Chelsea’s perch turning peers green with envy
Chelsea’s perch turning peers green with envy
The status quo remains after this past weekend. From Carrington to Shenley, from Melwood to Enfield and Darsley Park, pressure is mounting across the training grounds of the top Premiership teams, and this is just after only two matches. As they put on their training gears, as they work out their formations and fitness, players will be having one eye on the happenings at the Cobham Training Centre.
Far from having a smooth opening two games of the season, Man City, Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspurs and Newcastle United can only marvel at the works of Chelsea and take a bow. No doubt. For all their poor performances last season, the Pensioners look like a different ball game all together during this campaign. All the above teams have brought in new recruits and worked on new formations, but if the league table is anything to go by, then only one team has attained 100% returns to date.
Roman Abramovich’s toy is making the headlines. Eden Hazard and a rejuvenated Fernando Torres are becoming the envy of many. While beating the Magpies for the first time in five matches at Stamford Bridge, the Blues are demonstrating a perfect tandem between attack and defense. They’ve got their eyes on the battle for English supremacy. Though they’ve played one more game compared to their rivals, Roberto Di Matteo’s men stand alone on merit, not forgetting beauty. It may prove hard to knock them off their perch.
That cannot be said of the rest.
Take for instance Arsenal. Though they’ve flattered to deceive with their Barcelonesque football that, however, doesn’t transform into trophies, the Gunners are currently finding it hard to put the ball into the net. They’ve been there before, knocking down opponents with ease, while scoring beautiful team-orchestred goals. Right now, they are the only side in the league not to have scored after two league matches!
Ever since their talisman Robin van Persie travelled to the Northwest, the goals’ well has dried up. With Gervinho, Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Santi Carzola and Co. having goals in their legs, it must be a strange feeling for any one Arsenal. No wonder Arsene Wenger was nearly scratching himself bald against Stoke. He knows it. Two draws and no goal scored, RVP is surely a great loss.
And yet, Van Persie may have marked his home debut with a beautifully struck volley, Shinji Kagawa may be proving to be a bargain purchase for Man United, but Old Trafford is not yet comfortable, especially after the 3-2 win over Fulham. You only have to look at the defense. Three goals conceded against two teams that would have been given a severe beating on any other day. Okay, many specialist defenders are having a love affair with the treatment table, but there are no sympathy points in the league table, Sir Alex.
The red behemoth’s noisy neighbors and the defending champions, Man City, are in a very precarious position. They have the best squad in England at the moment, but are currently wobbling. No wonder Roberto Mancini is eager to salvage the season, or so he thinks, with new buys before the transfer window closes this week. The Citizens barely beat newly-promoted Southampton, and could only manage a 2-2 draw with Liverpool, having taken advantage of the Reds’ defensive mistakes.
And defense is the one area that Brendan Rodgers will have to address before disaster strikes any further. Beaten by West Brom 3-0 in the first game, the Merseysiders’ rearguard dished out balloons and flowers in form of goals to the visiting Sky Blues, in a game that saw Martin Skrtel go from a hero to villain. The Reds played well against the men floating on Arabian oil, but the Kop faithful don’t want a repeat of last season’s weak Anfield results that gave the Steven Gerrard-led side an 8th spot finish on the grid. Anyone Liverpool is hopeful of rising from the ashes.
Glimmers of hope are what Tottenham Hotspurs need to rain on them, as they are currently in miry clay. Defeated in their opening match against a Newcastle United side that couldn’t rival Chelsea for points in a 2-0 defeat on Saturday, Spurs couldn’t dispatch West Brom, as the two sides settled for a 1-1 draw. How much they’ll miss Real Madrid-bound Luka Modric. Spurs’ fans hold on to the belief that Andrea Villas-Boas is Tottenham’s version of Jose Mourinho. Or is he?
He may have served oligarch Abramovich for only 8 months, but how long do you think the young Portuguese gaffer will last at the Lillywhites, if he cannot fill the large boots of Harry Redknapp, if he cannot put a smile on the White Hart Lane faithful, and if he cannot fulfill the desires of David Levy and the Spurs hierarchy?
Week 3 incoming. This is proving to be one hard season for the big boys. Not so for London’s Blue Army.