segunda-feira, 17 de outubro de 2016

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action (ONE)

Resultado de imagem para flag england
Theo Walcott flicks switch for Arsenal if not England, Pedro Obiang takes his chance for West Ham and Tony Pulis acquired a gem in Nacer Chadli

Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring against Manchester City, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, Southampton's Charlie Austin celebrates scoring his first goal against Burnley and Theo Walcott celebrates scoring against Swansea

 Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring against Manchester City; Bournemouth’s manager, Eddie Howe; West Ham’s manager, Slaven Bilic; Southampton’s Charlie Austin celebrates scoring his first goal against Burnley and Theo Walcott celebrates scoring against Swansea. Composite: AFP, Getty, Reuters

1) The curious case of Theo Walcott

One of the curiosities of the last international break was the ineffectual performance of Theo Walcott for England against Malta and Slovenia. Put him back in an Arsenal shirt, however, and it was as if a switch had been flicked. The 27-year-old scored twice to set his team up for a 3-2 home win over Swansea Cityand it prolonged his eye-catching start to the club season. He is Arsenal’s top scorer, with seven goals in all competitions. “It’s always difficult when you go from your club to international, there’s a different transition at this moment in time with England and you play with different players,” Walcott said. “You have to get used to the way you play all over again and it is difficult to get into the rhythm of things.” Happily for Arsenal, Walcott’s rhythm and focus is in sync with them.David Hytner

2) Howe gives England another reminder

The smaller sides can never feel truly comfortable in the Premier League. They live on the lam, knowing that a relegation battle could be around any corner. Some promoted clubs have excelled in their first season and then endured an almighty comedown: Ipswich Town (fifth in 2000-01, relegated in 01‑02) and Reading (eighth in 2006‑07, relegated in 07-08) are the most obvious examples of that. Bournemouth finished 16th last season, yet that was a hugely impressive achievement and the early impressions are that they will improve on that this season. Their exhilarating 6-1 win against Hull City was a reminder, as if it were needed, that Eddie Howe is the best young English manager by a mile. He is ceaselessly impressive and has such conviction that he almost feels like a fictional character. With each passing year, the England job becomes harder. It is going to take a remarkable character to achieve something worthwhile in the job; Howe has a better chance than most. Rob Smyth

3) Does Terry still fit into Chelsea equation?

Necessity forced Antonio Conte into employing three at the back after Liverpool and Arsenal gave his Chelsea side the runaround in recent defeats and the tweaked system has since yielded successive victories and accompanying clean sheets. The Italian even referred to the full-back César Azpilicueta as “a centre-half” last week, suggesting the most mobile of his defenders will be employed on the right of a three for the foreseeable future. Yet quite where the manager can fit John Terry into the revamped formation remains to be seen. The captain, recovered from an ankle-ligament injury, sat out the win against Leicester City on Saturday, with Conte having experimented with three and four at the back in training in the buildup to the fixture, each time without the 35-year-old at the heart of the rearguard. The theory goes Terry would only be comfortable in the centre, a role in which both Gary Cahill and David Luiz have impressed against Hull and Leicester. The captain now has a week to convince the Italian he should be involved against Manchester United next Sunday, when Chelsea’s revival will be properly tested. “John Terry, for me, the club and the team, is a very important player whether he is in the team or not,” Conte said, “because of his work-rate and his attitude every single day during training. We had the possibility of playing two different systems [three of four at the back] and now we have another week to study our opponent and find the right solution.” But is he really likely to change a winning team before such a key occasion? Conte recognises the United fixture, overshadowed by José Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge, will be an opportunity to demonstrate whether this team can wound a contender. Liverpool and Arsenal had outplayed them. “Now it is important to give a different answer,” he said. “It is very important for our confidence and for our fans.” Dominic Fifield

4) Obiang takes his chance for West Ham

Slaven Bilic’s decision to switch from his usual 4-2-3-1 formation to a 3-4-2-1 not only freed Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini from defensive responsibilities in West Ham United’s restorative 1-0 win against Crystal Palace, it enabled him to keep Pedro Obiang in the side. Obiang has often warmed the bench since his arrival from Sampdoria two summers ago and there was talk of a move back to Italy in the last transfer window, but West Ham’s need for the midfielder’s defensive assurance became clear during their wretched start to the season. The 24-year-old’s patience was rewarded when he returned to the side for the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough two weeks ago and he was outstanding in his screening role against Palace, diligently protecting West Ham’s back four and using the ball well. “He was waiting for his chance,” Bilic said. “He’s a great example.” Jacob Steinberg

5) Lukaku underlines misjudgment of Mourinho

Romelu Lukaku is vying with Kevin De Bruyne to win the Who Is José Mourinho’s Greatest Misjudgment contest and his latest entry came with the scintillating solo goal on Saturday. That made it 1-0 to Everton at the Etihad Stadium as Lukaku skated past Gaël Clichy then banged the ball past a helpless Claudio Bravo. When in charge of Chelsea, Mourinho allowed Lukaku’s loan then sale to Everton – and the price of £28m now seems daylight robbery. De Bruyne, Lukaku’s countryman, was also deemed not good enough by Mourinho and again the £18m price Wolfsburg paid for a footballer who would become the German player of the year seems a steal. Lukaku has nine goals in 10 appearances for club and country this season. His former Everton team-mate John Stones was part of the City rearguard ripped apart by the Belgian’s 64th-minute goal and he said: “I’ve played a lot of games with Rom and his goal tally speaks for itself really, he’s clinical when he gets in the box and he scored a lot of goals, so we tried to do our best in stopping that but he got one against us.” There promises to be a good few more. Jamie Jackson

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário