Sunday, August 05, 2007

What have we learned

I tried to cast an eye over the Man Utd versus Chelsea game on Sunday afternoon with a view towards who might be the strongest in the Premiership and - later on - in the Champions League. I am not sure I learned all that much from a game which did little to raise the blood pressure until it reached the inevitable penalty kicks.

Neither side was at full strength (maybe Man Utd were closer to it) and there was little chance to judge the new signings (particularly on the red side). Nani seemed to struggle to get into the game when he came on. While Mourinho will no doubt be pleased that Florent Malouda appears to have settled in well.

It's never easy to take too much from these games but I am beginning to see Chelsea as a bit too one-dimensional to really be a great team. Sure, everybody looks in their physical prime but where is the invention and creativity? Joe Cole? Sean Wright-Phillips? Man Utd are certainly the more pleasing on the eye but they have looked shaky at the back in pre-season which will encourage their rivals. I haven't seen much of Liverpool - the supposed third force - but they will have to shake off the shackles of being even more dull than Chelsea to make a challenge. They have made some exciting signings but will the tactics remain the same?

Oh, and I thought the Special One might have got his boys to practice penalties.


Pat said...

Man U are the favourites in my opinion. Though I think they may struggle due to the fact their defending Champs and everyone is going to want to make it difficult for them.

Chelsea will struggle if they dont get their wingers back on the pitch but at least they dont have to deal with being defending champs again.

I hate Liverpools squad at the moment. It doesn't seem to allow too much tactical diversity unless he plays people out of position and its still more of a conservative cup team than a league team.

Arsenal have to come top 2 this season or their building period of the last few years is going to have counted for not much. its great to have lots of good youngsters with potential but at some point potential needs to become silverware, or at least good consistent performances

BRN SCOZIA said...

Like them or not Man U do look like the ones to beat both in Engerland and also Europe.They do play football the way it should be played so for that we have to admire them. I was at the Killie - Ceptic game yesterday and I thought Donati looked pretty good for them but like the rest of the team really lacked the cuting edge.He aint the next DiCanio and time will tell how he adapts to the SPL.He looks like an athlete which is something the best Scots dont look like.Whilst i didnt fancy him at my Milan I'd take him at Killie!
Still nearly 3 weeks til the Serie A season starts-seems like an eternity!

TrentToffee said...

"...but I am beginning to see Chelsea as a bit too one-dimensional to really be a great team. Sure, everybody looks in their physical prime but where is the invention and creativity?". Right on the money again Ginkers. Chelsea are in serious need of a midfield play maker. Someone in the mould of a Deco, or a Pirlo. They play too much by numbers in midfield. Lumpard is a straight running blunderbuss, Essien is a hard tackling wall, and Ballack a clothes horse (at the moment). But they lack anyone with a bit of invention. Personally I think they should give Joe Cole a decent run in a central midfield slot - at least he's prepared to run with the ball.

I'm with Pat and Scozia in that Man Utd are the favourites. I also think that they'll win at a canter. They will batter all before them (i.e Fulham, Sunderland, Bolton) where others (Chelsea, Arsenal) will struggle to *win*. And, with Tevez in the ranks, they'll have another good run in Europe.

I just hope it's open and entertaining. That Everton play well and notch up some memorable results. That Man city have a good season (it's good to see some Italians back in the EPL). And, of course, that Liverpool *fail miserably* on all fronts.

But I have a new team to watch (I hope). Forza i Grifoni !!

ginkers said...

A clear consensus for Man Utd it seems. Do we have any thoughts on who might break up the big four and blast their way into Champs League contention?

I would like it to be Man City fired by 20 goals from Bianchi but I don't doubt Trent wants it to be Everton. I know a lot of people tout Tottenham but have they really moved forward?

As for the Celtic, a slow start is fine and that goes for Donati too. Bit worried about the lack of edge, I have to admit, but its too early to start to panic. Isn't it?

TrentToffee said...

Man City are certainly good for a top 7 finish. Eriksson (and his acquisitions) will make that much of a difference. He'll organise the defence, and motivate the Bianchi, Corradi, et al. They'll start scoring goals again. He'll *coach* the team. Rather than run up and down the touchline, punching the air, like that twerp Pearce. Eriksson has won Serie 'A'. Need I say more ? And, perhaps sky blue is his lucky colour :0)

Tottenham have a soft underbelly. Newcastle are crap. Everton are too sloppy everywhere. I tip Man City and Villa for big turn-around seasons.

ginkers said...

Intriguing, although I'm a bit afraid Man City might crash and burn. They will be exciting to watch for sure.

Pat said...

im a bit skeptical. Just cos Man City signed a few players a new manager doesn't mean much. Sven may have done well at lazio but this is a much different prospect and all the players there know about his England failure.

TrentToffee said...

"...England failure" Nice one Pat. I'd argue that he took a bunch of reasonable, but ordinary, players to two World cups and a European championship. And then took them as far as they were realistically going to go in those tournaments.

At club level things move much faster and there's a different level of commitment. Who knows, I may be eating humble pie by the end of the season. But I expect Man City to be much, MUCH better.

Anyway, back to Ginkers original topic. Who will be the stongest EPL team in the CL ? Man Utd. And if they land Tevez they could go all the way to Moscow. The CL final is in Moscow, right ?

martinobhoy said...

Has Tevez went to Man Utd yet? I wish they'd hurry up and finalise the move. Dont they realise there's a sad scemo in Leith trying to finalise his fantasy football team for the weekend?

Pat said...

while you are probably right about the england failure TT, I dont think the reality of it matters as much as the perception of his performance as England manager and if things don't go well from the get go Man City's new players might start to remember an Arab sheik, some secretaries and a disappointed nation and point the finger squarely at Sven.