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Sep 2012
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Analysis of the Premier League, by Edu Parra

General Articles

Eduardo Parra

The first three weeks of the Premier League have now passed and even though it is too soon to reach important conclusions, there are interesting things that can be analysed. Up until now, 29 games have been played, remember Sunderland-Reading was cancelled in the second week due to rain, and according to statistics provided by Opta, 85 goals have been scored, this being the highest average per game in the last few years: 2,93 per game. These statistics include spectacular results, like Swansea’s 0-5 victory at QPR in the first week and the same result for Fulham against Norwich.

Van Persie and Michu head the top goal scorers list, with the Holland international ahead thanks to the ratio of goals/minutes played. Swansea is the team who’ve scored the most goals up to now, with 10 goals in 3 games, whilst Arsenal is the team who’ve scored less but have conceded none in all their games up to now. Chelsea have won their first three games, whilst Stoke City have drawn their three games and Southampton have not yet gained a point.

Top of the league are Chelsea who have strengthened their team during the summer with various players particularly in attack. The London team continue playing 1-4-2-3-1 with the base of the team remaining the same as last year, especially their defence and midfield, with Torres as their reference in attack and Hazard moving with freedom between the lines. Another of the club’s new signings, the Brazilian Oscar, is giving good vibes albeit from the bench. Marko Marin, Victor Moses and the Spaniard Cesar Azpiliueta have yet to make their debut.

In the ‘Champions Zone’ are Manchester City, current champion, accompanied by Swansea and West Bromwich Albion. City faced their two games with a 1-4-4-2 formation and had greater problems than expected in beating Southampton and QPR respectively. They played with Rodwell, the only change from last season’s scheme, alongside Yaya Toure in midfield. On the wings Nasri and Silva going inside, Tevez in front and scoring goals and Dzeko, playing in the place of the injured Aguero, to complete the picture. However, in their game at Anfield, where they achieved a valuable draw, Mancini lined up a 1-3-5-2, with three centerbacks, Kolo Toure, Kompany y Zabaleta that gave a lot of freedom to Milner and Kolarov to attack. In this case, Nasri acted as the link between De Jong and Yaya Toure and Tevez and Balotelli.

Swansea is, at the moment, the top goal scoring team of the competition and second in the table. They have combined 1-4-4-1-1 and 1-4-2-3-1 formations depending on the game situation and are fighting back after the loss of a few important players from last season which in part has been due to some fantastic additions providing great results for Michael Laudrup’s team. This is the case with Michu, playing as second striker and demonstrating his assisting and goal scoring capacity. WBA for its part with a 1-4-2-3-1 formation and the only new additions being the keeper Foster and the argentine midfielder Yacob, have found notable solutions in a complicated start facing teams such as Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton. In fifth position, drawing in points with West Ham and Everton is Manchester United, after their loss in Goodison Park in the first week they have achieved two victories with the same result, against Fulham at home and Southampton away. With a hat trick included by Robin Van Persie. Another of Old Trafford’s signings was the Japanese player Shinji Kagawa.

In mid table are teams like Arsenal, Newcastle or Fulham. Wenger’s team had their first win against Liverpool in Anfield. Curiously in that game they had less possession of the ball than in their two previous goaless draws against Sunderland at home and Stoke City away where they had 70% possession. In a 1-4-3-3 formation, Arteta, Diaby and Cazorla form the midfield. In particular Cazorla is having a good start to the season providing assists to his colleagues and after various attempts managing to score his first goal against Liverpool. Oliver Giroud, ex Montpellier player is their reference in attack, with Podolski going inside from the left wing and Gervinho, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain exchanging positions in attack. Fulham, playing with a 1-4-4-1-1, started the season with a strong victory against Norwich, but they have conceded 6 goals in the last two games. They have particularly strengthened their strikers, with Petric, who scored in the last two games, and Hugo Rodallega and Dimitar Berbatov, making their debut against West Ham. Newcastle for their part, displayed a 1-4-4-2 with Anita, one of the signings from Ajax, playing in the middle alongside the French player Cabaye. Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse played in front with Ben Arfa and Jonas on the wings. The French scored a great goal to equalise against Aston Villa.

Tottenham and Liverpool are in unusual positions in the lower part of the table. The team from White Hart Lane has 2 points after 3 games thanks to two draws against WBA and Norwich and a loss in their first game of the season away in Newcastle. They normally display a 1-4-2-3-1 formation, with Sigurdson between the lines and Vertonghen playing as a left centerback alongside Gallas. Of the last signings made, Dembele made his debut against Norwich scoring a great goal, whilst Lloris and Dempsey are still awaiting their opportunity. Liverpool has displayed a usual 1-4-3-3, losing the matches against WBA and Arsenal and drawing against Manchester City in a game in which they scored twice from set pieces. Sahin made his debut against Arsenal completing the line of three midfielders with Joe Allen and Gerrard. In front, Borini played on the right, the young Sterling on the left with Suarez in the middle.

The Premier League will come back in two weeks time after the international break. It will be interesting to see what the next games will bring and how the different teams progress.

04/09/12 at 18:41:04 #1
Liverpool may play "a usual 4-3-3", but it is already to be seen, that they built up their game more patiently and keep the ball on the ground. Could sometimes even be more direct imo.

Tottenham are caught too easily in the middle with their new system.

Hazard´s technical ability and his creativity help Torres and Mata to put in their qualities more. Could become a magic triangle. Worth to mention Bertrand, who balances the rooms tactically clever.

City are still looking for their formation and had against us a tactical problem: when Borini or Sterling came up wide, they often did not know, if the Wing-backs had to pick them up or the closer central defender.

Milner and Kolarov were mostly nailed down by Sterling and Borini, so that they could not come into the last third.

ManU play a 4-2-3-1 instead of their usual 4-4-1-1 and sometimes even a fluid 4-2-4 notable.

Arsenal had in the first two games problems in connecting the different parts of their-new-team.

05/09/12 at 00:46:38 #2
Long expected competition started and we are all excited to watch good football and enjoy the game.Its easy to be happy about that,but there are things that ruining this beautiful game.Just at the beginning,memories from the last seasons coming back.Every year more and more money is in the game,but the main ''actors'' are geting worst rapidly which is very bad.Players,referees...there were never more egocentrics than these days...For me,it's hard to watch for exam. refs who seeking attention that much and trying to stamp authority with some ridiculous decisions.I agree that they haven't easy job,and one of the reasons are players who have never been more pampered,big headed or... Today,if you are going to take advantage,its no more for looking even for contact,but like jumping in the pool.Then overtimed lying on the grass for minimal contacts which leading us to,I don't know,40-50min effective game time (and ref just add 3mins after 90. ,sick realy). I think it's MUST for TEHNOLOGY.