by Matt Biggerstaff
As we approach the two month mark and an international date, the English Premier League so far has been full of surprises.
This weekend’s matches will be in the minds of the players and fans for two weeks while many players go off to try and help their nation fight for a spot in the World Cup next summer. After match day one where a ‘crisis’ was brewing, you certainly wouldn’t imagine that Arsenal would be alone at the top of the table, and Real Madrid would be pondering another 100 million move to set up the daunting Bale – Ramsey Welsh connection.
Chelsea’s best striker has been on a tear the last few games, scoring loads of goals….for Everton. Defending champions Manchester United are sitting comfortably…below Cardiff in the bottom half of the table. Kolo Toure has officially found the fountain of youth, and brought it to Liverpool, and Tottenham is currently showing just how far 100 million pounds can go. If you are a gambling man like myself, Paddy Power’s EPL betting specials make this beginning of this season even more fun. That is, if you are winning. Like the guy who had Southampton being higher in the table than Man City after 6 games. I’ll bet he is swimming in winnings, Scrooge McDuck style. Seriously, who doesn’t want a swimming pool of money?!
Mesut Özil has been a revelation so far for Arsenal, with his brilliant and clever passing and anyone who overlooks Aaron Ramsey at this point is a fool, as his ratio of goals to shots is only slightly lower than the percentage of zippers Arsène Wenger struggles to open. In my mind, the real key is Mathieu Flamini, who has brought steel to the midfield that Arsenal has severely lacked since, well, Mathieu Flamini left. Who better to fix the gap he left then the guy himself? Their depth has been evident, although they do have injury concerns again, surprise surprise.
Liverpool has been biting through opposition defense with skilled attackers like Daniel Sturridge and Jonjo Shelvey, who decided that he had no loyalties in the Swansea – Liverpool game and would do his best for both teams. Their strong defense paired with blindingly ugly jerseys have helped oppress other teams into defeat. They now have Suarez back, which will help them as contenders for the title. At least until Steven Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers have to have chat about tactics where neither has any idea what the other is saying.
Tottenham’s strong defense, lead by Hugo Lloris’ very non-bald head, has only given up two goals, and Gylfi Sigurðsson’s (who is directly related to Eyjafjallajökull) strong start to the season has showed that they have considerable talent even though the world’s two best players left this summer: Dempsey and some Welsh guy, in that order. Seemingly all of their signings seem to be good decisions, and if Vertonghen can succesfully recover from being mauled by a wild pack of cats this past weekend, they will be very dangerous. Not unlike a wild pack of cats.
Fantasy EPL superpower Leighton Baines leads Everton, who is currently sitting in fourth. Although they have significantly less hair than last year, the loan moves for Lukaku and Barry currently look brilliant, very much unlike Chelsea’s strikers form. With Ross Barkley a revelation in the midfield, England fans can be certain to start drooling over him and Wilshire together, and predicting not only World Cups, but Nobel Prizes and MTV Movie Awards in their future as well. Why win one great trophy when you can win them all! Why Chelsea loaned out Lukaku is beyond me, but Everton fans will be very grateful.
Far, far outside of the top 4 (okay, by a whole point or two) lie Chelsea and Man City. Chelsea’s thirst for attacking mids was unquenchable this summer, and now they play with about 7 of them a game. The ol’ 2-7-1 has not been so fruitful so far, but that could change quickly. Man City’s early season form could be described as inconsistent, or maybe just ‘YO LOL WTF R WE DOIN’ as they beat good teams, lose to bad ones, and can’t figure out what exactly this Champions League thing is all about.
As far as Manchester United goes, I turned to an expert, who gave me this analysis on the team that was spot on. ‘Moyes is as confused if not more than the rest of us on who exactly make up his best 11. The guy we all thought was out the door has been United’s best player so far.’ One might even go so far to say he has the best hair plugs on the team as well.
This has been your irregularly scheduled EPL update, may my fantasy team score more points than yours so I feel good about myself at nighttime.