There is the cliché that in the English Premier League any team can beat any team at anytime. On Saturday, September 28, 2013 that was a truism. The top teams who spend the most money found themselves among the vanquished. Money can’t buy love. In the past, it has bought a lot of trophies. But on Saturday, it bought more than its fair share of grief.
Real Madrid had traditionally used Atletico Madrid as a beating stick. For decades especially playing at home, the score was a foregone conclusion. But not this Saturday, maybe not this year. Atletico Madrid gave Real Madrid a rare spanking.
The Real Madrid coach, Ancelotti, down at half time, opted to bring in his new golden boy, Gareth Bale. But Bale who had a few runs at the opposition but in the end, there was no cigar.
Manchester United divested of Sir Alex Ferguson, has made the worst start in recent years. They are bunched up with teams that traditionally excel in mediocrity. David Moyes lost to a rejuvenated West Brom. Manchester United’s defense has been porous under Moyes. Their central defender, Ferdinand, now chases younger strikers like a man past his prime.
Managing is not just putting players on the field but it is what is said to individual players and the team before taking the field and at half time. The season is still in its infancy and it is only fair to give David Moyes the opportunity to put his stamp at Old Trafford. Nonetheless, one wonders if he is the man to replace Sir Alex Ferguson.
Pellegrini, the Manchester City coach who had a field day beating up Manchester United last week, got beaten this week by an Aston Villa team that barely escaped relegation last season. Manchester City scored first just before half-time but Aston Villa came out in the second half a more aggressive team and shocked the free spending Manchester City winning 3-2.
Manchester City’s defense is not as impregnable as it was in yesteryear. They coughed up three goals at Cardiff City and three more to Aston Villa. Under Mancini, there was always disorder off the field. Under Pelligrini, there seems to be disorder on the field.
Mourinho in the Chelsea game against Tottenham, trotted out the wrong team. David Luiz partnered with John Terry as the two central defenders. Mourinho’s starting mid-field of Mikel, Lampard and Oscar was run over by Tottenham’s Paulinho, Erikson and Dembele. At the end of the half, the pupil had his teacher in punishment, leading 1-0.
The “know-it-all” Mourinho went to the blackboard in the dressing room and changed his line-up. Ramires, rather than playing on the right flank, came into the middle and replaced Mikel and Juan Mata was brought in to add creativity to philistine-like Chelsea.
Mata and Ramires changed the dynamic of the game and scored shortly after being introduced but the referee ruled off side. On a deft taken free kick by Juan Mata, John Terry’s header gave Chelsea the equalizer. The pupil and the teacher ended up with a draw.
Oscar is still a young player with a great potential. He brings great energy to the park but as a playmaker, he is not as magical as Juan Mata. Hopefully, Mounrinho saw the class of Juan Mata on Saturday and will now make him a fixture in Chelsea’s starting eleven.