Sunday, 30 September 2012

The alternative Sunday paper..

There's only one place to start dissecting yesterday's action, and that place is Old Trafford, where Tottenham grabbed their first league win at the home of Man United for 23 years. It's fair to say that Andre Villas-Boas' reign as Spurs manager, having begun to gather momentum since those awkward opening encounters, has just slipped into a high gear. It's only one match, but the mental effect of claiming such a prized scalp can only benefit all concerned.

A key criticism of AVB's ill-fated period in charge of Chelsea was his poor record against the league's bigger sides. He certainly never managed an away win against any of the superpowers. Yesterday's 3-2 win puts that issue to bed. Admittedly, the ease with which the likes of Lennon and Bale waltzed through the United defence is not befitting of a club aiming to win back their title from the noisy neighbours. Still, the counter-attacking verve shown by Spurs in that first-half was well-deserving of all three points.

The main cause for concern in Sir Alex's post-match post-mortem would be the holes that his defence left - in particular Rio Ferdinand, whose inability to keep pace with Gareth Bale for the second goal will have given his boss food for thought ahead of the January transfer window. Many scoffed at the millions spent on Robin Van Persie when reinforcements were so desperately needed further back. Having said that, a midfield containing the ageing trio of Scholes, Giggs and Carrick is hardly likely to provide the most energetic or solid cover.

To add a touch of comedy to proceeedings, Sir Alex then had the gall to complain about the amount of time added on at the end of the game. Apparently four minutes wasn't enough. We all have a good laugh about 'Fergie time' but he verges on self-parody with this comment.

I quote, "It denies you a proper chance to win a football match." Where to start!? Well first of all, Spurs seemed to be able to win the match just fine. Also, one can't help but notice the liberal use of the word 'win'. Did he really think his team would score two goals in the time he claims that should have been added on? I suppose the man has been spoilt with late comebacks of that nature. I also suppose that he was merely deflecting criticism away from his side's sub-par performance. But hey, the man gives good soundbites - who am I to ignore them.

Moving on then, and the Brendan Rogers era is also looking much brighter this morning, after Liverpool's 5-2 win at Norwich, featuring a hat-trick from their main man Luis Suarez - a few other players even decided to pitch in at last. They also could potentially have had a sixth goal - if only someone other than the Uruguayan had been on the recieving end of that Leon Barnett challenge.

Edin Dzeko rescued Man City from dropping more points at Fulham, while boss Mancini attempted to paper over the gaping cracks in their title defence by claiming that the decisions are going against his side.

The one team where everything seems rosy in the garden (well maybe not John Terry) is Chelsea. A 2-1 win over Arsenal sent them three points clear, which is a hell of a lot at this early stage of the season. They benefited from some wayward shooting from Arsenal's Oliver Giroud - although it wasn't quite as easy as some were claiming, considering the widening angle and defender in his way.

As for Newcastle - Demba Ba again salvaged a point for his side with another two goals. The rest of Pardew's side better start turning up soon though, or this year's European sojourn will not be repeated next year. It's ok though - Pardew has eight years to get it right.

I wouldn't bet against Everton being this year's surprise package - but is it that much of a surprise? Three more points for them, and they climb to second.

See you tomorrow!

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