Sunday, August 26, 2007

where-abôuts, and more Premier League

So I haven't had the time to write for a while - been caught up in some wicked work traveling and moving around.
But here goes a quick update since my previous post --

Aug 12 - I was there at the Emirates for Arsenal x Fulham as reported.

Aug 18 - Went to Craven Cottage to witness yet another 1-2 loss by Fulham, this time by an interesting Middlesbrough side. My buddy Martin got us third row seats - I could have spat in Stewart Downing if I wanted to. (I surely did want to, but the huge steward in front of me would probably not think it was such a good idea.)

Aug 19 - Flew to Toronto.

I'd been to Canada before, but not in summer. Pretty interesting. Amazed at the politeness of Canadians, at the number of beggars on the streets, and at some distinctive traits of Canadian accent - words such as "abôut", "any-ow" and so on.

Aug 23 - Flew to Montreal.

Aug 24 - Back to Toronto.

This past weekend I could also watch two full EPL games on TV (god bless it's not ppv anymore) - two hard-fought 1-0 wins, Arsenal beating Man City and Man United beating Spurs.

Anyway, just as an update, and before I forget, some notes on what I've seen so far of Premiership:

Positively impressed me:

- Man City is awesome to watch. Elano is playing as a creative attacking midfielder just like Diego used to be in his old Santos of 2002. Micah Richards is the future of English defence. Schmeichel junior is a lot like his dad. Uefa Cup for them is a concrete possibility.

- Wigan is not so bad as I first thought. Valencia-Landzaat-Scharner-Koumas is actually a pretty balanced line of four - the latter, especially, is impressive.

Confirmed my expectations:

- Chelsea looks even more cohesive this year. SWP-Lampard-Essien-Malouda, yet another outstanding line of four. Can't see where Ballack will fit. Makelele is already second reserve (behind Mikel)

- Liverpool are title contenders for sure. Torres is 10x better than Morientes, Voronin is 10x better than Fowler. Just not sure we have enough cover for centre-back if Carra is out for a while and Paletta was sold.

- Everton and Blackburn continue to be strong, well-led squads.

Disappointed me:

- Sunderland is well-organized but have no quality whatsoever. I mean, Dwight Yorke is the central midfielder for Christ's sake.

- Fulham is an absolute blunder. Watched them twice at the stadium - wouldn't put money on their staying up. What is odd is that the line-up doesn't look that bad - Smertin, Davis, Healy, Kamara, McBride.... but, well, they suck.

- Arsenal hasn't solved their front-of-goal problems. They pass and pass and pass but still take too much time to shoot. Both games I watched from them could've been 6-0 if not for their chronic procrastination.

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