The Amazing Disappearing Defence Act

The Big News

The big news this week was Transfer Deadline day, and as usual, it was full of surprise moves, big signings and huge losses. The most unlikely deal was that of Mikel Arteta, who has joined Arsenal from Everton for £10 million pounds, in a deal that could really make or break Arsenal’s season. Is he good enough to have that responsibility anymore? I am not 100 percent sure. Another move that looked unlikely is that of Peter Crouch moving to Stoke from Tottenham, in what is a real coup for the Midland’s side. He may not be a huge goalscorer, but he may get more opportunities to shine at Stoke, and he suits their tall and strong side. But, for me, it was Fulham who pulled off the best transfer, possibly of the whole window, by bringing in Costa Rican Bryan Ruiz from FC Twente. It was a great piece of business, and the sort of player that could push the Cottagers to the next level.

I will have a more in-depth analysis of the whole transfer window over the next week, and there will be no analysis of games due to the international break. But as always, here is a look back at Week 3 of the Barclay’s Premier League.

Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal

We all saw it coming, we just never knew how deep the blade would cut. Even before the game began, Vermalen and Sagna were ruled out, and you could see the storm coming. For a reasonable amount of time, Arsenal kept United at arm’s length, until Jenkinson was caught out of position, a fact he would have had screamed down his ear from Walcott, The resulting corner eventually landed at Anderson’s feet, a deft chip and a flailing defence later, Welbeck nodded home an almost comedy goal. But then, a lifeline, as Walcott was brought down by Evans, but Van Persie hit a dismal penalty that was saved by De Gea. From that, Man United went up the other end, with Ashley Young curling in brilliantly for the second. A foul and yellow card from Jenkinson lead to Rooney scoring the third from the free-kick, and Walcott managed to steal a goal back just before half time, 3-1. But, all that hope was dashed, when Rooney scored a second free kick, which was swiftly followed by a chip from Nani for five, and even Park getting in on the act for six. Van Persie scored a second for Arsenal, but it was less than a concelation, and to make things even worse, Jenkinson pulled down Hernandez for a second yellow, and his marching orders. Rooney finished off his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Walcott brought down Evra, and Young finished them off with a superb strike for eight. Arsenal were more than poor, and their defensive line was more fragile than a sandcastle. Arsene has acted, but he needs them to gel as soon as possible to get their season back on track. Worryingly for most, United can still go up a gear, and they are a real threat going forward.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City

It was very much anything you can do, I can do just as well, as Man City put 5 past Tottenham. It looked like it was coming from the off, as City looked the team on top, with Silva being his usual self and Nasri getting off to a flyer, while Tottenham were still waking up. Then came the first goal, with a great ball from Nasri, Dzeko poked in before Kaboul to give Ctiy just what they had deserved. Then, after another good cross, Dzeko scored an unbelievable header back across goal past Friedel, the control of the header a thing of beauty. And the half time break didn’t help Spurs either, after some more good work from the City players, Dzeko slotted in the hat trick with probably the simplest chance he will have all year. A fourth, lovely link up work between Nasri and Ageuro, and he used his pace to squeeze past Dawson and slot in a great goal. Tottenham got their goal from a decent header from Kaboul, but the damage was already done. A fifth ended any doubt, with a wonderful strike from Dzeko, giving him his fourth in a brilliant display. City are impressive going forward, with Nasri slotting in with ease, and Dzeko is growing into the player everyone knew he could be, and could score many, many more this season. Tottenham, even after two hard games, are yet to wake up. They look like they are still on their holidays, and they really need goals from Adebayor. If they don’t, they could have to settle with Europa League again this season.

Chelsea 3-1 Norwich City

In a game Villas Boas must be glad to put behind him, Chelsea managed somehow to get a 3-1 win against a battling Norwich. It started off so well for Chelsea, with Bosingwa getting them off the mark with an outstanding strike, complementing his brilliant start to the season. But, from then on, Norwich really put Chelsea under pressure, with chances that a bigger team may have capitalised on. In the second half, Norwich finally got their reward, after Hilario went AWOL and Ivanovic couldn’t clear, Holt flicked the ball over his head and into the back of the net, nothing more than Norwich deserved. Unfortunately after that, Ruddy collided with Drogba, knocking the Ivorian out cold, and luckily he escaped serious injury. After a Morrison chance for Norwich that he should have buried, Chelsea brought on Lukaku and Mata and it changed the game for them. Ramires sprinted through late on, only to be brought down by Ruddy, who was sent off due to the goalscoring opportunity, and Lampard dispatched the ensuing penalty. Late on, Mata latched on to the most absurd pass in defensive history, and slotted home his first goal at Chelsea. On this form, at least Chelsea are picking up points when playing poorly, but they do need to up their game for when they face the harder teams in the league. Norwich, however, need to keep playing like this, and they will get the result more often that not.

