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In the beginning… the top teams’ games previewed. Man U, Man C, Chelsea, and Arsenal

Week 1 – The Beginning; by Arun

The intro…

After the drama on the last day of the season, club football is back on the cards. Transfer has been the word since last season ended but Euros and then Olympics helped a lot in avoiding the boring, repetitive, non-sense and self-contradictory imaginations of the football journalists.

Man C has been very quiet in the transfer market. They bought Rodwell from Everton and then Mancini issued a statement, which in my opinion, was an insult to the Everton club and its fans. Chelsea are back in the spending mode with nearly £70m spent so far.

Man U’s shares were finally on the NYSE but according to some analysts, the shares were priced at nearly 3 times than their actual worth with the brokers paying to keep the price up. Somehow, they managed to sign Robin from us.

On this, I will keep my views short as much has already been said and written about it already. For me, it’s more of a ‘show of ambition’ signing from Man U. They haven’t signed a big name player for some years now which was sending the wrong message to fans.

But they already had a lot of strikers and adding one might not have been the best use of money. They are lacking players in the midfield and need replacements as relying on two older players may prove to be a mistake. I seriously doubt the matches Robin is going to play for them without being getting injured and the services he offers his new club aren’t going to be as good as they were at Arsenal.   Even if he stays fit, his career’s best season is gone. It will be impossible for him to repeat the feats of the gone by season.

Coming back to Arsenal, we need to invest this money into buying a full back. It’s the weakest part of the squad, (according to me), especially at the left back. Other than that, if Song doesn’t go to Barca, we have a very good midfield. Furthermore, I really don’t understand why he would want to go to Barca unless he wants to win a trophy like Reina wins in internationals. And he will struggle to get game time at Barca considering the strength of their midfield.

But if he goes, it’s going to be a bigger loss than the loss of Robin. Even if we are able to get Sahin as a replacement, it will be difficult for him to replicate Song.

So, the football is back. Let’s see what we have got on our hands this week. As usual, Man U gets the most rest among all the teams after the internationals, as Walter pointed out earlier, and of course Arsenal gets the least, along with Newcastle and Tottenham.   Chelsea and Man C get more rest than Arsenal but less than Man U.  So it goes.

  1. 1.      Arsenal v Sunderland (Saturday-15:00)

Arsenal won both the league matches against Sunderland last season with a 2-1 margin. The winning goal in the away fixture was scored by Thierry Henry (who is having his birthday on Friday).

Arsenal has lost only 1 of their last 17 games against Sunderland with the only defeat coming in the away fixture in 2009-10 season. Sunderland has failed to win their last 8 league games. They had a poor pre-season. They are also struggling in the transfer market having spent no money on players (they have signed two players, but both were for free). Their loan deal for Bendtner has also come to an end (though he would have been ineligible for this match), so they might have to rely on Saha. The main threats will come from Larsson and Sessegnon. Larsson can be particularly dangerous from free kicks; he also scored one in the corresponding fixture last season.

Arsenal is clear favorite among the bookmakers, but Sunderland has always been a tough team to beat. They struggle with aerial threats as evident from the fact that last season, 28% of their conceded goals were from headers, the highest in the league. Giroud might offer considerable aerial threat if he gets the nod to start.

Arsenal has won 3 of the last 5 league home games against Sunderland though Sunderland has only conceded only 9 goals against Arsenal in last 9 league meetings.

If we are to open the season with 3 points, it will be very vital not to concede first as it will put very high pressure on our newly recruited strikers. But if we score an early goal, it might very well turn into a big victory.

The only bad thing about this match is the media will continue to remind us of Robin leaving as they did last season with mentioning 8-2 everywhere throughout the whole season. If we were not to win this game, it will only supply more firepower to the media.

On the other hand if Podolski and Giroud manage to score in this game, we might well be getting a preview of the new brilliant attacking partnership. The good thing is that instead of passing the ball to only one player, we will be more active as a team and one can expect to see more goals coming from the midfield and wings, not only he central striker.

2.      Wigan Athletic v Chelsea (Sunday-13:30)

Free spending Chelsea get their campaign underway at Wigan on Sunday. Wigan has still got Moses on their books despite being heavily linked with Chelsea. Wigan ended the last season on a high with 7 wins in 9 matches. The corresponding fixture last season ended with 1-1 draw.

Wigan has won only once against Chelsea in last 10 meetings. But we might well get a chance to look at Miyaichi who has joined Wigan on a yearlong loan.

This will be Wigan’s 8th consecutive season in the league. They generally start poorly but manage to survive with some very good results toward the end.

Wigan has also been at the end of 2 very heavy defeats against Chelsea in the recent seasons.

It’s very difficult to see beyond a Chelsea winning this one.

