Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Daniel Sturridge Walks Alone

Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks

Liverpool vs Manchester United is one of the great rivalries in British football. The game played at Liverpool on September 1, 2013 is by far the best game played in the English Premier League to date. The two teams played with great intensity for ninety minutes. As against Aston Villa last week Liverpool on a Daniel Sturridge goal scored in the first half. Liverpool dominated possession in the first half and that dominance frustrated the Manchester United players that three of them ended the first half with yellow cards including Van Persie.

Just as in the Aston Villa games, Liverpool wilted in the second half and Manchester United had them backing up and defending desperately. This failure to maintain the same level of intensity in the second half has to be an issue of stamina. As the season advances, Brandon Rodgers will have to do something about that lack of conditioning.

Manchester United was without Wayne Rooney who suffered a gash to his forehead in practice. Manchester United continues to rely on the old geezer, Ryan Giggs, rather than giving younger players like Anderson, to develop their true potential. The telling question at this juncture is Giggs still a great player or was he a great player and simply running on fumes and his reputation? Giggs needs to take a seat beside Scholes.

Ashley Young started and Nani was brought into the game as a substitute. Both displayed their wares as top class players. But in the end Manchester United lost and that could be the omen for the season that they will have. Van Persie was closely marked and lost his cool a number of times. He has a steep hill to climb to replicate his incredible performance last season.

Does Wenger Know Best?

Arsenal started the season rather shakily and Wenger was being blasted by the fans for not bringing in top transfer players. But Arsenal showed in their game against Tottenham that they have a nucleus that can compete with the top tier teams.

Soccer evidently is a team game where the chemistry among the players must be like clockwork. Teams like Newcastle or Sunderland which made sweeping changes fail to develop an effective esprit d’corps. Arsenal has and the players who came in last year like Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud are now fitting in with the team.

Tottenham was unafraid to spend money and they brought in a new midfield. But it takes some players a year before they find their stride in the English league. Tottenham devoid of Bale is yet to score a goal in open play. They attack with great uncertainty and one wonders if Soldado can make it in the English league. Dembele looks lost and will lose his place to players like Erikson.

AVB is supposedly an astute student of the game but his trades do not seem to have a grand design. Nonetheless the season is young and one should wait until the half-way mark before being too definitive.

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