Will Torres and Carroll ever come good?
The record signings of Chelsea and Liverpool both warmed the bench in the big game of the weekend. Torres showed signs of a recovery earlier in the season but, as a portent of his current standing at the club, Andre Villas-Boas turned first to Daniel Sturridge instead of the Spaniard when Chelsea were chasing the game on Sunday. At this rate it surely won’t be long before we start collectively asking whether Torres needs a new club to kickstart his career. Carroll is another anomaly. Many eyebrows were raised at the £35 million paid for him by Liverpool but few could have predicted quite such an inglorious start for the lad. Apparently he’s on a diet but he needs to start feasting on goals soon if he is to avoid becoming a very expensive afterthought at Anfield.
How Long has Villas-Boas got?
Maybe Roman has mellowed with the years but losses at home to Arsenal and Liverpool will have tested his patience to extremes. Not so long ago, you’d be surprised to see Chelsea concede even one goal at home but, at the moment, their defence is there for the taking. Terry is clearly preoccupied by recent events but he doesn’t have the mobility of old and his previously perfect sense of position seems also to be on the wane. David Luiz just doesn’t look like a defender. Or at least not a centre-back. Surely a full-back or midfield birth would suit the buccaneering ball player better . With Lampard and Mikel looking a little predictable, The Blues’ midfield also needs fresh impetus. Mr. Abramovich clearly invested in the Villas-Boas for the long-term but, with the highly impressive Hiddink back on the market, perhaps he might cut his losses sooner rather than later.
Has Nasri made a mistake?
Nasri’s form has been decent when he has played for City, but he hasn’t played all that much. Perhaps it is folly to suggest that he has made a career mistake in joining the currently all-conquering Manchester side but whilst his other summer suitors, Manchester United, are currently crying out for a creative midfielder The Frenchman finds himself under employed at City in the company of the seemingly un-droppable Silva and Toure. It’s a long season and a player of this quality will surely get a good quota of games (be it out wide or in the middle), but whilst he seemed tailor made to step into the United midfield, his role at City seems less clearly defined.
Will all three promoted sides survive the drop?
Whilst Swansea lacked a cutting edge against United at the weekend (perfectly summed up by Scott Sinclair’s almost impossible miss) they will have gained further respect for the way that they performed in general. They are an excellent passing side and if they can find a serial goal scorer from within their ranks, or during the winter window, they could well survive. Norwich have exceeded all expectations and gave Arsenal a really good game on Saturday. They seem very well-equipped, in terms of players and managerial staff, to survive their first season back in the big time. QPR, meanwhile, are a bit Jeckyll and Hyde. Adel Taraabt seems to embody the whole club in so far as you never know quite what to expect from him or them. But, crucially, they now have the financial backing to buy when necessary and also know where the goal is. So could this be a season which sees all the newly promoted sides staying up? There is certainly a decent case for it at this stage.
The Real Deal?
Real Madrid again impressed at the weekend with victory in one of their toughest fixtures on the league calendar. Although only 3 points off the pace, Barcelona find themselves in the unusual position of playing catch up. You wouldn’t exactly put your house on Real at this stage but it looks like the Catalans finally have some serious competition in a league which has, of late, rarely threatened a title winner from outside ‘the big one’.