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domingo, 7 de septiembre de 2008

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE, THE SPECTACLE IS HERE!(This article is available in English and Español)

The European leagues have just started, so it is time to make a small review of the situation and prospects for some clubs, like the British clubs, whose analysis we do in this article:
Manchester United: the current Premier and European´s Champion has completed its magnificent and solid squad with the addition of the brilliant Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov (38 million euros) –he helped to Tottenham,scoring15 goals last season-and it is therefore a clear candidate to repeat the successes of last season. However, we must point out that the United presents some questions, because on the one hand we will see if the departure of the assistant coach of the team, the Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, will affect to the surrender of the team-usually the assitant coach is a unvalued figure, but we believe that to have a good second coach is important for a club and the fans value their labour when they leave the club-one example is FC Barcelona, since this club did not win any title more with Frank Rijkaard, since the assistant coach,Henk Ten Cate, left FC Barcelona-and on the other hand, we must see if Manchester United can overcome one important difficulty during the first phase of the championship: the injury of the 2 important midfielder- Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves- and of course the injury of the superstar of the team, the incredible Cristiano Ronaldo -31 goals in the last Premier League-. If the team is close to the leader of the Championship, when it recover these 3 great players, Manchester United will be the favourite number 1 for the English championship, if not the Old Trafford´s fans should content themselves with qualifying for the Champions League 09-10.
Chelsea FC: obviously a team with players like Petr Cech, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, Mickaël Essien, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Deco, Didier Drogba, always is a favourite to win any competition, but we must say that FC Chelsea presents a series of doubts this season: the coach and the squad´s planning. On the one hand, we believe that Luiz Felipe Scolari is a rather overvalued coach, because if you look at their results in European football, they are quite poor, since for example Portugal had many troubles to qualify for Euro 08-it was in an easy group, but nothing was clear for Portugal until the last day -and the results of the Portuguese National Team in the Euros with Scolari can be described as fiasco, but as this coach was lucky in the past-he won a World Cup with Brazil-, now you know, he can do anything…(anyway, we must also remember that the Brazilian National Team had many problems to qualify to the World Cup 02, where it had easy games if we exclude the quarter-finals against England and the final against Germany-although the German team was not in its best moment of the history- and besides it is very easy to coach a team with Ronaldo , Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, so that WC was not a Felipao´s merit). On the other hand, we do not like the final squad for this season, since, although Chelsea continues to keep a good and solid defensive and midfield´s line-inclusively they will be better, since Chelsea signed a good right back, the Portuguese Jose Bosingwa (20 million euros) and the excellent and solid Deco (Chelsea only paid 10 million euros for the Portuguese star)-, it has a short attack´s line, since Abramovich followed from players like Shaun Wright Phillips, Andriy Shevchenko, Hernan Crespo and Claudio Pizarro, keeping only as "9" the superb Didier Drogba-now he is injured- and the unworkable Nicolas Anelka-player who plays horrible under pressure-.So we think that this scarce number of “9” can be a “dead weight” for the Stamford Bridge´s team and it is sure that on the winter´s market, we will see new players for this position to help Drogba, because if they do not sign more strikers, I think that Chelsea will not have any option to win the Premiership.
Arsenal FC: The London´s team is probably the solidest favourite, since if we except the problem of the goalkeeper-we believe that Manuel Almunia does not transmit the necessary security for an important team-, the rest of the squad is very good and compact, remaining virtually the same players of last season (the gunners lost the defensive midfielder Gilberto Silva-he lost his importance in the English team and he looked for a new experience with Panathinaikos-, Mathieu Flamini-perhaps the most sensitive departure-and Philippe Senderos-both will play this season in Milan-,the veteran goalkeeper Jens Lehmann-he came back to his country and he will play at Stuttgart- and the Belarusian Aliaksandr Hleb, who arrived to FC Barcelona for 15 million Euros-we believe that Hleb´s departure is not very worrying, because Arsène Wenger got the acquisition of the superb French midfielder Samir Nasri –Arsenal paid 16 million euros to Olympique Marseille-and now Wenger will have even a stronger and more competitive midfield, especially when the elegant Tomas Rosicky can play again(he is injured). In short, good material for one of the best coach of the world, the Frenchman Wenger, whose courageous and offensive proposal deserves a good result and we hope that this team can win a title this year.
Liverpool FC: Liverpool is one of the favourites if we pay attention to the fans of the team and the squads, where we can see a lot of news this season, since we will not see players like Andrey Voronin, Scott Carson and classic in recent years as Steve Finnan –he will play at Espanyol Barcelona-Harry Kewell - Galatasaray is his new club-Peter Crouch-Portsmouth paid 13.7 million euros for him-and Jon Ander Riise, who arrived at AS Roma (5 million Euros). To replace these marches, Rafael Benitez has signed good players as the good and experienced right back Philipp Degen-he arrives from Borussia Dortmund-,the solvent left back Andrea Dossena-Liverpool paid 9 million euros to Udinese for this player, who has played one game with Italian National Team-Albert Riera – he can show an excellent level if he is motivated-and Robbie Keane-I am a fan of this striker, who has a lot of individual quality and vision of the game; Liverpool paid 24 million euros to the Spurs for him-. In other words, good new players who join to a competitive squad that it could theoretically win the Premier league; we say theoretically, because in practice we do not believe that this club can get it, since the coach, Rafa Benitez, uses a tactic too much conservative when Liverpool played far from Anfield Road. If a team wants to win the Premier League, it must play all the game with only one idea: to win and a draw is not enough-a conservative scheme can be correct for a Cup or Champions League´s game, but it is no enough for the Premier League-. Thus, it would be a good thing to see new airs at Liverpool, to see a more offensive team, otherwise, Liverpool will have the same result: the 4th place in the Premier and the Champions League´s adventure will depend on the fortune in a penalty´s round or in the extra-time of the game, which is a bit sad when we speak about an historical club as the Liverpool FC.
Manchester City: Without doubt this is the fashionable team during the last days after the appearance of the Abu Dhabi Investment and Development United Group Limited as the new owner of the team and with an objective: to build an excellent team to win all the championships. We will see what they will do from January, because if they want to win this year the Premier League and the Uefa Cup, they should sign new player, since even though Elano Blumer thinks that this squad can aspire to win the Premier League, we think that this squad needs something more in order to be a serious candidate to dethrone the “big 4” of the Premier, because on the one hand, we believe that Mark Hughes has a problem with the goalkeeper, since both Joe Hart and Kasper Schmeichel (son of the legendary Peter Schmeichel) are too young and without the necessary and appropriate experience for a team with aspirations (we do not understand the departure of Isaksson to PSV)-and on the other hand, Mark Hughes may have an unbalanced squad, since he has a lot of offensive players (Martin Petrov, Shaun Wright Phillips - City paid 11 million Euros to Chelsea-, Bojinov, Vassell, Ched Evans, Daniel Sturridge, Benjani-excellent level last season during his Portsmouth´s period - Felipe Caicedo and new Brazilian acquisitions: Jo – he played very well during his CSKA Moscow´s period and City paid 24 million euros for him-and Robinho, who was the protagonist of the summer with his statements-sincerely if we exclude his incredible first game with Real Madrid against Cadiz, his performance during his Real Madrid´s period can be described as irregular and even disappointing-), but instead the coach has few defensive midfielders(the veteran German Dietmar Hamann and the young Gelson Fernandes and Michael Johnson) and the defensive line is not the best of the world and we do not find good substitutes to Tal Ben.Haim-City paid 6 million Euros to Chelsea - , the elegant Vincent Kompany-City paid 8.5 million euros to Hamburg-the warrior Pablo Zabaleta -8.7 million euros-and Micah Richards. Thus we must wait until the winter´s market to see if Manchester City can be a realistic alternative to win the Premier League this season.

