Missed all of this weekend’s Premier League action? Well, look no further than here, as we look at some of the major talking points in our round-up of the first weekend of top-flight football. Despite being a tad predictable there were a couple of shocks, namely newly-promoted Blackpool’s 4-0 victory over Wigan – which provided us with out very first talking point.
Ian Holloway – tactical genius?
“I have been written off as a clown but I work hard and it’s about time I got some respect.”
Certainly that was one of the more sensible quotes that came from Blackpool’s manager Ian Holloway at the back-end of last season. Famed for his use of a 4-3-3 ultra-attacking system in the Championship last season, Holloway prevailed with a very similar formation in his side’s 4-0 thumping of Wigan.
The Tangerines took to the field with no less than six forward-thinking players ahead of their four man defence – these forwards, like they did on so many occasions, regularly interchanged with each other up-front. Such is the fluidity to the system that even the full-backs are given the freedom to push up the field playing as auxiliary wingers.
He also knew how to pull his players back, switching from 4-3-3 to 4-5-1 when the result was secured. Blackpool in the Premier League was one thing, but winning 4-0 on the opening day wasn’t part of the script. Now, Arsenal awaits them next weekend.
England’s No.1 now, Manchester City’s No.1?
Joe Hart was arguably the player of the weekend, in what was a poor one for goalkeepers all round. Hart’s performance certainly has been coming, and after securing the England No.1 jersey last Wednesday night, he now looks set to take over from Shay Given in the City goal permanently with the Irishman now looking for a way out of the club. Roberto Mancini admitted that it had been “difficult” to choose between the two, but Given could well be called upon in other competitions this season.
Goal – David Jones (Wolves)
Kevin Foley was fouled on the edge of Stoke’s area by Stoke’s Dean Whitehead – Karl Henry rolled the resulting free-kick to David Jones who flicked the ball up before smashing the ball over the Potters wall and into the back of the Thomas Sorensen’s net.
Mancini lacking an attacking Spur
In typically Italian fashion, Roberto Mancini set up his Manchester City side with three defensive midfielders in the form of: Yaya Toure, Nigel De Jong and Gareth Barry in their game at the weekend against Tottenham. As analysed by Zonal Marking these three midfielders had a job to do and they did it, and did it well. Mancini set up his side in such a way that right from the off it was obvious they were playing for the draw, ultimately, he got the result he wanted, but you can’t help but think there was a huge lack of creativity in the final third of the field. The Italian will need to find a combination that allows his side to attack more.
Champions pick-up where they left off
Last season’s double winners Chelsea began the defence of their Premier League crown in the Saturday evening kick-off with a 6-0 thrashing of perennial yo-yo club West Brom at Stamford Bridge. In their last three Premier League games, the victories have been 21-0 in favour of Chelsea. After a torrid pre-season, where they were beaten four times in a row, the Blues know how to win when it matters propelling themselves back to the top of the league on the opening day.
Speaking of picking up where they lift off, last season’s Golden Boot winner with 37 goals in 44 appearances – Didier Drogba scored a hat-trick. Without being hyperbolic, the signs look ominous; even it was “only” West Brom.