An addict on English football like me can only rejoice at the chance of being in the UK for the opening day of the season. I have practically drowned on TV specials, newspaper and maazine reviews, and countless snapshot conversations all over the tube, the taxis, the bars, and so on. Plus I can watch Match of the day at BBC - a personal favorite, with all the goals and best chances of all matches.
Even better, I could join my buddy Martin to a match - we went to the majestic Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal x Fulham. An absolutely amazing venue, and a fitting match.
Fulham took a shock lead after a mishap from Lehmann, but it was always clear that Arsenal would eventually turn the game around. Rosicky and Hleb were especially entertaining, with good bal control and also creating effective chances - but Arsenal still lacked a proper finisher. Van Persie was a bit complacent and offside many times.
I was yearning to see Nicklas Bendtner in action - he's probably going to be a source of goals for them in the season - but he only got in at mid-second half. By then, Arsenal dominated thoroughly, but were taking a lot of time to kill off Fulham. Still the goal t seemed like a matter of time, and it came through a penalty and a good interplay by Hleb.
Next weekend there is Liverpool x Chelsea at Anfield, and expectations are high, given both clubs's showings this weekend. Both played fresh 4-4-2, with true wingers and an attacking stance in the lines of four (Pennant-Gerrard-Alonso-Riise and WrightPhilips-Essien-Lampard-Malouda). Let's see if neither comes back to the stifling midfield battles from last year.
In other teams - really excited about Man City`s prospects. Apparently Elano had a fantastic match - I`ve seen the highlights and he bursted forward at will, as Santos fans are accustomed. Will this be Sven`s revenge year? Let's see.
Anyway, for a warm-up it was an awesome weekend. I wonder why people still find it strange I`d reather follow the EPL rather than the Brazilian Championship.
My team of the round (to compare with Garth Crooks's team tomorrow at BBC):
Corluka (Man City)
Onuoha (Man City)
Elano (Man City)