THE EPL IS BACK
7 THINGS WE LEARNT FROM THE FIRST WEEK:
Analysis by Reginald Uche.
NOTHING NEW AT MAN UTD – with the addition of FRED, MAN UTD’s first game had no eye-catching upgrade from what we saw last season. No disrespect to the opponent, UNITED did not have control of the game, never at any stage in the game had more possession. Though the came out with 2-1 win, it was more, a self-inflicted defeat by Leicester. It is also worthy of note that FRED had a decent debut and showed no struggle in handling the pace of the EPL.
SPURS PROBLEM WITH LONG BALLS – SPURS continued with the intensity they always played with, though showed glimpses of the WORLD CUP hang over. But especially in the first half, they had obvious issues dealing with long balls into their defense. Obviously, BENITEZ wants to be brave in his approach to games with Newcastle, whether he will succeed with it is a matter of time. They tried to play with the ball on the ground and actually caused SPURS a lot of problems. They might qualify for the dark horse of the season.
CHELSEA AND JORGINHO– Chelsea brought in JORGINHO alongside their new coach. Like during the preseason, he looked like the anchor of their midfield in the first game of the season. He showed steady and influential communication capabilities. Very vocal and seemed to be the SARI communicator on the pitch as the team is trying to play and adapt to playing the SARI ball. But, it looks like his positioning in the team, might pose a problem as he looks like not very up for the pace and physicality of the EPL. And the worrying aspect is that, it’s just his style of play, this brings to mind the failed spell of the talented AQUILLA with Liverpool some seasons ago. Sitting in front of the back four when put under pressure might be danger for the team, as he has shown no obvious physical defensive qualities, but intelligent tactical positioning.
KANTE IN A NEW ROLE – using JORGINHO in front of the back four has necessitated a new role for KANTE. He appeared to understand his new role perfectly. He had another outstanding game and even got a goal. Having been pushed a bit further forward with shielding the right side of the team’s midfield. I must mention PEDRO, who looks like he has rejuvenated himself and might be a key figure if Chelsea is to have any success this season.
LIVERPOOL INTENSITY – the KLOPP men picked up exactly as they stopped last season, pressing and playing some exciting football. MO SALAH and MANE had a very good game. Liverpool showed serious signs of ambition and capability to be title contenders if not winners this season. It is about time though.
CONFIDENT MAN CITY- Though showed signs of WORLD CUP hang over, CITY played with abundant show of confidence without being complacent. But if their performance of the first season game is to be used to judge, it showed a drop from the standard of last season. In the coming weeks, we will look to see how PEP will manage to maintain required urgency/confidence in his men to justify and earn their title favorites tag.
ARSENAL AND THE NEW ERA – after 22 years arsenal began a new era, having witnessed the departure of WENGER. We also saw 5 additions to the team and departure of a few fringe players. In the past few years arsenal has been accused of being frail defensively, and they looked to have moved quickly to address that early in the summer transfer market. They showed signs of better organization in this regard but a lot of work still needs to be done. The bulk of the starting 11 were still the old team and obviously going to take a while to get used to and adapting to UNAI’s new way. They have another test next weekend against Chelsea.
Generally speaking, there were no huge surprises; it looked more like business as usual for all the teams. The spectacle was not exceptional or anything to make noise about. Obviously, the WORLD CUP will have effect until a few weeks into the season, as so many players either did not feature of could not handle 90 minutes at this level.