3.      Manchester City v Southampton (Sunday-16:00)

Man C begins their campaign against the newly promoted Southampton, and Southampton visits a team who is unbeaten on home soil in 30 league matches. Man C has struggled to offload their players during the summer which, surprisingly, have restricted them in the transfer market; though I doubt that if they need any more players.

Last time these 2 teams met in the Premier League was on the first day of the year 2005. But a lot has changed since then. When Southampton was trying to come back to the top flight, Man C just got stronger and stronger with the money from their sugar daddy owners. Seems like a straight forward victory for Man C.

4.      Everton v Man U (Monday- 20:00)

Man U starts their campaign on Monday night with a visit to the Goodison Park. Everton is a very difficult team to beat at home; the past 5 meeting between the teams at Goodison Park in the league have resulted in 1 win, 2 loss and 2 draws for the home side.

Everton ended the last season with 9 unbeaten games but generally outperforms itself in the second half; they have lost their season openers in last 4 seasons. Man U may have great strength in their attack but defensively they aren’t that solid. It may be very difficult for Man U if they concede the opening goal.

This is going to be the most exciting match of the opening set of fixtures.  Seems like a draw to me.

PS: The BBC MOTD saga
As past readers of the blog would know about the magnificent editing done at BBC MOTD show, I have thought about recording all their activities regarding Arsenal from coming season such as editing out not given penalties (against Everton), removing several Arsenal attacks while showing weaker opponent attacks (like Blackburn, where they showed a very poor shot from one of the Blackburn players but edited out a Vermaelen header which hit the post) etc. I, myself, will try to catch the highlights on internet but it may not be possible for me all the time. So, I kindly request all the readers of the blog to post a comment here if they notice something like those mentioned above is done by BBC. Thanks in advance for your help on this.

Untold Arsenal – The Index

Arsenal – the stories that no one knows.  How our league campaigns really began.

8 comments to In the beginning… the top teams’ games previewed. Man U, Man C, Chelsea, and Arsenal

  • Andrei

    “Man C has struggled to offload their players during the summer…”

    To be honest Arsenal struggled in this department too and they also have a surplus of unwanted players maybe not on City scale. E.g. at the moment Arsenal have more strikers than Manchester United. Anyway I think the biggest challenge for Gunners will be team cohesion not the departure of individual players. We are going to see quite different Arsenal compared to couple seasons ago with many players who has never played together or in EPL.

  • Bart

    No Spurs? Can’t see Chelsea finishing above Spurs, with RdM unlikely lasting beyond Christmas and no one wanting to manage that vile club. Yes indeed, I have a lot more respect for Spurs than for Chelsea. Song is not a great loss, there are a few too many stories of him having become too big for his boots for it not to be true. We don’t need disruption in the dressing room, no matter how you perform on the field. Good riddance and, hurray, that’s also the end of Darren Dein at the club.

  • elkieno

    As has been said before on untold, Song brought in Dein in may, so if he goes then all it takes is another arsenal player to sack their agent and get him in, then starts all over again. U am curious tho do players and agents also have contracts?
    Ex. If I want Agent A do we agree on a 5 year deal at 10% or something? How does it work? how do agents get paid if they are not moving their player on all the time?
    Maybe an article on that would be an idea?
    Anyway can’t wait fir tonight, 3pm uk time is some crazy hour Sydney time no doubt, so here we to with 9 months of sleepy Monday’s, Sundays, Wendesdays/Thursdays.
    Oh to,
    oh to be,
    oh to be a
    Gooner!!!

  • Andrei – I think you raise a really good point here; there are a few big headlines around, but the more run-of-the-mill moves which see teams like Sunderland picked up their squad players, and Arsenal buying some kid we’ve never heard of, are not happening.

    The reason I am sure is FFP rules – Chelsea and Man have chosen to ignore them, Man City are a million miles away but don’t want to make it worse, but for everyone else, it is something that slows down every transfer.

    Arsenal can be this active because they are so far within the rules, I doubt Uefa will even bother to look at their books

  • Arun

    @ Bart at 7:31 pm
    I was a little busy this week, so I couldn’t find time to write an article on their game against Newcastle. Sorry for that.
    They will be definitely included next week with Liverpool as well.

  • Arun

    @elkieno @5:17 am
    I don’t have much information on how the contracts of agents with a player are designed. May be Walter or Tony or anybody else have much better info on this.

  • Bart

    @Arun, no need to feel sorry, my reply was just to say that I think Spurs might be in the top 4 in place of Chelski. I thought your article was about the clubs you thought were going to be in the top 4.

  • Ong Bing

    Nice post Arun.

    I hope good win for us. That will good for our confident.

    And I hope 0-0 at Goodison Park.

    30+27=20 (10 from penalties) LOL