Sunday, August 16, 2009

Premiership Lookback – 1st Round of Matches 15/08 & 16/08

Really great to have the Premier League back and what a weekend it was. Great games and great goals all round. Winners and losers all round with no games drawn.

1) Man Utd v Birmingham

Man Utd got off to a winning start and that is no surprise against promoted Brimingham. Rooney already looks to be prospering after being deployed upfront from the start and being the main man this season. I am sure most soccer observers will agree when I say he will be massive this season. He did well for the goal and looked sharp through out.

I think their midfield isn’t great this season, with the aging Scholes and Giggs and the workman-like players around the. Valencia and Nani both had decent games, nothing great. Man Utd really need Nani to prosper this season.

I do think this could be Sir Alex's weakest squad compared to the ones he had for the last 10 years.

Man Utd did not play particularly well in this game, they had some decent chances but did not trouble Joe Hart much in the game. Berbatov still looks off the pace in a Man Utd shirt for me. Maybe starting Owen will be a good idea, although he should have scored with the one on one chance he had towards the end after coming on.

Birmingham could have started with Benitez up front. He forced Foster into a good save towards the end and did much to trouble Utd after he came on.

I was disappointed by McLeish’s approach. Altough playing at Old Trafford, they will have no better opportunity to attack Man Utd with Van Der Sar, Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Carrick all out. They need to utilize the likes of McFaddden more.

Do expect Utd to improve as the season progress and with players returning from injuries. As for Birmingham, an encouraging performance, however they do need more quality in the squad. If they play like they did in this game, they will have a sniff of a chance of staying up. They will need to win games soon.

2) Tottenham v Liverpool
Along with the game at Goodison, the game of the weekend for me based on excitement and quality. The game started slowly for me and Liverpool especially played poorly for 75 mins. Not until when Benayoun came on did they start threatening.

Spurs look solid in defense with Pool seldom threatening. They could have the game wrapped up by half time if not for Pepe Reina. Robbie Keane should really have scored with the header he had in the 1st half. Great ball by Modric to set him up.

Assou-Ekoto scored a real belter. A great goal to put Spurs in the lead just before half time.

Lennon has been a real disappointment for me, For all the pace and talent he has, he really needs to learn how to use the ball better. Time and again we see him break away from defenders like they do not exist; however decision making and his passing of the final ball have been poor. Without proper use of the ball, all his hard work of creating space and getting away from defenders will be useless.

Bassong looks great on his debut, capping a good performance with the winning goal. A great signing for Harry who have done well to sign Crouch as well. Defoe had a quiet game but it really was Palacios who shone for Spurs. He could be the best of Harry’s signing at Spurs and for he looked to be the best holding midfielder for me on this showing. Certainly not Mascherano who had a poor game for Pool.

Masch looks a little lost for me without Alonso alongside him. He used to pass the ball to Alonso after winning it but he had no one to pass to in this game. Lucas and Babel had a shocking game for me. With no support from midfield, Pool looks very flat going forward. Stevei G looks frustrated and Torres had a quiet game after having a knock early in the game after challenging with Corluka.

With no midfield passer in the team, the team play for Pool looks very predictable. Benayoun was probably Man of the Match for Pool even though he played only the last 15 minutes.

Most Pool fans will be stunned by Rafa’s stubbornness by insisting with Lucas in midfield. To say Lucas is an adequate replacement for Alonso shows his biasness shown towards Lucas.

The solution might be to play Benayoun on the right and move Gerrard to midfield and play Kuyt behind Torres.

Babel has often shown in the orange shirt for Holland but has been so disappointing for Pool.

A good start for Spurs and they already has more points than they had from their 1st eight games last season when they only had 2. A good season ahead for Spurs under good management of Harry and they will be top 6 material.

For Pool, they only lost 2 games last season and still failed to win the title. Nothing seem to have changed this season with Rafa still slow to shake up his team. He waited 75 minutes before bring Benayoun on and he kept Lucas on the pitch. He should have taken Lucas off as Lucas is a more defensive oriented.

The pressure will now be on Pool now to perform after so much expectation. If they have a bad start and lose another game soon, Rafa will be under serious pressure.

A bad day for Pool all round with Torres and Skrtel getting knocks.

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