Creativity lacking on opening weekend

Creativity lacking on opening weekend

A wholly underwhelming opening weekend produced 14 goals from 8 matches, a poor advert for the self-proclaimed ‘world’s most entertaining league’. This was typified at St James’ Park, where Arsenal and Newcastle played out a 0-0 draw after sharing 8 goals only six months ago. In that 4-4 thriller, no fewer than 27 chances were created; on Saturday that figure was only 11. Indeed, the entire league suffered a creativity setback in terms of chances created, the table below shows …
2010/11 | Manchester United Vs WBA

2010/11 | Manchester United Vs WBA

Ahead of this seasons opening match, away to WBA, Manchester United will no doubt be reminded that despite a vast difference in pedigree the upstart Baggies proved a thorn in the side.  In the Premier League last season West Bromwich Albion cause The Reds as many problems as any other team, earning a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford and narrowly losing the corresponding fixture at The Hawthorns 1-2 where only a Peter Odemwingie missed penalty saved United's blushes and earned …
Hart and Soul

Hart and Soul

Joe Hart dives to his right, makes the stop on DeLaGarza of the LA Galaxy, immediately grabs the ball, places it on the penalty spot, calmly strokes it in to the top right corner, and wins the game for City. OK maybe this is against an MLS team in preseason, but the point still stands: Joe Hart is good. He’s one of the best at his position, playing all 38 games for City last season. Exactly how good is he …
Man United | the serial sideways passers

Man United | the serial sideways passers

Barcelona’s setting of the gold standard in ball retention has helped spawn a series of fascinating statistics that have quantified their art. OptaJoe on Twitter delivered a telling statistic on Barca’s puppeteer:
20% - Just one in five of Xavi's passes in La Liga went forward. Crab.
It’s initially surprising given the influence he exerts, but less so when you consider the value Barcelona place on possession. On a broader, team scale, Manchester United are the most reluctant team in …
Berbatov | The Cases For and Against

Berbatov | The Cases For and Against

Dimitar Berbatov has been called a lot of things. "Languid" if you're a fan, "lazy" if you're not, he divides opinion amongst Manchester United fans more than anyone else. Given the sparking form of Wayne Rooney towards the end of the season, along with the emergence of Javier Hernandez and the return of Danny Welbeck to his parent club, it looked like Berbatov's chances of getting decent game time this year might be limited, even given the fact that he …
Cahill One of EPL's Best

Cahill One of EPL's Best

A number of defenders have recently been touted for moves to Arsenal or another Champions League club by the close of this summers transfer window.  As Arsene Wenger and his cohort look around the Premier League to draft in replacements their attention has not, at least in the tabloids, turned their collective eyes towards the Reebok.  I realize even mentioning that Cahill may not be long for a Wanderers jersey is a painful thought for many but not one which anyone, least …
Ashley Young Vs Stewart Downing

Ashley Young Vs Stewart Downing

There's no secret to the fact that Manchester United and Liverpool hate each other. The race to sign Ashley Young ended with Young "snubbing" LFC to head to the Red Devils for around £17m. Liverpool, however, shot back with their own deal for the other Villa winger Stewart Downing in a deal believed to be worth around £20m. There has been much debacle amongst LFC fans, Villa fans, and Utd fans alike about which team got the better deal. Using Opta Stats …
Retrospectives | West Brom 1-2 Man Utd

Retrospectives | West Brom 1-2 Man Utd

Our first game of the season is home to Manchester United, so what better way to preview the upcoming campaign then with a look at last year’s fixture between the two. It may seem odd to pick such a game, coming as it did, in the midst of Di Matteo’s barren Christmas spell, a five-match losing streak unlikely to give any Baggie a reason to be cheerful. Perhaps the away day at Arsenal or the home game to Blues was …
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