Tuesday, September 02, 2008

EPL: Round 3 - Gunners Bounce Back

Weekend #3 in the Premiership was a bit of a let down with Manchester United playing a pointless game out of the league against someone named Zenit St Petersburg who won the pointless UEFA Cup last spring so only 3 of the big 4 were in action.

Meanwhile, the transfer window closed with United getting Berbatov from Spurs, and Chelsea being beaten for the young Brazilian Robinho when the new Arab owners in Manchester’s other half snagged him. Is there a new member of the Big 4? It appears they have huge cash to burn…

This week’s action:

Arsenal 3, Newcastle United 0 as Arsenal bounced back from their loss at Fulham to pound Newcastle with a great showing from Robin Van Persie. This contest could have easily been 5-0, as Arsenal was never challenged, and created plenty when the mood stuck. They are talented enough to impress on any given weekend, but are they mature enough not to trip?

Chelsea 1, Tottenham 1 as Chelsea dropped 2 big home points when they sacrificed a goal before the half and could not break through in the 2nd half at Stamford Bridge. Belletti scored early for Chelsea, Darren Bent before the intermission for Spurs. Nik Anelka was the lone attacker for a Chelsea team that is still without the injured Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, and others. Meanwhile, with No Robinho coming, the devastating Chelsea looked far more human.

Aston Villa 0, Liverpool 0 - Liverpool made it 3 unimpressive showings in a row as they traveled to Villa for a 0-0 cracker. Without Steven Gerrard throughout, Liverpool lost Fernando Torres in the first half to a hamstring and from then on looked to be there to merely stay undefeated. Robbie Keane had a chance, but otherwise, Liverpool looked pretty unconvincing. Meanwhile, Villa, still mad about the Gareth Barry summer of love with the Reds, were unable to get their first win against Liverpool in 15 attempts.

Story of the Week: Manchester City is now rich! And they beat out Roman and Chelski for Robinho

Manchester City demonstrated their new-found status as the richest club on the planet when the billionaire Arabs who have bought the club from Thaksin Shinawatra stunned Roman Abramovich late last night by signing Robinho from under the noses of Chelsea.

The Brazilian has cost a British-record £32.5m after a remarkable transfer-deadline day in which Manchester United managed to rush through Dimitar Berbatov's signing on a four year-deal for a fee of £30.75m - which also includes a year-long loan of Fraizer Campbell to Spurs, who will drop their complaint about United's "tapping-up" of the Bulgarian. After that Abramovich was left under no illusion that Chelsea are no longer the financial superpower of English football.

Never has Abramovich lost out in a straight battle of money for a player's transfer. And never before have City had the financial muscle that comes from being backed by an organisation as powerful as the Abu Dhabi United Group, comprising members of the super-rich United Arab Emirates royal family and the multi-billionaire Sulaiman Al Fahim.

On a seminal day that saw Thaksin sell the club for £210m and relinquish his chairmanship, Robinho's arrival represents an immediate statement of intent - a box-office signing that takes their spending to £70m since Mark Hughes replaced Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager.

After 3 Rounds (sort of):

Chelsea 3 Games Played: 7 Points (2 Points Dropped)
Liverpool 3 GP: 7 Points (2 PD)
Arsenal 3 GP: 6 Points (3 PD)
Manchester United 2 GP: 4 Points (2 PD)

Next action is not until September 13th, as World Cup Qualifiers take center stage:

Sept 13: Manchester United at Liverpool, 6:45 - Setanta
Sept 13: Chelsea at Manchester City, 9:00 - TBA
Sept 13: Arsenal at Blackburn, 11:30 – Fox Soccer Channel

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