1. Andy Carroll may have cost more but is there anyone who believes he is more important to Liverpool’s prospects than * Luis Suarez?
2. During his time in the Premier League Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor has been a quick starter with the majority of his goal coming early in the season. He was kept off the score sheet in the opener against Fulham but an early goal and an assist against Blackburn kick started 2011/12 for him. Makes me wonder why I didn’t use that sort of insight to pick him in the Fantasy Football pool!
3. We have become used to Everton starting slowly but the performance against QPR was more like playing in reverse gear. Everton is the only team in the Premier League not to make a signing this summer and you wonder how often David Moyes can haul them up by the proverbial bootstraps.
4. West Brom drew the toughest first two rounds of the Barclay’s Premier League with games against last season’s champions (Manchester United) and the runners-up (Chelsea). The league table shows two losses but what it doesn’t show is how similar the losses were.
In both games West Brom entered the final ten minutes tied but were undone with last goals. Last week it was an own goal from Steven Reid while at Stamford Bridge Reid was unable to cut off a fantastic cross from Bosingwa and Malouda rattled home the winner.
However, there was enough in both performances to promise a season devoid of relegation problems for the Baggies.
5. Just like the previous game against Stoke when Chelsea upped the tempo and started pinging passes around they put West Brom firmly on the back foot. But just like last week they could not maintain that tempo – is it a case of early season rust or something permanent?
6. He was sent off at a critical juncture with 20 minutes to go but * Emmanuel Frimpong offered Arsenal fans who can look beyond the dark clouds over the Emirates a glimpse of what might be ahead.
This Arsenal team has tremendous challenges in front of it but it looks like the philosophy that built around the skills and needs of Fabregas has been dumped and bit by bit we are going to see a more forceful and direct Arsenal side as the season progresses.
It is now up to Thomas Vermaelen and Robin Van Persie to apply their stamps to this edition of Arsenal.
7. Manchester City should not have been in a position where they were needed to defend a one goal lead late in the game. City dominated in every key attacking statistic but Bolton continued to hang in and carry a threat. Bolton’s Martin Petrov contributed two assists – one from a free kick and another from open play. Nonetheless * Petrov’s inconsistency was there for all to see with only two of thirteen crosses finding a Bolton target.
8. There were a lot of eyebrows raised when City manager Roberto Mancini played Ya Ya Toure in a more attacking midfield role last season. There was also a lot of debate surrounding the different permutations used by Mancini in midfield as well.
Against Bolton on Sunday * Toure reverted to a more defensive role in the absence of Nigel de Jong with * Gareth Barry playing just in front while * David Silva and * James Milner were handed more attacking and creative roles in midfield.
9. The FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Colombia had a number of high points but perhaps none greater than the final match. Brazil took the cup with the help of a hat trick from Oscar. Portugal had led 2-1 with only 12 minutes to go when a shot by Brazil substitute Dudu was parried by Portugal keeper Mika on to the foot of Oscar.
That took the game into extra time and only Oscar will really know whether the attempt was intended as a shot or as a cross. Nonetheless it turned out to be the deciding goal in a tremendous end to end display from both countries.
Henrique of Sao Paulo was voted the player of the tournament as well as being top scorer. Both awards make him a player to watch in the years to come. For Portugal Nelson Oliveira of Pacos Ferreira stood out with this aggressive running and pace.
10. Houston Dynamo endured a horrific season in 2010. Early returns from 2011 promised little improvement.
But since then the Dynamo has hit stride and a last gasp 3-2 win at home against Real Salt Lake up to the heady heights of second in the Eastern Conference.
The last 10 matches have brought only one loss and although the likes of the Philadelphia Union, Sporting KC and DC United can all overhaul the Dynamo on the basis of games in hand (Sporting KC and DC United were scheduled to play each other Sunday night) there must be a mounting confidence that Houston can make the play-offs this season.
Against Real Salt Lake Houston came back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to win the game with a dramatic goal from substitute Alex Dixon – his first in MLS.
* indicates performance graphic.
1. West Brom has not beaten Chelsea in league play since 1979.
2. Blackburn has won just 5 of the 23 Premier League matches under manager Steve Kean.
3. Houston Dynamo took only 18 points from their first 16 matches in MLS this season but have collected 17 from their last 10 games.
4. New York Red Bulls have now drawn more than half of their 26 games this season. Of the 14 draws only two have been scoreless while 6 have finished 2-2 including their last three. And in all three the Red Bulls were forced to come from behind to level the score.
5. Gabriel Agbonlahor’s goal for Aston Villa – and a cracker it was too – was his 50th in the Premier League.
6. Based on recent history Wolves win over Fulham on Sunday should not have been unexpected – Wolves have not lost at Molineux to Fulham since 1985.
7. Last season it took Wolves 10 games to win their first Premier League away match and 17 to record a clean sheet. After two games this season they have already hit these marks.
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