Football lessons: the Chelsea show is on again
We’re only a couple of weeks into the football season but certain things have become very clear, very quickly: Sydney FC aren’t going to hold onto their title, while the two Manchesters will have to prise Chelsea’s from Didier Drogba’s cold, dead hands.
Domestically, the A-League is so open you’d get better odds on the federal election result than the league title. So what can we take from an instructive weekend?
1. Sydney FC have a lot of work to do. The champions were outplayed and outfought by Brisbane Roar and the chinks in Vitezlev Lavicka’s side are getting bigger by the week. At the back, they’re really feeling the absence of Simon Colosimo, who left for Melbourne Heart. Foxe and Keller are about as mobile as Easter Island heads. And deprived of Bridge and Brosque on the weekend, they offered little threat upfront - but even with both fit, Sydney are still too light to make an impact. And talking of impact, has anyone seen marquee man Nicky Carle? Lavicka’s put posters on all the lamp posts round SFS but no one’s taking any of the little tear-offs.
2. Wellington Phoenix are going to take some stopping. If Ricki Herbert’s happy-go-lucky side can balance their 21-game unbeaten home run with some good results on the road ( Sydney won the title last year with just four away victories), they can be considered a serious bet for the title. Same goes for Perth Glory. Their 1-0 win over Newcastle wasn’t pretty – Branko Jelic’s goal was so ugly it could make an onion cry – but winning without playing well is the stuff of champions.
3. Franz Straka’s cream jacket is the must-have fashion accessory for this A-League season. The Czech wizard has turned a North Queensland Fury side everyone expected to see on the side of the road waiting for a council collection into a bonded, undefeated team that can go down to nine men against Victory and still come away with a point.
4. Chelsea look to be more unstoppable than a fat bloke chasing the ice cream van down a hill. Six-nil last week, six-nil this week. Take into account their results from the end of last season and Carlo Ancelotti’s free-wheeling double-winners have scored an incredibly 30 goals in their past six league games, conceding, well, none. That’s a truly unbelievable statistic.
5. Manchester City are the real deal. Despite a sluggish start against Tottenham last week, the Premier League’s nouveau riche proved their quality against Liverpool this morning. For a squad that includes so many new faces, City looked very comfortable, moving the ball easily and with real penetration. With this much quality, they really can push Chelsea and Utd all the way. As for Liverpool… That brief flash of optimism has given way to realism that it’s going to be a long season.
The first person to say something along the lines of “Australians don’t care about soccer” wins a lollipop.
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