Welcome to the new season of Free Kicks – The Cover Corner’s weekly look at the world of English Premier League Football. Here are some thoughts on the kickoff of the Premier League season (Editor’s Note: There may be a slight Chelsea bias):
Hazard comes through for the Blues – Chelsea kicked off the first game since winning the Champions League in style with a solid win away at Wigan. The squad performed well, including againg vets Ivanovic and Lampard (both of whom scored in the opening seven minutes) and new arrival Hazard who set up the opening goal and generally controlled the middle with his quick, attacking play. Fernando Torres looks fit and had a wonderful chance that would have made the final 3 -0 had it not been cleared off the goal line. A nice win for the Champs to open their season on.
Tottenham has some work to do – The Spurs made a go of it against Newcastle but desperately need midfielders. Without soon to be transferred Luka Modric and injured Scotty Parker the squad struggled in the middle. Strikers are also a concern although diminutive Jermaine Defoe came up huge again. A tracksuited AVB (attempting to distance himself from his Chelsea image?) needs to find the players to run his system or this team could be in some trouble. Speaking of which…
Arsenal and Liverpool are in trouble – Liverpool put on a dismal performance against West Brom taking a lopsided 3-0 beating. Arsenal managed a draw against Sunderland but lacked the miraculous scoring that RVP brought time and again last season. Arsenal is a team in transition and needs to pull together quickly lest they be left behind by their rivals (selling their two best players is not going to help). Liverpool on the other hand looks awful and seems to be completely directionless. New manager Brendan Rogers is going to need a strong hand to pull them up. Where are the goals going to come from for the Reds, no one seems to know nor really care on this squad.
Man City surives – Despite the loss of top striker Sergio Aguero and being down 2-1, Man City managed to grab 3 points in what is certain to be a tight race to the finish this season. City has stockpiled ridiculous talent at striker and has refused to let them go – despite rumors of a $40 million offer for Mario Ballotelli the club kept him. The team certainly has enough talent to win the league and they are a stronger team after bonding last year. Can they hold off Man U and Chelsea?