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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Things we Learned from the Weekend Football (September 17-18)

A little later than usual, but these are a few things I have taken away from the results over the weekend in England.

1) Aston Villa struggling for goals: It is not always a good decision to make rash judgements on a team, but Alex McLeish is making Villa into another version of his Birmingham side that could defend well, but not score enough goals.

It is not all the new manager's fault considering Villa have only scored more than 1 goal in 2 of their last 10 home games... In fact they have only scored more than 1 goal in 33% of their last 12 games so they have to be a team I avoid for the next couple of weeks and take a watching interest instead.

2) Titles are won in May, not September: Unbelievably, United have moved to odds on to win the Premier League in many places now, but I am not ready to buy their dominance just yet- anyone who watched the game on Sunday will surely accept United got the breaks and were fortunate to escape with a win.

Patrice Evra agreed that United need to play a lot better and the next month will tell us a lot more about the side after they play League games at Liverpool and Everton and also host Manchester City.

History will also show that titles are not won at this time of the season, with only a look at last season showing that off- at this time last season, Chelsea were 4 points clear having won all 5 opening League games and they had a +20 goal difference, yet ended the season with no trophies and sacking their manager.

While the latter part of that will not happen to Sir Alex Ferguson, it is far too early to be handing out medals just yet.

3) Arsenal will not make the top 4 with THAT defence: I did warn people in my preview of the Arsenal game that they are not a good price at odds on away from home with a defence that had been lucky not to concede more goals in recent weeks, yet other sites had tipped them 'to win to nil'... Win to nil? Did no one else watch them against Swansea and Borussia Dortmund?

Arsenal should have lost in Germany and they were very lucky to beat Swansea at home, yet you would have thought it was the 2nd coming of George Graham's famous defence when reading reports from those games.

There is not enough 'proper' defenders in the Arsenal team, the ones who will happily have their nose broken if it meant keeping a clean sheet, and I am really not convinced with their new signings.

Per Mertesacker supporters keep telling me about the number of caps he has picked up for Germany, but he was criticised in his home country for a 'lack of pace and immobility', 2 elements that will be exploited in the Premier League.

I agree the team will take time to find their defensive shape, but I am not convinced they will be good enough to make the top 4 with the personnel they have.

4) Leicester may have got over the home 'heebie jeebies': Leicester had a very strong home record last season, but, as I have mentioned before, I felt they were struggling a little bit this season because of the expectations that this team will win promotion to the Premier League.

After losing their first 2 League games at the King Power Stadium, they have won back to back games there against Southampton and Brighton, 2 unbeaten teams that were flying high in the League.

I think that could represent a turning point at home for a team that has plenty of Premier League experience and quality to count on and I think the Foxes could start pushing their way up the table, especially if they keep their away form up too.

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