Premier League Reviews Matchday 2 Batch 2

26 August 2008

Fulham v Arsenal: Brede Hangeland's goal twenty-one minutes proved to be the difference as Arsenal's shaky start continued by dropping points to Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Arsenal's forward play is more shocking right now than it was at any stage of last season. For all the crying Emmanuel Adebayor did over the summer over his pay packet, and subsequently getting a bigger one, I expect him to play at a much better level than he has over the first two games. His efforts on goal Saturday were simply shocking. Robin Van Persie's free kick efforts weren't much better either. While the midfield has downgraded slightly with the losses of Hleb and Flamini, they still got effective crosses in.

Fulham played the ultimate team game. Strong and sound at the back, the midfield covered the entire pitch well, and while they only had six shots on the day, they had more shots on goal than Arsenal. However one thing that worried me was the fact they had a couple of counter opportunities that could have been finished off but simply had misfortune...Zamora the result of a bad hop and Dempsey the result of being too selfish.

I assume nothing with Arsenal anymore. One would think if Adebayor could get one the goals would start coming, but with as atrocious as they have looked up front in the first two weeks, that is saying quite a lot. Fulham played a 90 minute game and while they were tiring over the last quarter of an hour, they still found a way to win, when last season they would have gotten nothing at all. It does have to be said that Fulham comprehensively deserved the result they got on the day.

Wigan Athletic v Chelsea
: Deco's fourth minute free kick proved to be the difference as Chelsea hung on to defeat a pesky Wigan Athletic side at the JJB Stadium.

First it must be said that both sides defended extremely well. The fact that Chelsea had to rely on a free kick to get the lone goal should say how well Wigan defended in open play. In fact you could even argue it was a rather weak call against Cattermole in the third minute, but it was a call that could be made...and was.

Despite all the possession Chelsea had, it was Wigan who made Petr Cech do the hard work between the sticks. Michael Pollitt though, has to take the majority of the blame for being too close to the near post on Deco's goal. You simply don't allow that much space on the far will be burned by it.

Wigan though started to look devoid of any tactical attacking ideas about sixty-five minutes in and started relying on individual efforts for shots on goal. Petr Cech though was resolute in goal and did well.

Chelsea have always had problems going to the JJB and getting results. Wigan could use with one more attacking option up front as Zaki can't do it all himself. Heskey was okay, but average isn't going to beat Chelsea.

Manchester City v West Ham United
: Elano's double complimented Daniel Sturridge's opener as Manchester City took advantage of the extra man in the second half to dispel of West Ham United 3-0 at the City of Manchester Stadium.

First off, here's too a quick return for Micah Richards. It's amazing to me that sometimes the most innocent looking incidents end up being the most severe.

Let's take a look at Mark Noble's sending off. The first yellow card was a stupid deliberate handball. Just because you think you've won a free kick doesn't give you the right to use your hands. Play whistle to whistle. As for the second yellow, you lunge in with the studs showing up, the referee has no choice but to show the yellow card...and in this instance you're off.

Depending on the service where you saw the match stats from, West Ham United had no chances on goal. Even down a man, you have to do better to find chances in order to get one on goal. The back line did not show themselves well Sunday, making a mess of things on all three goals. Robert Green did no favors on the Elano goals by being out of position, there was nothing he was going to do to deny Daniel Sturridge.

Manchester City rebounded well after their opening week loss. Daniel Sturridge is looking a star in the making and his goal off Upson's poor clearance was well taken. The combination of Corluka, Ireland, and Elano was extremely effective.

One thing I always have hated was a double substitution leaving none being a man up. You just never know if an injury is going to cause you to end up leveling the numbers without just cause.

Nothing too serious can be taken from this Manchester City result though. They did what you are suppose to do when a man up. However this result should bring back some confidence into the side that looked to be lacking.


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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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