that had Sir Alex Ferguson confused, but then allowed James Morrison to get away with an identical challenge just minutes later that had Fergie shaking his head- that kind of inconsistency is so frustrating.

Jones also allowed West Brom to resort to tactics I haven't seen since the early 90's when Leeds and Wimbledon decided to pummel Peter Schemeichel, but surely David De Gea should have got more protection from some of the second half challenges he received. Would Stoke have been allowed to get away with the robust challenges? I think not- inconsistency!!

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