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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Things Learned from the Weekend Football (August 27-28)

A bit later than usual due to my covering of the US Open outright picks and daily picks, but these are my thoughts from the weekend football:

1)Where else to start but Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal: This looks more like a baseball score than it does a football match as United completely and utterly destroyed the Gunners.

I think there is much more to say about Arsenal than there is to say about United. The goals scored by Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young were very good, but the defending of the away side would have looked embarrassing on the Hackney Marshes on a Sunday morning.

The most apt comment I heard following the match from a fellow United fan was 'how could Arsene Wenger allow the Invincibles to become this'- when looking back at that team that remained unbeaten, it was hard to imagine ANY of the starting XI on Sunday being able to break into it.

I know Arsenal have had injuries, but since selling both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri I don't think it is reasonable to say they were missing enough players to justify the scoreline from Sunday. Alex Song, Thomas Vermaelan and Bacary Sagna would have made a difference, but it has been clear to most Arsenal fans throughout the Summer that they needed reinforcements.

Wenger tried to be clever with the media in suggesting both Fabregas and Nasri were not going to be sold, but did anyone really believe that? And if we didn't believe that, HOW have Arsenal not had replacements lined up?

It seems it will be a busy couple of days in the transfer market for Wenger, and this could be the ultimate test of his management at the club- get these wrong, and it would not be a great surprise if Arsenal decide to move on without him next Summer.

I personally think Wenger deserves a chance to get things right at the club, but his stubbornness may already have cost the club a place in the Champions League next season.

2) It is far too early to put Liverpool down as potential Champions, but they are going the right way: I don't think Liverpool are ready to break their 21 year run without winning the League this season, although I was more than a little impressed with their performance in the win over Bolton at the weekend. The team looks to be settling down nicely for Kopites, but I think the game against Sunderland at the start of the season is more an indication of why they will not win the League this season.

In all honesty, I think Kenny Dalglish's aim this year was to return to the Champions League and Arsenal's problems suggest there will be a chance to grab the 4th place available for English sides.

Luis Suarez looks a handful and Steven Gerrard is yet to play a game this season. However, I still think they need defensive reinforcements although the signing of Sebastien Coates looks a decent one.

3) Chelsea should break the bank to get Luka Modric: Once again, the Chelsea midfield looks pedestrian at best against a side that should not cause too many problems and it was only the introduction of Juan Mata that gave the side an additional cutting edge.

I have no doubt the attackers will get the goals IF they are given the service and so I would do everything to buy Luka Modric, a player that will keep the midfield ticking along. The likes of Ramires and Frank Lampard just do not have the capabilities that a Modric will give the team, especially if Roman Abramhovic has real ambitions of winning one of the two top prizes this season.

With Modric and Mata, Chelsea can prevent a Manchester duopoly- without, I can't see them being creative enough to win the title or the Champions League.

4) Manchester City are the real deal: I was very impressed with the ruthlessness of City at the weekend as they literally took every chance they created in dismantling Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

The fluid, interchanging football of David Silva, Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero will cause most teams plenty of problems, while Edin Dzeko looks like the striker that couldn't stop scoring at Wolfsburg.

They still have other options like Adam Johnson, James Milner, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez and look more than set to go close in both the Premier League and Champions League this season.

Personally, I cannot wait for October 23rd.

5) Blackburn look in a bit of trouble: If Saturday represents the type of luck Blackburn will enjoy this season, they are worth punting on to be relegated.

After missing not one but TWO penalties, Everton were controversially handed one of their own to somehow steal all 3 points at Ewood Park.

Steve Kean may be looking for a new job sooner than later considering the owners expectations of a European berth.

With August drawing to a close, I will not be making any more punts on the football until September so below is the end of month results:


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