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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Things we Learned from the Weekend Football (October 1-2)

It was a very interesting weekend for me as Saturday looked to have killed me and left me in a big hole this month, mainly thanks to some sorry officiating and bad luck with injuries. However, the outlook looks much brighter as much of the damage was saved thanks to a strong Sunday when all 3 picks came in, including the biggest pick I made this week.

Below is a few of my thoughts from the weekend as we get ready for a 2 week break from the Premier League:

1) Jack Rodwell's sending off was rightly rescinded, now what happens to Martin Atkinson?: The decision made by Martin Atkinson essentially helped my 'overs' pick fall down, but it was the shocking nature and terrible decision making that was in question.

Everton learned earlier that Jack Rodwell will not be suspended as the FA, rightly, decided to reverse the decision.

All of this means something has to be done about Martin Atkinson, the most card happy referee in the Premier League. He has to be demoted, in my opinion, as he should not be put forward to referee top flight games when he cannot make the simple decisions- if the tackle was made 30 yards from him, I would be more forgiving, but he cocked up from all of 2 feet and that is unacceptable.

Jack Rodwell was going to miss 3 games, I think that suspension should be given to Martin Atkinson and then he should be forced to referee Championship games until he can prove he is good enough not to put his dirty rubber stamp on a Premier League game again.

2) Manchester United have real defensive concerns: The Basel game made it clear that United were having a few problems at the back, but Norwich became the latest team to expose these weaknesses. I am less entitled to blame the defence as I feel they are given little to no protection from the midfield, allowing teams to break with 4-5 players breaking on the back 4.

Nemanja Vidic has been the biggest loss as his experience and leadership quality really would help the younger members of the back 5, and United will be desperate to the get the Captain back in the team ahead of the next 3 Premier League games at Liverpool, at home against Manchester City and at Everton.

3) I have said it before, but Arsenal are going nowhere with that defence: I said after Arsenal made their transfers in August that I didn't believe Arsene Wenger had improved his squad that much and they were panic buys from a manager under pressure.

Arsenal are conceding far too many goals to earn a top 4 place this season, with the 2 goals conceded at Tottenham meaning they have conceded 14 goals in 3 away games since drawing at Newcastle, and the Gunners are well off the pace compared with Liverpool, Spurs and the top 3 from last season.

Bacary Sagna is the latest injury at the back when he unfortunately broke his leg on Sunday, Thomas Vermaelan is a long term absentee, and I see problems for Wenger.

They are coming up to an extremely soft section of the schedule in the next few weeks, facing Sunderland, Stoke, West Brom, Fulham and trips to Norwich and Wigan, with only a trip to Chelsea being a big test.

I would expect Arsenal to start moving up the table, but defensively they need to improve.

4) Wigan and Bolton are both in a bit of bother: Both of these sides look like they are going to be in for a real scrap for their Premier League lives judging from their early season form.

Bolton had ended the season with a really bad run of form and they have lost 11 of 12 games in the Premier League, while Wigan continue to look like a side struggling to score goals.

Wigan had much more of the possession against Villa on Saturday, yet lost without causing too many problems, and it looks like a long season for both of these sides.

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