Saturday, 16 August 2008

The first day of the Premier League Season

EPL back today. Be still whilst I contain my joy!

Anyhoo, started the day with the return of Soccer AM. New look to go along with the new presenter (feel a bit for Andy Goldstein, I quite liked him, an improvement over Tim Lovejoy in my opinion, who had become a self-centred tool). Although it's pretty much the same old show as ever, signs are that the new presenter looks OK, and hopefully wil improve as he builds up a rapport with Helen.

Staying on Sky for the opening match of the EPL, Arsenal vs West Brom, looked like it might be a rampage for Arsenal as Nasri opened the scoring after 4 minutes. However, luckily for West Brom, Arsenal struggled to create many more chances and looked in control without creating much after that. My interest waned and I browsed the internet looking for a new phone whilst watching it.

I was shocked at how thin Arsenal's squad has become. I know they are suffering from injuries, but they seem to be down to almost the bones, and even had a 16-year old (according to the SKy interactive stats) on the bench. Lots of young players indicate just how much of a selling club Arsenal have become - get a player young, train him in the Arsenal way and flog him high after a few years. It would be interesting if Arsenal ever were taken over by an investor - Wenger could make somebody a lot of money, but as I heard somewhere else, the amount of players they need to sell to help pay off the stadium debt must be worrying, especially if Arsenal don't qualify for the Champions League. Will be an interesting season to see if the young players can rise to the challenge when they face sterner tests.

Off to Christie Park for the first home match of the season against Rotherham. We were comprehensively outplayed for the majority of the match, going 1-0 down to a superbly taken long range goal after 8 minutes, and after that Rotherham dominated us for the match. They broke strong and quick, and we couldn't get anything through their midfield, leaving us to punt the ball up long for their central denfenders to comfortably deal with. Another one just before half time, from the edge of the box (closing players down is not our strong point). Mid-way through the second half, we scored and put them under a sustained period of pressure, only for them to curl another goal in from the corner of the area right at the death. Pandemonium on the messageboard this evening, as people criticise all and sundry and blame the manager for everything. Yes, we played poorly, but it was exactly the same team who held a strong Wycombe team at Adams Park last Saturday. I don't think we'll go down (and with three teams still on minus points, we shouldn't!) but I don't think we'll challenge for the play-offs either, but then that was always unlikely. After a few seasons of success, fans expectations get raised, often unrealistically, and many seem unable to deal with us losing more regularly, after becoming accustomed to us winning often in the Conference.

Home, and watched Setanta to see Sunderland against Liverpool. Or at least, I would have, had we not discovered that our cat may have contracted worms from somewhere and we had to mount a major clean up operation in the room where the cat sleeps and has her tray and food. I watched the first part, and was interested to see how uncreative Liverpool were, and then stuck the rest of the match on a stream on the laptop whilst I was cleaning. I came back downstairs just as Torres got a goal from nothing, which shows what £24 million buys. The first match of the season is always interesting, as it leaves you to speculate if Liverpool were poor, or if it was down to improvements in the Sunderland squad that lead to Liverpool struggling.

Interestingly, it seems that both of the foreign cards I use may have been barred from broadcasting 3pm English matches for a certain period, as it seems the cards are becoming too prolific in the UK, and the Premier League are leaning heavily on the broadcasters. If this continues, it should help me in my quest to explore other leagues, as I will be forced into watching other countries leagues on Saturday afternoons when I haven't gone to Morecambe away matches.

Will most likely watch some of match of the day to catch up on the other Premier League goals, and become incensed with Gary Linker's smug face.

Matches so far this season:
Sky: 2
Setanta: 3
Foreign Satellite: 2

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