Welcome to 2013! Apologies for the no-post yesterday, I was in fit state to be writing anything about anyone, so I gave it a miss. In full confidence that you will have been in the same state I was, I don’t feel so bad about not doing a post.
Anyway, we’re back now and personally I want to thank you all for coming on and reading what I have to say in a week. The rise of Jumpers For Goalposts in the past year has been incredible; working with Real Madrid to help promote their new Apple app was a personal favourite, as have been the immense hits coming through each day. It really is a privilege to have you visit us five days a week and over the next few months we’ll be looking to improve the site, to ake your experience on here more enjoyable.
Southampton resolute in draw against Arsenal
On the back of a four match winning streak, Arsenal fans, myself included, can be forgiven for writing a match against Southmapton down as an “easy three points”. Not that Arsenal ever earn an easy three points; even with four wins in a row and form improving, you never know which Arsenal you’ll get and as sluggish as Arsenal were, that has to go down to the unbelievable rate of work put in by Southampton’s starting XI, as well as their substitutes.
A key tactic used in preventing Arsenal from firing on all cylinders this season, is to press the midfield deep, stop them passing and whatever you do, don’t let the Gunners build from the back. Nigel Adkins had his team press high, they were organised for the entire ninety minutes and despite conceding an own goal from Theo Walcott’s free-kick, Arsenal never created anything clear-cut, and nor did they ever appear as if they would do. Defensively, I thought Southampton were at the best I’ve seen them so far this season.
Southampton didn’t just push employ a bus in the middle of the park, either; they attacked with menace when they won the ball and late on, Jason Puncheon, who really impressed me during the match, should have grabbed a late winner for Southampton. Of the two sides, it was Southampton who looked more threatening in the final third and if they can maintain that attitude and level of performance for the rest of the season, or even better it, which they are capable of doing, then they won’t be relegated. There are teams in the bottom half of the table with far more problems than Southampton and if the the Saints can play like this for the rest of the season, they’ll play Premier League football next season.
Robin van Perfect
I noticed on Twitter yesterday that Manchester United fans were saying, “I always knew Robin van Persie was good, but I never knew he was THIS good”. This begs the question; “Where on Earth have Manchester United fans been?! Under a rock?!!!”.
So far this season, van Persie has scored 14 goals and made 6 assists in 20 Manchester United appearances, coming off the substitute’s bench three times. Even when suffering with injury at Arsenal, van Persie was prolific and Cesc Fabregas himself has said that his one major regret about his time at Arsenal, is that van Persie wasn’t always fit for his time there. For example, in the 2007/08 season, van Persie, blighted by injury, made just 15 appearances. In spite of injury, he still scored 7 goals and assisted 3.
That the Dutchman is tearing up Old Trafford with ease comes as no surprise. Yes, in the summer I asked whether or not United could have allocated money elsewhere, such as to their midfield which has its struggles, but I never doubted the quality that Robin van Persie was going to give. I’m certainly not as blind as Charlie Wyett, who claimed van Persie wouldn’t score over double figures.
For me, the only reason Manchester United fans are so bemused by how good he is, is because he’s miles better than any other striker they’ve had in the past couple of decades. United have continually had good strikers, even great ones, but they’ve never had a van Persie.
Classy Dimitar Berbatov
Finally for today, I must pay homage to the soothing football player that is Dimitar Berbatov. Signed in the summer from Manchester United for a tuppence, Fulham have been laughing their faces off at how good Berbatov is. Personally I didn’t think the move would work, but I was clearly so, so wrong. Berbatov has always been brilliant, he just so rarely featured in his final season for Manchester United that we’d forgotten what he’s like.
In his post-match interview with Sky Sports yesterday, Berbatov revealed he has been drilling it into the youngsters at Fulham that they just need to keep calm, pass the ball and make the opposition run. It’s so simple and everything the Hungarian looks just that. For example, his goal yesterday was classic Berbatov; he received the ball on the halfway line, pivoted, chiped a ball behind the opposing full-back from the centre circle to release Ashkan Dejagah down the right, Berbatov followed the run at his own pace, burst into a sort of sprint at the last moment and fired Dejagah’s cut-back through the legs of Ben Foster.
If there’s a DVD out there with all of Dimitar Berbatov’s first touches, accompanied by classical music in the background, then I’ll buy it.
That’s all from me on this one, I’ll see you later!