Rants and musings from the magazine team
FourFourTwo's Huw Davies allocates the averages for this weekend's Premier League performances...
MANCHESTER UNITED 9(W 5-0, Bolton A)A generous scoreline, yes, but United are already looking so close to the finished article they seem to be terrifying opposition sides into making mistakes. Phil Jones made a case for himself at right-back, while Hernandez proved he is arguably Rooney’s more natural striking partner.
MANCHESTER CITY 9(W 3-0, Wigan H)While their cross-city rivals were flattered by their scoreline, Mancini’s men could've had a hatful rather than a palmful. And for all of the brilliance shown by Silva, Aguero, Tevez and Nasri – with four-star Dzeko on the bench – City’s back line shared seven shots between them.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 7.5(W 2-0, Wolves A)There’s nothing like a win to banish wantaway blues: Niko Kranjcar, parked by the exit for over 12 months, created chance after chance. And with some of the flotsam and jetsam washed away, Spurs are beginning to look like a team again – especially with Parker and Adebayor starting well.
STOKE CITY 7
(W 1-0, Liverpool H)
If their big-money summer signings suggested ambition, this result
certified it. A massive win over a confident Liverpool side sent the men
from the Potteries into the top four. Who needs possession and more
than three shots
when you have Jamie Carragher to gift you a penalty?
(W 2-1, Sunderland A)
Meireles was a massive influence in the middle of the park as Andre
Villas-Boas’ Blues took advantage of a Sunderland defence having a
shocking day at the office. The new manager’s first big test comes this
weekend, though, away at Old Trafford.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 6.5(W 1-0, Norwich A)The Roy renaissance continues: after frustrating defeats despite solid performances, a good away win gives the Baggies some elbow room at the bottom. They must learn to wrap up a win though: a missed penalty meant for some nervous tension in the closing stages.
ARSENAL 6(W 1-0, Swansea H)Hardly a comfortable win at home to a team yet to score this season, but exactly the kind of gritty victory Arsenal needed to jumpstart their campaign. Of the three debutants, Mikel Arteta appeared to settle the quickest.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS 6(D 0-0, Newcastle H)Given the Hoops had five debutants in their side, they did well to click so quickly into gear, although they will be disappointed to have ultimately drawn a match they had largely dominated. Neil Warnock will have been delighted with the way his side played, if not their profligacy in front of goal. Find that cutting edge and they look like being more than comfortable.
NEWCASTLE UNITED 5.5(D 0-0, QPR A)Alan Pardew’s side certainly rode their luck in drawing 0-0 at Loftus Road, and the Magpies manager will likely be concerned by the ease with which the hosts created chance after chance. Nonetheless, they’ll be happy with a point, particularly given it takes them into the top four at this admittedly early stage of the season.
EVERTON 5.5(D 2-2, Aston Villa H)A functional result on the surface, but David Moyes will be frustrated his team twice failed to hold onto a lead. That nearly half of their shots came from outside the box suggests goals may not continue to come easily while Tim Cahill is forced into a lone striker role.
ASTON VILLA 5.5(D 2-2, Everton A)Fabian Delph might do well not to show his face in the dressing room for a bit, having conceded an idiotic penalty; nevertheless, Villa grabbed an important point. They may not have deserved it, creating few chances and completing just half of their forward passes, but McLeish won’t care.
BLACKBURN ROVERS 5.5
(D 1-1, Fulham A)
Off the mark, though one point could have been three had Ruben Rochina
passed to a wide-open Goodwillie early on. A sublime strike absolved
him, but Steve Kean knows Rovers can’t rely on 20-yard howitzers for a
result every week. Also lucky to survive a good penalty shout.
FULHAM 5(D 1-1, Blackburn H)If you’re away day draw specialists, you have to win your home games, particularly against struggling opposition. Riise Senior worked the left flank well, but Duff’s inability to cross right-footed – and unusual refusal to cut inside – let the (right) side down. Martin Jol may be starting to worry with his side still winless.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 4.5(L 0-3, Man City A)The Latics somehow fired in 11 shots without ever really looking in the game. Fortunately, the imminent return of James McCarthy, restricted to substitute duties by a knee injury, should help them to gain greater control of the midfield.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 4.5(L 0-2, Tottenham H)A hugely disappointing result given they had made such a positive start this season. Only Jamie O’Hara, against his former club, kept up the impetus from a decent first-half showing, but many of his teammates appeared to shirk the challenge as the game slipped away.
BOLTON WANDERERS 4
(L 0-5, Man United H)
A score of 5
when they conceded as many goals might seem absurdly charitable, but
Bolton had their chances; in fact, they had 22, eight shots more than
their conquerors. They were, however, architects of their demise for
some chocolate defending (i.e. melting under the spotlight rather than
SWANSEA 4.5(L 0-1, Arsenal A)One mindless c**k-up from Michel Vorm, so solid until now, was enough to deny Swansea a first point on the road. You don’t win games without scoring goals, though, and record signing Danny Graham is in urgent need of a confidence-boosting account opener – as are his team.
LIVERPOOL 4.5(L 0-1, Stoke A)It’s never an easy game at the Britannia, but having utterly dominated from start to finish, this defeat would have hurt. Liverpool’s impotency was best summarised not by Suarez’s late miss, but Henderson’s inability to lift the ball over Begovic no fewer than three times in one attack.
SUNDERLAND 4(L 1-2, Chelsea H)Gyan suddenly sloping off under seemingly cynical circumstances did nothing to help pre-match preparation, so it’s hard to be too critical. However, Steve Bruce’s side looked utterly devoid of interest and incisiveness. A debut goal for Ji Dong-Won does at least point to the future.
NORWICH CITY 3
(L 0-1, West Brom H)
Opportunity lost. Norwich remain winless, thanks mainly to a lingering
lack of lethal finishers: the Canaries had 18 shots but rarely troubled
Ben Foster. And if it hadn’t been for the post and a penalty save, West
Brom’s winning margin could have been greater.
LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS
FIFA: Sao Paulo stadium will be ready on time
Sao Paulo could lose World Cup matches
Kaka and Ronaldinho out of Confed Cup squad
Controversial ref Osses picked for Confed Cup
Russia drops visa law for major sporting events
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010