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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Things Learned from the Weekend Football (August 20-22)

So another weekend of football has passed us by and this is a few things I have taken from the weekend:

1) Are only Manchester United players behaviour brought up for the FA to discuss?; Now I am not one to think the FA are biased against all things United, but surely someone has to explain how Raul Meireles of Liverpool has got away with clearly flipping the bird after Liverpool scored their 2nd goal at Arsenal.

It was clearly caught by the Sky TV cameras and even Luis Suarez decided to slap down the offending Meireles hand- however, there was no mention in the media of the act and no witch hunt that this player is setting a bad example to any youngsters watching.

When Wayne Rooney was swearing at the camera last season at West Ham, the FA came down hard while 'Match of the Day' and 'Sky' analysed the incident to death and earned Rooney a 3 match ban.

Now where are these same moral guardians after the Meireles incident? Why isn't the minimum question of WHO was Meireles swearing at being asked?

I wonder if there would be a difference if the next time Wayne Rooney scores he randomly throws out the 'wanker' gesture at any direction, although something tells me a 10 month ban would soon follow.

2) The good old topic of referee inconsistencies shows itself again: So is the one week policy of booking players for diving (ie Gervinho last week at Newcastle) over, or is it English players will not be given cards for the same act as Johnny Foreigner?

The first Chelsea goal against West Brom showed the inconsistency as Frank Lampard's attempted dive in the box was not punished and Nicolas Anelka scored from the move- have a look at the West Brom defenders all demanding something be done for the blatent Lampard dive and forget about defending for a split second that allowed Anelka to get his shot off and equalise.

The issue of diving is so subjective, but the bottom line should be a policy across the board- either decide to book any player the referee thinks is attempting to con them, or don't do it at all... But don't decide one week you will book players, yet the next you will just allow it to happen.

3) Juan Mata is the perfect signing for this Chelsea team: While watching the Chelsea-West Brom game last week, I could not help wondering that they did not have a spark in the midfield which will provide enough goals for a very good forward line. The inability of the likes of Lampard and Mikel to beat players and the inconsistency of Salomon Kalou meant they looked devoid of ideas.

However, when it was announced that Juan Mata will be coming in, I could not be anything but impressed- he has pace, can beat a man, can score goals from midfield and can create for others. His position in the wide areas will also give him more time to adjust to the Premier League as he is not in the hustle and bustle of centre midfielder, the hardest place for a creative talent to make an immediate impact when not playing in the League before in my opinion.

If Chelsea can also persuade Tottenham to part with Luka Modric, they will be a real threat in the Premier League and Champions League.

4) Swansea may struggle for the goals to keep them in the top flight: Swansea have not scored in their first 2 Premier League games and were fortunate to pick up a point against Wigan on Saturday at home, and I have this feeling a lack of goals will cost them their place in the top flight.

They have signed Danny Graham from Watford, but his inexperience at this level may be too much to overcome, and there is a distinct lack of goals in the side.

Defensively they will give the opposition chances, and that is not a good combination for survival.

5) The pressure of playing at home for the Championship favourites could be a problem early in the season: The two Championship favourites at the start of the season were West Ham and Leicester City, yet they are combined 0-1-3 in their home games so far.

It seems the expectation levels are making it harder for the players to perform, particularly as the squads were revamped over the Summer and it may take a little bit of time for them to make an impact in front of their own fans.

It is telling that both of those sides are 3-1-0 away from home, with Leicester conceding a goal in injury time on Saturday to prevent a clean sweep.

With teams travelling to Leicester and West Ham with nothing to lose, they are able to take advantage of any nervousness in the home teams. That could be something to keep an eye on as we move into September and October.

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