Written by Andy, whose footballing expertise lies in the Premier League, as well as European and South American football. Andy is your average bloke; he has three loves: university, the pub, and most importantly football.
Let me just say a couple of words before I start talking about the beautiful game, I hope to live up to your expectations and I’m extremely happy to be writing for AFR. If you have anything you want to ask me or any comments, my email is listed at the end of the article. I won’t talk about every team each week, otherwise this post could turn out to be stupidly long, but I will try and vary what teams I talk about and the different things I talk about. This week I’m just going to look back on whats gone on in the last few days and whats coming up in the league.
We’ve seen the title race hot up in the last couple of days with Chelsea showing their strength in depth by thumping Birmingham 3-0 without Drogba and Essien, and Birmingham have not been a push over side this season, they’ve had a organised defence and a whole hearted team effort in every game which has seen them sit comfortably in the top half for quite a while and with the takeover by Carson Yeung providing them with money in the transfer windows, they look like could become a regular fixture. Manchester United have also shown that despite this been their weakest team in a long time they can still pack a punch by beating Hull 4-0 and Rooney showing off why he is one of the deadliest strikers in the world, while during midweek in the Carling Cup beating Man City 3-1, that they can still play some wonderful football. Arsenal may have stumbled against Villa, with Campbell making a return to premier league football after Vermaelen hobbled off injured, but after being written off last November, they are well and truly in the hunt for their first league in a long time. As for Liverpool, they continue to flounder, leaving the door completely wide open for any of City, Spurs or Villa to replace them in the “top four”.
The bottom of the table is still open to a number of teams falling into the bottom three, with a number of teams not finding any sort of form this season and some clubs in complete turmoil, such as Portsmouth who are struggling on the pitch as well as off it, with it’s finances in shambles, the club can no longer even afford to keep it’s official website online. West Ham, another team who have not faired too well so far have been taken over, 50% of the club being bought by former Birmingham owners, Gold and Sullivan. The new owners have stated their intention to go out and buy two “quality” strikers and possibly another player, but with most of their targets so far, Van Nistlerooy, Benjani and Gudjohnsen opting to join other clubs, has the takeover come too late for it to have a true impact on the east London club’s chances of surviving in the premier league? Would Van Nistlerooy, Benjani or Gudjohnsen have even had a huge impact anyway? Van Nistlerooy is pretty old now, Benjani too and neither one has been playing regularly, while Gudjohnsen isn’t a player with the sort of flair that can change a game in seconds. However it does look like the club will be landing Benni McCarthy from Blackburn Rovers, with James Beattie and Roman Pavlyuchenko being touted as other possible targets. And on the topic of transfers, City have been flashing their cash, having bids for Gago and Behrami turned town, while Tottenham have landed Gudjohnsen on loan and Manchester United have signed promising Fulham defender Chris Smalling for 7 million pounds (he will move in the summer). But you musn’t forget that huge figure City shelled out for Robinho, 32 million pounds, well he’s off to Santos, back in Brazil.
Final word: In these last couple of days of the transfer window, we could see some movement, especially in east london with West Ham trying to find some new players so as to salvage their season, while Portsmouth could conduct a bit of a fire sale as they try to stave off administration.
Pick of the weekend games: If you’re looking to watch a big match, then Arsenal vs United is the one for you. If you want another game that could be a great one to watch then I recommend Aston Villa vs Fulham, both teams are strong, both have some attacking flair, Villa more than Fulham, but both are good teams and both have good managers, Fulham could hold up Villa and give them a tough game.
Have a question for Andy or just want to welcome him to the AFR community? Send him a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have your say about “The Virtuoso’s View” below!