Monday, October 21, 2013

Gervinho flying in Italy; Man United continue to struggle


I'm going to start with Italy as I still don't know how to describe Arsenal's first goal, either of the first two goals in the Chelsea game or why Manchester United will be lucky to finish fourth.

Roma are legit. There's no doubting that. 8 wins from 8 is fantastic in any league, but they have beaten Inter, Napoli and local rivals Lazio, scoring 22 goals and conceding just one. In four away wins, they have yet to let one in. And who plays for them? If I told you Gervinho was looking like a real footballer, no one would believe me. But he is, and Totti and De Rossi hold the team together, allowing Adam Ljajic, Miralem Pjanic and Allesandro Florenzi to flourish. When they sold Dani Osvaldo to Southampton, and labored (a little) to a 3-1 win over the MLS All-Stars, I thought mid-table may be their best bet this year. It may still be as Napoli, Juventus and Inter are all going to be sniffing around, but for now, Roma deserve the praise they are receiving - including Gervinho.

A hat-trick for Giuseppe Rossi for Fiorentina against Juve was nice in a World Cup season, he'll be in Brazil - but could have been the star the US really needs.

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Barcelona could only draw and Atletico lost, with yet another late dubious penalty for Real Madrid ensuring they made up some ground on the early front runners.... Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are starting to pull away, but Bayer Leverkeusen are still riding the coattails right now... PSG and Monaco remain unbeaten, but it's to be expected with the money they spent.

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Okay, so I had a chance to think about the Premier League and what went on this weekend. Arsenal looked great and scored a fantastic goal - in fairness they threaten goals like that most weeks, just this time it came off. Chelsea's goal is bizarre to me. I don't think it should count. The ball is in the goalkeeper's possession, and that's nine tenths of the law in my view. The fact Samuel Eto'o couldn't finish when Hazard passed back to him, then got hit in the head on the floor was some rough justice, but it is just going to lead to more hassle. 'Keepers don't need to bounce the ball, and hopefully this will cut that out, or they'll be argument of consistency.

Manchester United look average at best. Southampton are a good side, and bossed it at times, but United should still fancy themselves, even with a $40 million microphone in midfield. Fellaini isn't bad, but he's not good. Moyes couldn't get anyone else and overpaid, but the Belgian is just not up to it - he can play, but he's not the leader they need in midfield. And what it comes down to me is that Fergie got out at the right time. Rooney and van Persie are still quality players, but there isn't much else right now. They have no structure or creativity, hence the excitement about Adnan Janujaz - he could be great, but wouldn't be the focus yet if United had other players on form right now.