Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Three Things We Learned This Weekend

Liverpool Have A Problem. A £35 Million Problem

Despite starting the season on a high, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish must not be able to sleep well at night. I know I wouldn't when confronted with the problem of having a striker on your books that costs £35 million but that does not fit into your team or style of play.  When selling Fernando Torres to Chelsea and replacing him with Andy Carroll, many Liverpool fans were confident that the free scoring Geordie would continue his exploits for the Reds.  This, however, has not been the case.  

Andy Carroll now has only two premier league goals to his name for Liverpool, both of these coming in the same game, but this is not the main reason why he should fear for his Liverpool future.  The fact is that Liverpool play better, so much better, without Carroll on the pitch.  Two of their best performances under Dalglish, against Fulham last season and Bolton over the weekend, came about when Carroll was not in the line up and the industrious Dirk Kuyt was preferred up front.  The team play a much more fluid, free flowing game that manages to get the best out of the world class talent that is Luis Suarez and enables the team to string five passes together without feeling the urge to hoof the ball in the air to Carroll.  

It has been said that Dalglish had bought Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam to accommodate Carroll's talents. It may well be the case that Liverpool are better off without the big man in the first place.   

Arsenal Don't Just Need New Players, They Need Leaders

Arsenal were badly beaten on Sunday. So badly beaten that Ferguson himself said that he didn't want United to score any more goals because the game had become "embarrassing".  Wenger at one point over the weekend suggested that he would not sign any more new players, but everybody knows that he will spend more money over the next 24 hours.

The real issue, however, does not rest on the number of players but the type of player he buys.  Arsenal are in dire need of experienced, seasoned professionals that can lead the team through crises such as these.  People have a go at Wenger for his policy of buying youth, but it is his selection of older players that is circumspect.  Against United on Saturday, Van Persie, Arshavin, Rosicky and even Walcott can be considered senior players, yet all of them were missing throughout the game.  Van Persie in particular does not seem like a natural captain and, with Jack Wilshere needing to mature a bit before he can become one, Arsenal are seriously lacking in that department.

So news of the signing of German international Per Mertesacker sounds like a wise move, and a couple more players within that age range and that level of international experience is essential.  The question remains whether Wenger may have left things too late and I guess we will only be able to tell at 11pm.   But when Wenger does buy, and he has to buy, he needs to give signing unknown 18 year French kids a rest for this summer at least.  

Manchester Is The New Home Of English Football

Manchester 13 North London 3.  That figure says it all.  After watching their bitter rivals annihilate Spurs at White Hart at lunchtime United went three better and put eight goals past Arsenal.  It wasn't just the scorelines that suggested that the Premier League will definitely go to a Manchester club, but the ways in which the two teams played.  Dzeko, as mentioned last week, is looking dangerous and the manner in which Samir Nasri seamlessly fitted into the Man City line up was scary.  On the other side of Manchester, Ashley Young is coming into his own and Nathan Cleverly needs to learn how to grow ginger hair and tackle badly and we can confirm that he is the new Paul Scholes.  

Manchester is the new home of English football.  And it looks like either one of the two teams will be winning the 2011/2012 premier league. 

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