Much has been made of the topsy turvy nature of the current Premier League season and although this has not be greatly exaggerated, there are few who have really considered why it has been like that. The truth is that when you have so much change its bound to effect the stability of the league. Here are a few observations that should be made about this season’s top flight.
Where has David Moyes’ tracksuit gone?
The question from many pundits in the summer during the first few weeks of a very dull transfer window was whether Moyes would change Manchester United or whether it would in fact be Moyes himself who would change United. Like with most 50-50 questions the answer is more likely to be a bit of both. Moyes will get time in a directors boardroom that consists of David Gill, Sir Alex and Sir Bobby Charlton , there is no doubt that he will get in excess of two or three seasons. His predecessor had been there for five before he was able to hold a trophy aloft. It’s refreshing to see a manager actually being given the one tool the all managers deserve and crave more than any other : time. The summer transfer window should only be considered a minor failure for the Manchester United manager and nothing more , considering that both the previous Chief Executive and manager left at preciously the same moment.
To blame Fellaini for causing United to tumble down the table is ridiculous , it was a huge move for him and its ironically often harder for players coming in with a new manager who just so happens to be his mentor. Yes he hasn’t hit the ground running but he is not a Scholes, Gerrard, Lampard or Vieira so what did people expect ? Fellaini will need a season just as Moyes will need three or four to put his own stamp on the side.
One point that has thus so far gone unnoticed is the fact that Moyes’ tracksuit has gone , he still wears a tracksuit top , but that simply rests above a suit. Is this the beginning of the decline of the tracksuit manager or is this is what is expected from managers of top clubs now? The Head Coach made a debut in the game in what seems like yonks ago now yet members tracksuit fraternity are still about – Pulis and Martin O’neil are still in the game. It’s possible that Moyes has just decided to promote a statesman type of image and sees this as another as natural progression of an already impressive career. The temptation is to read too much into this and say that it is a sign that he doesn’t trust his touchline ability any more, we should suspect that it is somewhere closer to the middle ground. One thing is for sure Moyes is no fashion icon!
Not Mata what the problem is Mourinho is finding harder to defend…
Much was made of the Special One’s return, journalists were licking their lips after they began to plan the headlines that would not remain unwritten for long but the headlines have taken a rather different direction than was first thought. Mata has not been an automatic starter, Lukaku who would at first appear to be a tailor made Mourinho forward was quickly sent out on loan and Chelsea cannot defend for their lives. Mourinho light?
Mata been given his marching orders is regarded a crime by many sections of the Stamford Bridge supporters but yet it shouldn’t be a surprise. Like or lump it – Mata is a slow player , a Spanish magician yes but pace is not his game, nor is he a defender. There are two reasons why Mata is not a player that suits Mourinho’s philosophy. Mourinho’s likes quick counter attacking football , ruthless and uncompromising. You don’t win things without standing on peoples toes and for The Special One it is about making the tough decisions that others would simply overlook or ignore. Mata will have to learn to defend and that Chelsea has a squad not a team. This is not about power, it’s about ideals and just maybe we have to show respect for a manager has been there done that. The rise of Oscar has not helped Mata, and he is seen as been more of a natural number ten that is seen as been so vital as part of the middle game. The Mata situation reminds of the Joe Cole situation a few a years ago and look what Jose did with him!
Lukaku is a clever bloke he doesn’t seem to speak in the dull clichés that most footballers relish in. He gives articulate responses to simple questions, this is a fault as far as Mourinho is concerned. He is not instead in conflict he wants disciples that is why Lukaku has been sent out on loan. Mourinho hated players such as Ballack who would give it back to him and offer words of tactical advice. Lukaku also does not do the hard defending yards that Mourinho demands from his players. Lukaku will have to adapt otherwise he will find himself out of Stamford Bridge on a permanent basis.
The squad inherited is not the same one he had and developed in 2004 : Ferreira, Bridge, Terry, Carvalho and Cech were at the back. The defence has completely changed Cech is no longer the player he was and Terry has niggling fitness concerns, whilst Ferreira and Carvalho are no longer at the club. That’s why the defence is not quite as reliable as it used to be Luiz is a maverick and Cole and Azpilicueta like to go forward as often as possible. It will take to sort out this team.
Barry Hell he is good, Everton on form!
Lukaku has grabbed most of the headlines along with Roberto Martinez this season but in fact Barry and Moyes should take at least and if not more credit for their part in Everton’s flair. Barry is a solid English midfielder , you would find it hard to say he is world class but he works he socks. Everton are now a proper unit and Martinez should be praised but the solidarity was in the majority created by Moyes and Barry is now more responsible than Fellaini was.
Moyes improved Everton no end and their new manager is providing the football that all fans once to watch. It will continue but an mid season drift down the table cannot be ruled out. For now though it’s in Barry they should trust.
With the power, pace and flair no one will enjoy playing at Goodison.
Next week , this blog will focus on Man City, Sunderland and Newcastle. Now its time to get back to the FA Cup