Dismal, My Dear Watson

Let me begin by reiterating that this blog is generally geared towards positive, yet spirited discussion. I am not here to remind you that the last time Liverpool won a title (1989-90) Phillipe Coutinho, Sadio Mané and club captain Jordan Henderson were not even born. Certainly, I am not utilizing this platform to educate the masses regarding the fact that Manchester City were relegated from the Premier League to Division One as recently as 2001. That’s just not why I am here. 

However; sometimes you need to dance with the demons in the mud. The season is three matches and one international break old and there have already formed some diabolically ruinous plot points at clubs Britain wide. CUE THE MUSIC, MAESTRO!

Slaven Bilić needs more than prayers right now.

West Ham United: What are these prats doing??! When a club of this stature enters September with the same amount of points as me and my kickabout mates, it is definitively a moment to transition into thorough panic mode. You cannot color this development in any other shade but full on disaster (it’s a distant cousin of claret the experts tell me). They impressively signed Marko Arnautović, Chicharito and Pablo Zabaleta in the summer. Those are Premier League proven players albeit at varying stages of their respective careers. Perhaps, they didn’t quite address every major gap in depth, but these players, especially £16m hitman Chicharito, are experienced and productive assets that were deemed good business by the club brass as well as the (former) Upton Park faithful. The Hammers didn’t really suffer any crippling losses either (Enner Valencia, who never quite sorted himself in England, was offloaded to Mexico’s Tigres). So, the core was firmly in place to aim for a reasonably attainable top half of the table finish. But, that is not quite what we have seen thus far. 

I forgive them an away opening day trouncing at the hands of a rampant and seething Manchester United. They offered very little on the day regardless. A comeback from two goals and one man down in the next match illustrated the actual potential of this team. Its heart. Chicharito molding into a new terrace hero. But, conceding a penalty in injury time giving Southampton all three points was likely more indicative of the makeup of this squad. What followed was a three nil embarrassment away to newly promoted Newcastle United, which is flatly unacceptable. West Ham have shipped a whopping ten goals in 3 matches. Their tactics seem nonexistent and their desire in a similar predicament. Up next for them will be a tricky home encounter versus surging and inspired newbies Huddersfield Town where victory will be expected. 

And the cherry on top of this blunder-infested sundae is that joint-chair David Sullivan is hurling dumpster loads of ether at current manager Slaven Bilić. Sullivan claims Bilić spurned the chance to sign Portuguese midfield starlet Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich (Sanches would eventually, and wholly surreally, opt to join Swansea City in a reunion with manager Paul Clement, Carlo Ancelloti’s former assistant at the previously mentioned Bavarian giant Bayern). But wait, THERE IS MORE, MES AMIS ! Sullivan also alleges that Bilić turned down sounds-like-a-Game-of-Thrones-character Grzegorz Krychowiak from Paris Saint-Germain. Krychowiak, a Polish defensive midfield stud, is looking the real deal and ended up on loan at West Bromwich Albion. But, hang about! You want more humiliating West Ham catastrophes?? Bruv, West Ham are currently suing Sporting Lisbon for libel in re: William Carvalho! A legitimate episode of Coronation Street unfolding here. The two sides have sturdy and decidedly opposite views on whether or not an actual bid was lodged for Sporting’s twenty five year old Euro 2016 champion midfielder. West Ham state they were rebuffed and Sporting contentiously deny any sort of official approach was made by the east London club. Keep in mind this purported libel all took place, in classically farcical 2017 fashion, over social media! *straight face emoji, dogg*

West Ham United, you are a shambles. 

Arsenal need more from Mesut Özil now that he is staying.

Arsenal: I do not quite remember a worse and more controversial Premier League start for the Gunners than this year. Their transfer market inabilities have been well publicized. They bought Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon to bag the goals. And that is essentially where the good news ends. In May 2017 any Arsenal fan would have bitten off your hand for a summer ending with global superstars Mesut Özil AND Alexis Sánchez staying at the club. Yet, here we are and the fact they remain in northern London is categorically the issue at hand (as well as wantaways Shkodran Mustafi — to Inter Milan — and Héctor Bellerín — to Barcelona — ). Özil has not been of the requisite quality for well over a season now. He is also frail mentally; needs a good coddling. In short, not worth the wages for such an elevated level of inefficiency. He is not happy or at least he continues to play as if he is not. The board should have sold the German for the highest bid and set upon a rebuild (there is a chance they did indeed attempt this but found no acceptable suitors). Alexi, despite actively trying to engineer a move away from Arsenal, is cut from a different cloth. He failed to leave (it was more the stubbornness by the club to not sell their best player yet again to a rival — see Ashley Cole, Emmanuel Adebayor, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie, etc.), and now he must play and perform at the elite level expected of him. Which I am confident he will do and in style. He’s a fighter and one of the best footballers in the league. He will surely give it his all despite the circumstances of the newly shut transfer window. He is not Özil. 

