I think I finally have my fill of football–at least for the day. I watched most of Sporting KC’s 3-1 loss last night. They didn’t look particularly sharp losing to a 2nd-from-bottom team. But after a year of watching Premier League, I have to say the gap is obvious. I think the average MLS side has two to five players who could compete in the EPL. Those players are able to pounce on individual errors in MLS to score what would be in England, preventable goals.
Which isn’t to say that EPL teams don’t get soft and sloppy from time to time. In the last game today, Chelsea looked a step above a good Everton team in talent. But Chelsea looked as casual as they did again Burnley two weeks ago. The difference is that Everton is a genuine first division side. Result: Burnley gets one good goal before the lion wakes; Everton had three which could easily have been five. Thanks to his defenders, and possibly his team being not quite in condition (three very late goals in three games), Tim Howard has what would be a very pedestrian goals-against average in today’s NHL–3.33.
That said, the Everton-Chelsea match was certainly fast-paced and exciting. The only thing it didn’t have was a nail-biter finish.
Swansea looked better than last week against a team that’s a little better than Burnley. Good Swansea was better. Bad Swans, not so bad. The game announcers liked Bony’s game a lot, but I thought he played a bit better last week. The Swans still make me nervous, even though they sit on a perfect start. Blogger Max Hicks thinks they are missing one key cog in the midfield machine. His diagnosis looks accurate to me after watching the second half of today’s match against West Brom. There’s a lot of finesse with the Swans. But Wilfried Bony is the only commanding physical player.
While I like Jonjo Shelvey’s work ethic, he makes questionable decisions in the heat of battle. Today, it was two or three long and off-target shots on goal. Sub Tom Carroll looked like a boy among men when defending. But I’m being nitpicky. Swans had more than enough for WBA. Routledge, what a goal. Chelsea next: that will be a true test of the team.
Man U sure looked brittle and vulnerable against Burnley, who have improved somewhat in the past two weeks. Of course, the competition has gotten easier. People were talking a lot, comparing LVG’s opening five matches compared to what the team drew last season. Is that team going to gel? I can’t imagine the young miss–or anybody else would have expected her favorite two sides to be outpointed by my lone favorite EPL team 9-4 after three matches.
Earlier this week, a few of the nbcsn commentators were discussing how a manager’s formation can change depending on whether his team has the ball or is defending. I was thinking about that a bit as I watched three matches today. Football has come a long way in my head since we scribbled old-style 2-3-5 line-ups on the back of junk mail envelopes on the edges of open lots in my neighborhood or at Scout Camp.
I think I’ve finally licked the flu. Back to work in a bit. Won’t be watching as much Premier League replay online this week. Maybe I’ll squeeze in a match tonight after dinner. My wife has acquired my stuffed sinuses and general ache via transfer. All she had to do was to wait out the transfer window, midnight tomorrow.