Football365.com has this great winners and losers feature and this is my take on their post this week
As impressive as Everton were dreadful, Arsenal players and fans will have gained plenty from their resounding victory at Goodison Park: confidence, defiance, belief in their new formation, and the reassuring cushion of three away points. There are no must-win games on the opening weekend of a season but Arsenal’s upcoming fixture list is so unusual and tricky in equal measure that anything less than victory on Merseyside would have resulted in awkward anxiety.
Arsenal has a really tough start to the season with only two home games before October. Between now and then end September Arsenal must travel to Celtic, twice to Manchester as well as Fulham. Saturday’s win will give the players confidence for these tough games, where Arsenal needs at least 3 wins from four games.
With Wilson Palacios running the midfield, this was a very convincing performance by Spurs. If it was not for the man the appalling finishing of Robbie Keane, Liverpool could easily have conceded four or five goals. It is easy to get carried away with one victory, but on this weekend’s evidence the only question to be asked is where Spurs will finish in the top six.
Has the most pressure of any manager in the Premier League, but got a badly needed victory at Blackburn. With Wolves and Portsmouth in their next two games, City have a chance to be top of the table at the end of the month.
Nobody knows better than Rooney what is at stake in the next ten months. “For me personally, next season could be the season that transforms me from someone who could be a great player into someone who is a great player,” he said in an interview published in July. He has the centre-stage platform from which to make the transformation and stood out as a class apart against Birmingham. There’s a long way to go but it’s the start he wanted.
Critic’s will say that they beat an Aston Villa side weakened by the departure of Gareth Barry and retirement of Martin Laursen. Consider then that since the start of the year, Wigan have been sold Antonio Valencia, Wilson Palacios, Emile Heskey and, most recently, Lee Cattermole
Thus was a huge win for a team looking mid-table stability this season. Darren Bent, with a point to prove and a England squad berth to claim, should be a success alongside Kenwyne Jones and has already repaid a chunk of his transfer fee with the winner at Bolton. Sunderland play Chelsea in midweek, bit after that they play Blackburn, Stoke, Hull, Burnley and Wolves, which are all winnable games.
If it was not for a remarkable second half comeback in Istanbul, would Rafa still be managing Liverpool?
It is easy to overreact to one game, but Liverpool look very much like a two-man team. There is a big hole in the midfield where Xavi Alonso used to sit, but luckily for Liverpool the schedule will give them enough time to straighten things out. Liverpool’s next six opponents are Stoke, Villa, Bolton, Burnley, West Ham and Hull. This gives Liverpool the chance to be sitting on 18 points before they play Chelsea in early October.
It has been a tough summer for Everton as they have been fighting back Manchester City’s approaches for Joleon Lescott. The question for David Moyes and the Everton board is whether they are better off keeping Lescott, or would they be better off getting £20+million for Lescott and using that the strengthen a small squad in several places?
It was a horrible performance by Villa against Villas. Villa’s troubles started in February with the arrival of Emile Heskey. Since his debut for Aston Villa, Heskey has played in 14 league games, scored two goals and been on the winning side just twice. In the 15 matches that immediately preceded his debut, Villa were victorious on ten occasions mostly using a 4-5-1 formation that has been jettisoned to accommodate their new signing.
The Portsmouth side on the opening weekend of last season:
James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson (Lauren, 79), Diop, Mendes (Mvuemba, 75), Diarra, Kranjcar (Utaka, 60), Crouch, Defoe.
The Portsmouth side this weekend:
James, Kaboul, Wilson, Distin, Belhadj, Mullins, Diop (Kanu, 76), Mokoena, Utaka (Nugent, 87), Kranjcar, Piquionne.
Pompey’s financial troubles are really worrisome and if they are forced to see Distin, James and Kranjcar in either of the two transfer windows then I cannot see how they can avoid relegation this season.