Last night was a completely pointless outing for England, and although I felt the pundits were being unnecessarily harsh to San Marino, it really was stupid them even being there. FIFA and UEFA need to step in and devise a qualification round prior to the proper qualification round, because it is simply stupid for a team to carry on when they haven't scored a goal in three years or so. The odds were unique and nothing like anything I have ever seen for an England game; after 25 goalless minutes they were still unbackable on Betfair, which is a joke. I managed to make a small amount backing the overs after half time, but opportunities remained few and far between for the majority of the match.
Enough of internationals now and back to the good stuff. A friend of mine asked me this week to rank in order Cazorla, Kagawa, Mata and Silva, from best to worst. I said I would do it based on form so far this year as that's the only fair way I could really do it, and I placed them thus: Cazorla 1st, Mata, Silva and Kagawa last. I thought this kind of ironic that their current order was the reverse way round for how I think the league will finish (possibly), and this got me thinking about why this is. The conclusions I came to are largely conjecture but I think they are still a fair representation of the make up of these four clubs. So far it seems as if the two Manchester clubs have more talent up top than they know what to do with and both are struggling to find a system which works and accommodates all of their talent. United have brought in Van Persie and are naturally trying to fit him in at any price, although he is at least scoring goals for them. This poses the problem of where to fit Rooney, whilst Welbeck and Hernandez have been used in bit parts so far. The arrival of Kagawa has completely changed the dimension of play, with United attempting to play a 4-4-1-1 formation with Kagawa behind the striker, only the team has not adapted well to this at all, and Kagawa has now been forced to the left wing as Ferguson is opting for the more traditional 4-4-2. Similarly, City have struggled to find a formation to fit all of their players, with David Silva frequently being pushed to the left also, thus severely limiting his capabilities as a tinkerman. In contrast, Chelsea and Arsenal have a lot less to choose from at the top and have found their feet a lot quicker because of it. Their starting elevens basically pick themselves and Di Matteo and Wenger have had little in the way of tactical headaches so far this season. Stability has meant that Cazorla has got off to a cracker, and since his return from injury Mata has too, along with Hazard and Torres. The problem will come however, when the league toughens up and fixtures become more frequent, straining the squads of each team. I feel things are about to get a lot tougher for Arsenal and Chelsea, and Spurs probably too, (as they have been going well with a small squad so far) particularly as the winter months approach. If we look at the four benches of the top four teams the other day, the comparisons are huge: City (vs Sunderland) : Pantilimon, Clichy, K Toure, Nasri, Dzeko, Aguero, Rodwell. United (vs Newcastle) : Lindegaard, Wooton, Valencia, Giggs, Anderson, Scholes, Hernandez. Arsenal (vs West Ham) : Martinez, Koscielny, Santos, Walcott, Oxlade, Arshavin, Coquelin. Chelsea (vs Norwich) : Turnbull, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Romeu, Moses, Ramires. Clearly here we can see the two Manchester clubs have a much greater squad and this is the point in the season when this should begin to show through to some extent (though probably not quite as much as after New Year). I mentioned before that I would start to take on Chelsea from now on, and I am still looking for the right market to do so at the moment. I was suprised to see how few strikers Chelsea have this year, and wasn't surprised to read this morning that they want Falcao to come in January. Should Torres get an injury they will be relying on Sturridge, who isn't an outright striker by any means.
My other trades have been successful so far, and I am in the process of trading out of a couple. Norwich have had a brilliantly awful start and I am choosing now to trade out of the bet on them for relegation. In addition to this, Spurs have done enough to ensure that their top 6 price has dropped enough, so I am also looking to get out of that one too. I think they have the potential to beat Chelsea next Saturday, but I'd rather just back them in the match odds rather than leave my trade open for longer.
Enjoy your weekends, I hope they're greener than green.