Having very unprofessionally skipped out a week, my weekly (or bi-weekly..) round-up is back! With a week if the Premier League season under our belts, I'm sure we've all picked out relegation certainties, and title bankers....
I may as well start off with Arsenal, as they seem to be making the most headlines, and not exactly positive ones either. That may seem a bit harsh, with 2 games played in 4 days and none conceded, but in a similar way to Newcastle, the Gunners, and more particularly Arsene Wenger are being lambasted for selling off key players and not having adequate replacements in tow. Cesc Fabregas has been at the centre of everything good about Arsenal's play in recent years, but perhaps his exit can be seen as an opportunity for Wenger to rebuild his side in a more productive manner. It's all well and good playing the martyr with pretty football and frustrating results, but I would argue that Fabregas would be best replaced by someone in the mould of Scott Parker. Even Nasri could concievably, although obviously not ideally, let go, as Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, and Arshavin all remain. Balance is key to lasting and meaningful success, particularly in English football. Sides like Stoke have the same (yet oh so different) problem, in that they focus too much on one (physical) side of their game, and will only go so far. Now is the time for true growth at the Emirates Stadium.
Speaking of growth, I'm sure David de Gea will have gone through some sort of personal growth in recent days. Hailed on arrival as the perfect successor to Edwin Van Der Sar, he has suffered some unkind comparisons from many (including myself) to such flops as Massimo Taibi. His error against West Brom bore echoes of that goal by Southampton's Le Tissier. But we should probably note that even Schemichel had the odd error in his opening games at the club. Give de Gea time to adjust and we will see his true qualities come to the surface. I was not too impressed with Lindegaard's remarks in the wake of the West Brom match, about not being scared of being number 1 goalkeeper. The gentlemanly and proper thing to do would be to keep his opinions to himself, quietly put forward his case in training, and show public support for his rival keeper. Then again, I can only imagine the dog-eat-dog scenario that must exist at the top of the professional game.
Speaking of dog-eat-dog, Gervinho v Barton is probably one of the more ridiculous incidents I have seen in recent days. Barton's fall to the ground is probably 'meme'-worthy for its sheer comic value. While indeed shameful, and probably worth a red card in my opinion for the audacity of it, Gervinho should not have raised his hand. A true baptism of fire for the Ivory Coast international. As for the match itself, well victory would have surely gone to Arsenal on points if it were a boxing match. Fortunately for the Magpies, the solid defence that represented the Hughton-manned parts of last season seems to have returned, against an admittedly toothless Arsenal side. Tiote continued his trend of getting booked in every other match, and that's pretty much all there is to say.
I will now draw attention to the unfortunately rife culture of sensationalism in journalism. Rows are being started between managers, without the knowledge of either party. A classic example of this was in the post-match discussion of Stoke's 0-0 draw against Chelsea. With no goals or outstanding performances to report, and only the ongoing search for goals from Torres, what do the media do? Ah yes, resort to the old "Stoke kicked us off the park" line. Which would be fair enough, if that's what Villas-Boas had actually said. Admittedly, the new Chelsea manager did refer to the abhorrent amount of pushing and pulling in the box, but he never referred to Stoke in particular. He probably wants Chelsea to cut such antics out too. Tony Pulis himself said he studied what was said, and didn't see anything particular insulting about him or the well-organised outfit he has put together. Like I already said, they will never truely scale the highest heights playing like that, but that doesn't mean certain media folk should put words in managers' mouths to mask the lack of a story.
That's all for now folks, you may see another entry later in the day, but it's time to be social!