Liverpool 3-1 Bolton Wanderers

Liverpool are slowly beginning to look very dangerous, as they easily beat a poor Bolton. Liverpool got off to a flyer, attacking at will, and in that came the first goal. After some good work in midfield, the ball fell to Downing, who smashed it against the woodwork, which fell to the lucky feet of Henderson, and after an even more lucky deflection off of Reo-Coker back to his feet, he blasted it into the top corner. After that, Liverpool kept on pressing, and they were rewarded yet again through a header from Skrtel on 52 minutes. Adam then completed the goalscoring for Liverpool, driving his right footed strike into the corner and out of the reach of Jaaskelainen. Bolton did get a goal back through Klasnic, but all in all, they didn’t do much else. On this display, Liverpool could be dangerous to anyone this season, although they do seem to lack concentration at the back, which could be their downfall. Bolton need to give a better account of themselves than this, as the fixtures will just get harder, but they are a much better outfit at home.

Aston Villa 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

The two sides remain unbeaten this season after a game of few chances, and barely any action. There were positives from both sides, as Chris Herd had a good debut for Villa at right back, a good worker at getting forward and back, and reasonably adaptable to both attacking and defending. For Wolves, their defence looks much more confident, with Johnson still being a brick wall, and it seems to have catched the imagination of the rest of his team. A mid table game between mid table sides, both look like they could occasionally trouble teams in and around them, but any hopes of Europe should be very, very small, as both cancelled each other out here.

Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Everton

In one of the more stranger games of Week 3, Everton somehow won this game dominated by penalties. Blackburn looked threatening throughout, much more than their opponents, with Dunn hitting the post after excellent work from N’Zonzi. Then, came the first penalty, as Formica fell over Barkley’s leg in the most theatrical of ways, but that penalty was saved by Howard, although the strike was poor from Hoilett. Everton came back into the game, with Baines looking influential as usual, but Goodwillie came closest to scoring, seeing his effort crash off the bar. Formica again had shown his dancing and falling skills in the box, as he brushed himself down and took Rovers’ second penalty, only to see it bounce off the post. And if you had enough penalties for one game, the referee gave another, in a bizarre “foul” due to Samba climbing, or him and another defender sandwiching, or any other crazy ideal he spotted. And, as football tends to do, Everton stole the points as Arteta tucked away the penalty. Neither side were that impressive, but Blackburn really need to invest in shooting boots, and Everton were lucky to pick up points in another sloppy game at the start of a season.

Newcastle United 2-1 Fulham

Newcastle continue their good start to the season with a win over a slightly hesitant Fulham. In what was really an anonymous first half, it sprung to life as Leon Best slotted home his first of the season. And from that point, Newcastle pushed for more, with good passing and swift movement. Then came the second, a cross field ball from Obertan to Ba, and the new signing punched the ball straight to Best’s feet, and he scored his and Newcastle’s second of the game. Near the end, a free-kick floated in was met by Dempsey, who’s header rised over Tim Krul, who was far off his line, and gave Fulham a glint of hope, that was never realised. Newcastle look good, and they have made some decent signings over the summer, and they are progressing. Fulham seem to have stopped, but the signing of Ruiz should hopefully kick some life back into the London side.

Wigan Athletic 2-0 Queens Park Rangers

Wigan continue undefeated, however only against promoted sides, as they put in a pretty lucky win against QPR. They started off well, with Moses and Rodallega using good movements down the wing. Then, came the lucky boot of Di Santo, as his strike deflected Derry past Kenny into the top corner. After that, QPR looked the more dangerous, with Taarabt finally looking more dangerous, with a great strike that looked certain to go in that hit the post, and a crazy free kick that kicked up and Al-Habsi had to push onto the post. And, as luck has it, Di Santo pulled off another superb yet outrageously fortunate strike. Stealing the ball off Rodallega, much to his annoyance, he went for it again, and this one again deflected flew into the top corner. QPR had enough time to hit the post again with a header from Perone, and that really summed up the whole game. Martinez will be more than delighted to get 5 points away from potential relegation rivals, while QPR will be bemused by how they don’t score, or win, in this game.

West Brom 0-1 Stoke City

In yet another game that really went by without much incident, Stoke somehow stole a win away from what looked for the most part a certain loss. West Brom carried on their work against Man United and Chelsea, probing forward well, with Brunt looking creative and Long looking to snatch any chance that comes his way. With all the pressure they were applying, nothing turned into real goalscoring opportunities, and then in the final few minutes, Stoke stole all three points. Ryan Shotton managed to squeeze between Tamas and Foster, taking the ball and tapping in the easiest of goals. It was within Foster’s hands when Shotton kicks it from his grasp, but the speed of the game you simply couldn’t tell, and the mistake shouldn’t have happened in the first place. West Brom need points and fast, as confidence could plummet, yet Stoke look like they are well adept now and the Premier League, and have really plucked points out of nowhere.

Swansea 0-0 Sunderland

With both sides only scoring one goal between them, it never looked like this was going to be a high scoring thriller. And it was a game of nothing much really happening, Scott Sinclair came close with a couple of efforts, and Gyan should have done better when put through one-on-one, but there was a reason it was near the end of Match of the Day. Both need to find goals, and fast, if they don’t want to slip into the vortex that is a relegation battle. Sunderland look better equipped, but really need to improve and soon. Swansea need to slot a sloppy goal in, and then the goals should hopefully start flowing.

Thanks for reading again, and next week join me for a look at how the Transfer Window favoured the Premier League clubs.

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About nathanjstaples

A good guy.
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