The good – Tottenham.
If you are going to select a game to watch at the weekend, then try and pick the one where Tottenham are playing – quite frankly are a joy to watch and this coming from a Manchester United supporter. They are by far the best team in the Premier League right now for their flowing, attacking, productive play that yields results – a style honed by manager Andre Villas-Boas.
When their star player Gareth Bale departed in the summer for Real Madrid, many believed Tottenham would struggle, but with the new players that arrived during the transfer window Tottenham are a complete team and are no longer reliant on one player to provide panache and a game winning opportunity.
When it comes to soccer, space is a virtue, the more space a player can create the more room he has to play the ball. Tottenham’s wide wing play lends itself perfectly to opening up the middle of the field. Opposing defenders are drawn to the wide player with the ball thereby creating more space for players coming into the attacking third of the field.
With the ball being played out wide, this allows the wingers to cross the ball into the goal area, creating many scoring opportunities – a tactic Tottenham employs better than anyone else in the league right now. And with an abundance of talented midfield players driving the ball forward Tottenham find themselves joint second in the league and will be fighting for top honors this season. They are good.
The bad – Manchester Utd.
As a Manchester United supporter I don’t know where to start. Utd are a team known for their fast flowing creative football. They were the masters of wing play that is now being employed so successfully by Tottenham. And yet with an abundance of wingers at their disposal, Manchester Utd, this season, are a shadow of their former selves, basically they are awful.
The team lack ideas, gone is the fast flowing game that used to leave opposing players rooted to the spot. Gone is the attractive wing play, the vast goal scoring opportunities and the counter attacking football that all football fans have come to know and admire.
Manchester Untied appears to be void of ideas, any ideas. They have scored one goal from open play this season and the space they are allowing opposing players to run at them is something normally seen in lower league football – everyone is under performing. Against ManchesterCity they allowed a player to run with the ball three quarters of the pitch unchallenged – the result, he crossed the ball and a goal was scored. Against West Brom, a mid table team by anyone’s standards, the same again; a player picks up the ball in his own half and runs full speed unchallenged into the Manchester Utd penalty box.
When Manchester Utd do have the ball, the ball is played through the middle of the field, all the available space vanishes, and very little opportunity is available for the midfield to do anything creative with the ball. This has resulted in a lack of goals, lack or scoring opportunity and lack of interest in watching the team I have supported for the last fifteen years.
With the team virtually the same as the team that destroyed all Premier League opposition last year, the question remains, in less than five months how can they have become so bad?
The Ugly – Crystal Palace
Sadly there is not much to say here, Crystal Palace is truly awful – ugly team in defense and ugly in attack. The team is devoid of ideas, devoid of scoring opportunity and devoid of a cohesive defensive unit. Even the manager is ugly; I had better stop now….
Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk