It was an interesting weekend of English football. The punchless Swans have dropped into the relegation zone. Management blamed pink-slipped Garry Monk, but I trace the problem back to January when they sold off their star striker for cash. Clearly, the replacements have not been up to par. Somehow, Leicester and Watford have two scoring threats each. Neither of those sides is going down in May. I don’t think the Swans are, either. But it seems a forward who can put the ball in the net might be a higher priority than a manager.
I perceive the business reality of European football, but selling off a player without a plan B isn’t good management. Lots of teams are tweaking the noses of big English clubs this year. It’s what makes the Premier League a better overall locus for entertainment than the well-regarded operations in Germany, Spain, and Italy. The soap operas involving Mourinho and Van Gaal are just gravy.
The young miss was disappointed in her team’s trials as well. The EPL’s big clubs: Man U, Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, and Arsenal all look to me like they have moments when they turn off the switch. Hungry teams seem to be able to pounce and punish, and in hindsight a lot of these matches don’t seem all that inspiring from the wealthy clubs’ viewpoint. Liverpool wasn’t in this morning’s match at all–I caught the first half before heading to church.
Chelsea didn’t look all that impressive, even though they won. I read this call for fans to close ranks. There was a lot of ridicule from the crowd on suddenly pulling a winning performance out of their hats. But I think the folks that buy the tickets have a lot to complain about. I remember Chelsea’s first match last season. They were outworked by Burnley for fifteen minutes and were behind. Then they turned the switch on, got three goals in the next fifteen. Then they went into cruise control for the final two-thirds of the game. If that team worked as hard as Leicester …
With more performances like that, I really hope that Spurs, Watford, Leicester, and Everton knock a few more big clubs down the table by the time May ends.
My sense is that Swansea will recover and end up in 14th. I can see them overtaking Newcastle, Norwich, Bournemouth, and West Brom. And I was hoping for seventh or sixth. They won’t pass Chelsea. But I think the Blues have a tough fight to get to the top half. Tenth place, behind the current top half and ahead of West Ham.
Lots of football to come. Boxing Day, then early next week when I will be off from church duty and can watch nonstop for hours. Or until I nap.