Meanwhile, there was football.
This week we had a decent amount of shots (average over 26 per game; up from c.23 Wk1 & 2) and a weird overcompensated spike for shots on target (an extra +1 per team). And we got more goals and more saves and it wasn't just the basketball match up at Goodison.
All in all more entertainment this week. Though not if you're a Tottenham fan eying a miserable 7 shots created against Liverpool or a West Ham fan steamrollered by a stark 18-4 shot-stomping at home to Southampton. Or if you watched the combined might of tens and tens of millions of attacking talent do fuck all against Burnley. If you were one of this band of followers, you may be finding it hard to be positive and praying to the Gods of transfers to put a shiny edge on an otherwise damned weekend.
Last week, Tadic was the entire Southampton offense. This week some of his friends turned up too & gave Sam Allardyce a thorough compressing. Their squad doesn't look too deep at the moment but it seems as if Koeman has at least got the fundamentals right from his talented bunch of players. They aren't conceding many shots at all and have improved some of their background numbers week on week. Doing all this entirely reversed the seemingly positive start West Ham had made and has made me think they are well set.
Providing they don't sell Morgan Schneiderlin.
There are good things I can cite about the way Arsenal have started the season. Whilst they have struggled to get wins, their underlying numbers have been solid. I've ranked the teams based upon a variety of factors (Shots, Shots on target, goals + the inverse + dominance based on these + small adjustments for possession and ball retention) and well, i've got them top. Yeah, it's three games, strength of schedule is massive and a stomping will kill you in the list but it seems obvious to me that Arsenal will carry on doing what they always do & crush bad teams. The Leicester match is a case in point, they gave up very few shots again and had the clear better of things yet couldn't take advantage.
What else Arsenal will carry on doing is carry obvious squad weakness. Today Sanogo started up front in the absence of centre forward cover & Flamini, last year's stop gap signing, came in at DM. The attacking midfield corps was as strong as ever and spilled out over half the bench yet neither a screening midfielder or genuine forward option were anywhere to be seen. I don't know if there's been a functional change in formation from Arsenal but they're being credited with playing 4-1-4-1 this season having spent all last year in a nominal 4-2-3-1; regardless the issues are ever obvious with Arteta and Giroud, respectively aging and limited, absent for now.
Perhaps they will buy Morgan Schneiderlin.
- No wonder Palace conceded 3, 'Mile the Wall' only put in a shoddy 7 T&Is
- A young Senegalese fellow named Massadio Haidara played left back for Newcastle & got busy: 3KPs, 2 dribbles, 3 tackles, an interception & drew 5 fouls: a good start.
- Patrick Van Aanholt got in this section in week 1; he's back with 11(!) tackles this week
- Sigurdsson with 2 assists from 4 KPs, 3 tackles & 2 interceptions. He's contributed to 5 goals in 3 starts. Everything you'd expect from an ex-Tottenham man.
- Diego Costa: 2 goals, 4 shots, 2 KPs, a dribble, 4 tackles, 2 interceptions, a yellow card and an argument.
Obligatory Tottenham bit:
A good match *grits teeth* in which Liverpool played very well & continued their recent form against Tottenham. By this sign, they will be just fine without El Chompo. Tottenham found out a couple of things:
Kaboul needs replacing and a replacement is required for Kaboul. Mercifully, Argentinian enforcer Federico Fazio lurks in the wings & will hopefully be fit & ready to start by the end of the international break. The errors in the game were understandable; we've seen this from Kaboul all too often this last year, Dier didn't track his man & gave away a soft penalty; forgivable: he's both young and not a right back and Townsend got his pocket picked 5 seconds after coming on.
Pochettino does have a job on his hands to restore confidence in the side for big games though. New players are untarnished but the way Chadli and Eriksen flitted & flickered when faced with a decisive situation was disappointing. Lamela did badly generally but showed tenacity & I personally hope Paulinho is restored to the team rather than moved on. He is a player who has split opinion but has leadership skills & grit if empowered.
Maybe they should have signed Morgan Schneiderlin.
Alternative underlying league table, Week 3:
[Goals, Shots, Shots on target + the inverse + related dominance + small passing/possession adjustment]
Villa in 14th makes more sense.
(Slightly different to the table I tweeted out earlier after a few adjustments; that's models for you.)
Thanks for reading!
Check back next week and indeed every week for more.
In fact, with a transfer window and international break coming up, I may have to get inventive.