No no, not the kind of impressions Darren Farley does (I implore you to click that link). I’m talking about what to make of the Premier League season so far.
Because I can only see like a dog, i.e in black and white, I’ll run through five things that have impressed me here, and five things that have disappointed me in part 2 thus far. Then we can cap it all off with what is, without doubt, the best goal of the season currently.
I’ve been impressed by…
Sure, Bob has a fair bit of cash to splash. He can afford to suspend £200,000-a-week, Golden Boot winning players, and only Real Madrid have a better squad selection. But he is doing fantastically well.
We all knew City would be challenging on every front this season, and that they would be very tough to beat. But we all also knew that it was a mental team. There are less egos on Mount Olympus; everyone thinks they deserve to play, and everyone costs so much they should be playing. But Mancini handles it well.
Of course, it always makes squad selection easy when your Carling Cup reserve team are better than Aston Villa’s firsts, but what about all the drama? Balotelli throwing darts out of a window. The Dzeko revolt, which featured the aforementioned 2010-11 Golden Boot winner Tevez, ending his City career. Intense media speculation every time you make a substitution. Balotelli confronting school bullies. Taking Adam Johnson off in under half an hour in the Champions League. Balotelli setting fire to his bathroom with a firework before the Manchester derby, etc.
But when they take to the field, friends or not, they are one hell of a team. And that is all down to Mancini. In the same way that the director is the difference between a ‘big cast’ movie being RED or The Expendables, Mancini is the difference between being top of the table and being a perpetual explosion.
David Silva and Juan Mata
One’s in his second season and the other his debut, and they are both the two best players in the league/Europe. Even without the magnificent flair that graces every run, and laser accuracy of every through ball, the numbers speak for themselves. In all competitions, Silva sits at six goals and eleven assists, while Mata is at four goals and nine assists.
Together they haven’t even played 40 games yet and look to be giving headaches to managers for seasons to come. How the hell do you even tackle them for example? Just ask this guy I suppose…
There were those of you that would be forgiven for thinking that Lucas was partially made of pudding a few years back. Misplaced pass after mis-timed tackle were littered across the pitch by him as he struggled to get the balance between attacking and holding midfielder.
Then it all changed. Suddenly I find myself putting Lucas in my top five holding midfielders in the world, the guy is incredible. 2010-11: most completed tackles in the League. In between great games against Chelsea, Lucas played a blinder against Man City; 6/6 interceptions successful, 11/11 tackles successful, and David Silva in his pocket. Liverpool will miss him desperately in the big games.
Robin van Persie
A pretty obvious choice, the Dutch striker has been in peerless form in front of goal this season. Every week it seemed like he wouldn’t score again, but he did. And being such a goal magnet gave him immense confidence, resulting in such immaculate goals as the chip against Norwich and the volley against Everton. And who can forget That game against Chelsea.
This man deserves a medal. There are many that believe that this guy doesn’t know what he’s doing, that he can’t manage the players, and that he doesn’t know how to win games. Why is it then that his team seem to be giving 100% in every game, are falling foul of some awful decisions, and only got outplayed by Man City (understandable).
Look back across their losses; five are closely fought 2-1’s
Apart from the City game, I haven’t seen them outplayed in a game. He has a good squad of players and they are under-performing (bar Yakubu, who’s in immense form). They are also very lucky that the flak is going to Kean and not them, because they wouldn’t be able to handle it remotely as well as he is.
The level of professionalism and just total politeness that Keane conducts himself with is second to none. If I were at a ‘sinking ship’ like Blackburn are (I secretly think they’ll survive), as a player I would want someone exactly like Steve Kean above me. He is as admirable as he is inspirational and Venkys are doing well to stick with him.