Manchester United now look like a fabulously attacking team - the United of old I've heard people say. It's hard to argue when players like Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie, Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj are on their forward roster and now, there is a genuine excitement every time they go forward. However, at the back, they are seemingly threadbare and undoubtedly in need of an overhaul. With defenders who cannot stay fit for any decent length of time, van Gaal must make his defence the priority in January and in the following summer transfer window.
Yes, this is a roundabout turn from the previous roundup but then Lampard truly didn’t show what he was capable of and didn’t look fit at all. However, in his cameo against former club Chelsea he displayed all of the qualities he was renowned for in his trophy-laden, goal glittering Stamford Bridge career. A trademark late run while ensuring the finish was simply too much for Courtois in the Chelsea goal ensured that Chelsea left the Etihad with only a point after seemingly being on course for all three.
Liverpool are looking a shadow of their former selves, particularly in midfield and up front while in defence they have a nasty habit of letting in silly goals. Much like United, they have a specific weakness that teams are continually exploiting with no signs of improvement. West Ham had the look of a much better footballing side while Stewart Downing exposed Steven Gerrard for a lack of pace and positional awareness time and again.
Tottenham slipped to a 1-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion, a rather frustrating afternoon for Spurs after initially beginning brightly and then subsequently fading away thus allowing West Brom to snatch the lead and ultimately, the win. What is clear is that Pochettino is finding it hard to bring some much needed consistency to Spurs’ play, the aim being they come away with scrappy wins instead of scrappy defeats, a task made all the harder with the added pressures and distractions the Europa League provides.
What is abundantly clear is that teams are struggling to find an ‘identity’, which of course brings consistency in their play. A specific line-up, a specific and unique playing spirit, a specific way of playing – these ingredients are either all or part missing in a lot of clubs this season. Manchester United are suffering from a lack of a settled line-up through injuries as well as a new manager implementing new ideas, while Liverpool seem to be suffering from a variant of 2nd season syndrome and a post-Luis Suarez hangover.
City seem down in the dumps a little although their late salvo against Chelsea would have lifted spirits while Tottenham and Everton are struggling to handle extra burdens in the form of the Europa League. What is clear is that these teams must come up with one quick as they risk an uncomfortable and inconsistent season.
Categories: Premier League , soccer