The term is used literally and metaphorically. Several articles pointed out his incredible assists tally during his time at Real Madrid, and he had an immediate impact against Sunderland. Arsene Wenger feels he could be the new Dennis Bergkamp. The Dutchman was more of a forward than Ozil, but there is no doubt he is a wonderful player. Wrap him in cotton wool, Weng, and Arsenal could be in with a shout again.
2. Good does not necessarily mean goals
Stats boffins pointed out with glee that, despite the mega-spending this summer, the Premier League has had a remarkably low goals tally so far, at 1.95 per game. By comparison the Bundesliga’s 3.33 is positively free-flowing. However, history has told us that an obsession with goals scored is futile. High-level competition often boasts tighter games, and a narrower gap in quality between the very best and the very worst. Promoted sides are packed with international players, and defending is often a very high quality. Serie A in the 80s and 90s is a good example. There are far more goals in Italian league football now, and it quite simply isn’t as good as it used to be. Also, we are four games in. Give over!
3. Martin Jol looks like he just can’t be bothered any more
It feels like there is an air of complacency about Fulham boss Martin Jol, as if he knows the new owners will eventually bring in their man. A good start to the transfer window saw some great signings come in (Maarten Stekelenburg, Fernando Amorebieta) but Jol’s interest appeared to wane as some loan signings and the odd squad player rocked up. Now he is giving post-match interviews with the enthusiasm of a Lib Dem activist in South Yorkshire, and displays a similar level of tactical acumen. Nice fella, but probably time for some new blood.
4. Ashley Young is a diver
It has been spoken of before, but Ashley Young reminded us that he likes to take a tumble. We’d almost forgotten about it, what with the inconsistent winger having fallen out of the first-team picture for much of last season, but he loves to cheat does Young. Crystal Palace were rightly aggrieved after another dying swan act. David Moyes spoke out against his player, but so did Sir Alex Ferguson in the past, and if Young won’t listen to him what hope is there for the new gaffer?
5. Things could be tricky for City
Sometimes change isn’t always a good thing. Roberto Mancini clearly had his faults, but he brought Manchester City the league. Manuel Pellegrini was brought in for his ‘holistic’ approach (stop laughing at the back of Whole Foods, Miranda), but seismic shifts in on-and off-pitch strategy need time. Will the fans and board give the Chilean enough? City’s iffy start to the campaign will be a test of their resolve.
6. Gareth Barry was written off far too soon
He isn’t the quickest. He is not exactly the most progressive midfielder out there. But he can pass a ball, he can hold a midfield and he is the ideal player to sit in that space the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Andre Schuerrle enjoy running into. Barry was probably the second-best of the deadline day signings behind Ozil, and City could probably do with someone like him right now.
7. Manchester United might actually be all right, you know
Given the uproar at their woeful transfer window, you’d be forgiven for thinking that United had a threadbare squad lacking in quality, experience and flair. The truth is that, while the way they handled their transfer dealings was embarrassing, the existing squad was pretty darned good anyway, and had Marouane Fellaini been signed earlier in the summer everyone would have been content with their business. Wayne Rooney appears to have been sparked back into something approaching mojo-form, Shinji Kagawa will surely see more minutes once he gets fully fit, and in Adnan Januzaj they have one of the most promising attacking midfielders in the country. There is no disgrace in losing to an in-form Liverpool side and with their rivals struggling to find their rhythm, United should be in the title hunt once more.