Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThree things we learned from Round One of the Premier League - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Three things we learned from Round One of the Premier League - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Three things we learned from Round One of the Premier League


The Premier League burst back into action with a blaze of goals (although nobody seemed to tell the Emirates) and amidst all the hype and in particular Martin Tyler referring to “that” QPR game and commentary on May 13th, a number of interesting points emerged:

1.) Foreign signings aren’t always a risk.

Of course, after one game on a particularly warm and glorious August day, it is perhaps more than a little premature to claim that foreign signings trump British ones with proven Premier League experience all day long.

But looking at the way the likes of Eden Hazard and Santi Cazorla lit up the opening round of the new campaign compared to some of the major British signings, namely Joe Allen for Liverpool and Robert Green for QPR, then there really is no comparison. Similarly, Michu, for his perceived slightness and Mladen Petric, for his age, were picked out as potential dud purchases by some and yet both starred. Going back a season, compe Newcastle’s bargain signings of Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse to Liverpool’s much lauded (at the time) signings of Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing.

Perhaps in the early 2000s, when a number of expensive foreign purchases came to these shores and failed to adapt to the style of football or climate could it be said that it was better to buy British. Since then however, football has changed. Spain’s all-conquering style based on technique and retaining possession lends itself to more foreign signings. As Brendan Rodgers is finding out at Liverpool, asking the likes of Henderson and Charlie Adam to play Tiki Taka isn’t quite as easy as it may be for Michael Laudrup at Swansea, where he can call upon the likes of Michu and Jonathan de Guzman who come from leagues and teams who play such systems.

2.) Manchester United have a bit of a conundrum in Robin Van Persie

Last season’s 37 goal double player of the year is simply too good a player not to shine at Old Trafford. However, on the basis of the Dutchman’s 20 minute debut at Goodison Park on Monday night, it appears that both Van Persie and Man Utd have a little work to do before the transfer begins to pay off.

Van Persie struggled to make an impact as the ball bypassed him at times. Although appearing to take up good positions, Van Persie would often see the ball played to the likes of Shinji Kagawa and particularly, Wayne Rooney. At Arsenal, Van Persie was the main man with all forward play centred around his talents. When RVP expected the ball he got it whether he was in a good position or not. Additionally, with Arsenal’s Barcelona-lite style, Van Persie’s ability to drop deep and orchestrate play fitted like a glove.

At United, he’ll have to learn that not only do they expect him to primarily remain around the penalty box as Ferguson prefers a more direct and incisive style of play, but that he is not the main man anymore, certainly when Rooney is on the pitch. The United players have for years had Rooney as their go-to man and it’ll take them some time to become accustomed to Van Persie’s talents and presence in the team.

3.) New managers in for a struggle.

Steve Clarke may have enjoyed a wonderful start as Head Coach of West Brom but it came at the expense of Brendan Rodgers’ own Premier League debut as Liverpool manager. Elsewhere, fellow new managers Chris Hughton, Paul Lambert and Andre Villas Boas all endured tough starts to their new eras at Norwich, Aston Villa and Tottenham respectively and for various reasons, all five new bosses could potentially be in for tortuous season.

Clarke will hope that his side’s comfortable victory won’t mask the difficulties he faces in attempting to build on the work done by Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns. With very little money to spend, Clarke may find last season’s 10th place finish a hard one to match. As already touched upon, Rodgers, the most high profile of the summer’s managerial changes, may struggle to impose the sort of style he so successfully brought to Swansea at Anfield. Liverpool’s players appear to lack a certain level of technique to carry out Rodgers’ methods and the signing of Joe Allen alone won’t transport Swansea’s style to Liverpool.

Similarly to West Brom, Chris Hughton at Norwich will do very well to come anywhere near matching the tremendous work done by Paul Lambert at Carrow Road, where his side’s 5-0 opening defeat to Fulham carried very clear signs of “Second Season Syndrome”. Lambert himself has much work to do at Aston Villa, where their anaemic performance in their 1-0 defeat at West Ham would have had the fans rioting had Alex McLeish been in charge. Finally, early days it may be but Andre Villas Boas may have for the second consecutive summer, taken charge of a sinking ship as Tottenham continue to sell players and struggle to get in replacements, although the signing of Emmanuel Adebayor will at least give their attack some much needed beef.

 Adam Mazrani

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