That point notwithstanding, and importantly, Arsenal is a massive club and should only field players who are committed to the cause. Sánchez will likely, and should be, sold in January. Any player not wanting to represent the crest for this club needs to be sent out. Simple as. They are a distraction and cancerous to any sort of progress longed for. Arsenal’s dilemma is that they are starting the season and playing matches with numerous names attempting to flee. All of those culprits should have been off the books weeks ago. {{Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being one was signed by Liverpool on deadline day}} The results distinctly reflect this unfortunate turn of events. They were losing 3-2 to an inferior Leicester City at home up until the 83rd minute of their opening match. Even though Arsenal would go on to magically take all the points after incredibly late Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud strikes, this seemed to paper over the cracks of the legitimate issue of the unhinged nature and aura surrounding their play. Their backline is scattered and feeble. Their normally crisp and pretty passing build up has gone on holiday. Their manager can’t decide who to play up front. To add, that stoppage time winner from Giroud remains Arsenal’s last goal! The Gunners followed up that dramatic victory with a loss away to Stoke City (1-0) and an outright drubbing by Liverpool (4-0) at Anfield. Luckily, they welcome Bournemouth next at The Emirates, which should prove a slightly more passable test. Or at least the fans will be hoping so. The Wenger Out banners will be on display in full force. The whispers for the eponymous manager Arsene Wenger’s head will turn into banshee decibel level screams if the Gooners drop points this weekend. 

Arsenal, get it sorted. 

It’s all been very lackluster from Wilfried Zaha and company.

Crystal Palace: My word, these boys are pathetic. Their current haul of zero points is matched in number only by their goals for. They seemingly had an easy entrance into the campaign set about with the task of hosting Huddersfield. The same Huddersfield, who might I add are making Yorkshire so proud, playing their first ever Premier League match. Look away now Eagles fans! To say this went well for Crystal Palace would be deemed criminal behavior. The upstarts of Huddersfield slaughtered Palace three nil with 2 goals before half time. #OOPS The team looked woeful. Besides Manchester United loanee Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who will in time be a star in midfield or defence, the Crystal Palace players looked lost, with a wee sprinkling of disinterest. New manager Frank de Boer seems to have confused the squad with formation changes and a faulty implementation of a completely different system. Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke were virtually anonymous when they are the ones who need to rise to this very challenge and carry the team forward. A team with internationally capped footballers (Wayne Hennessey, Yohan Cabaye, Mamadou Sahko, Patrick van Aanholt, Andros Townsend, Luka Milivojević, Jason Puncheon, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and others in addition to Zaha, Benteke and Fosu-Mensah) who should be extremely competitive in this league. But not so far. What followed was a 1-0 loss to Liverpool with a meager 27% possession and yet another home defeat, this time to Swansea 2-0. No points, no goals. 

De Boer is already on the verge of the sack. Palace must beat Burnley away for him to survive. Football is a results business, as we have all been lectured to about since the Stone Age. Once more, a win reads as an utterly doable deed, but this side has shown no ambition. And with Zaha frustratingly sidelined by injury they will need someone else to carry that cross. I just don’t believe they have anyone willing, capable yes, but not the characters who want to steady this wounded ship. 

Crystal Palace, no thanks.

All anybody wants to do is celebrate like Luís Nani.

Listen, it’s early doors. It surely cannot be all doom and gloom in September. But make no mistake that a season can doubtlessly be derailed with such poor starts as the clubs above have demonstrated. It is not that they are the only transgressors, but certainly the most disappointing. Each team in each tier has separate and varying aspirations come the middle of May 2018. For instance: West Ham should be eyeing the European competition places. Arsenal should be eyeing the title. Crystal Palace should be eyeing a top 8-10 finish. Absolutely none of those scenarios seems likely as of now. And if the tide were to turn in any way for these sides, significant adjustments need to be made. These are top class managers with a stable of quality football players. The question is not can they do this, but simply, will they? And if the answer identifies itself in the negative, nobody is safe from the axe. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s