Finally we will make reference to the major movements in other teams in the Premier: Tottenham Hotspurs: We are not convinced that the team of the overvalued Juande Ramos can have a successful season, since on the one hand, we believe that Spurs has not solved the problems with the goalkeeper with the acquisition of the Brazilian Gomes, besides the defensive line is simply correct (if we exclude Ledley King, Woodgate and the sensational Croatian Vedran Corluka, the other defensive players are young players who still have to prove that they are ready to play in an important club) and of course it is doubtful the surrender of the new striker´s line, since to lose in 6 months players like Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Berbatov is a little frivolity and we will see if the new player,Roman Pavlychenko(17.4 million euros), will be enough. On the other hand the Spurs´s midfield -with players like the brilliant Croatian Luka Modric (21 million euros), David Bentley (22 million euros), the powerful Didier Zokora, the fast Lennon, the powerful Jenas or the former FC Barcelona´s player Giovanni (an overestimated player)-is remarkable, although we understand that it will not be enough to offset the deficits of the team. We'll see what will be the result of the Spurs this year but we believe that a realist result can be a place to play next season in the Uefa Cup.
Newcastle United: ”the magpies” is synonymous of instability during the last years and of course this season can not be an exception and this week the coach Kevin Keegan has resigned, since he disagreed with some of the transfers and perhaps he was right, because while it is true that players like Argentine central defender Coloccini (13 million euros) or the Argentine midfielder Jonas Gutierrez (3 million) or the Spanish striker Xisco are good players, it is also true that perhaps Newcastle did a bad planning of the squad, because if you have in the same team strikers like Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Alan Smith, Ameobi, Obafemi Martins,¿ was necessary another striker like Xisco? I think that Newcastle could dispense with Xisco to invest 7 million euros-the Xisco´s price- to strengthen another line of the team, as the midfield. In short, decisions of the chief and we think that the St. James Park´s supporters will have another difficult season.

Moreover, Everton acquired the French striker Louis Saha-he did not show his best level during his Manchester United's period-and the Belgian Marouannee Fellaini, who arrives from Standard and after a good job during the Olympic Games (16 million euros); Aston Villa paid 10 million Euros to acquire the Spanish central defender Carlos Cuellar, who arrives from Glasgow Rangers, and 15 million euros to acquire the good offensive midfielder James Milner, who comes from Newcastle United; West Ham United has signed good players as the Swiss right back Valon Behrami, however the coach Alan Curbihley was not happy with the squad and he resigned last week; Sunderland acquired to have any option to remain in the Premier League, 2 good and experienced strikers, Cisse and Diouf; Bolton Wanderers also bought good strikers as the Swedish Johan Elmander (13 million euros)and the Polish Ebi Smolarek, who was unlucky during his Racing Santander´s period. In short, the English Premier League will have great players and now it is moment to enjoy with all of them.
Cheers,
J&F

5 comentarios:

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