The Week in Football – And We’re Back…
Picking up from where they left off, Martin Jol and the west London club have started the season off in style by beating Norwich comfortably. Five goals scored and with new boy Mladen Petric getting two of them, the style of play and players Jol has at the club look good enough to better their ninth place finish from last season. But with the good performance also comes a bit of bad news with club favourite Clint Dempsey currently on strike and looking for a move away from West London. Jol has admitted he wants to keep Dempsey, but if Clint doesn’t want to play for the club then it might be worth cashing in and finding a cheaper replacement. The likely destination for Clint looks like Liverpool, and boy could they use his goals.
Speaking of Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers’ first league game for Liverpool could and should have gone much better. Luis Suarez had a torrid time in front of the net, missing a host of chances which could have made the score a bit more respectable. Also, one of their stand out performers from last season in Daniel Agger was rightfully sent off for a shove in the back. Liverpool have performed in pre-season and hopefully this was just a bad day at the office which they will quickly forget about. They have some very tough opening games so they will need to perform much better, otherwise it could be a long season for them again.
Michael Laudrup’s first game in charge and you would have thought that QPR would have been a lot better and given Swansea a fight. The “Swansea Style” was on show and they put five goals past a QPR side who strengthed their squad heavily over the summer. Comparing the transfer activity over the summer, Swansea have moved on from the Rodgers era quickly and with a very smart manager in Laudrup, they have the right to think that they can improve on last season. Michu, scorer of two goals, looks to be a very good signing and a bargain at only £2 million.
Lining up with an attacking formation of 4-3-3, Nigel Adkins and his side showed that they are here to give it a good go this season. Top scorers last year in the Championship, they showed that they have the attacking flair to mix it up with the big boys in the division. Leading the champions at one stage they looked comfortable, but they will need to improve their defending if they want to stay in the league, which I don’t see as a problem. It was also good to see Adkins’ continued confidence in the youth academy at St Mary’s, giving 17 year old James Ward-Prowse a place in the starting XI. Another product from this famous Southampton academy which has produced the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Wallcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in recent years.