Your Premier League Weekend In Review: Should Manchester United Fans Panic?

 

I imagine Manchester United fans split themselves between the Woody and Buzz camps. Half watched the Red Devils fall 2-1 at Old Trafford to Swansea City and said reassuringly, “This is no time to panic.” The rest shouted in return, “This is the perfect time to panic!”

United endured its worst ever Premiership campaign a season ago under the rule of overmatched manager David Moyes. He failed to make it through the year.

In the offseason, fans clamored for a big name to replace Moyes and were rewarded with the appointment of Louis van Gaal. Van Gaal built a reputation as a big-club wizard at places like Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He won everywhere he went including the Dutch National Team, which he guided to a third-place finish at the World Cup this summer in Brazil.

His United debut, though, was inauspicious to say the least. The Red Devils looked lost in Van Gaal's tricky 3-5-2 formation. Swansea deservedly collected all three points. On one side, it's August, and Van Gaal didn't have Robin Van Persie or Luke Shaw available. On the other, it's a loss to Swansea City at home on opening day. United's title aspirations took the biggest hit out of the top clubs this weekend. The aura of Old Trafford may be gone as well. Then again, it's one game. Are you Woody or are you Buzz?

-Dillon Friday

How Did The Swansea Game Go, Ashley? 

 

Oh.

-Dillon

Why You Watch: Result Doesn't Tell The Story Addition

 

One of the more frustrating things about following soccer is the result that goes against the run of play. Because goals are so rare and so valuable, the result doesn't always match the action.

Take the Liverpool-Southampton match, for example. Liverpool got the first goal through Raheem Sterling in the 23rd minute after Jordan Henderson split the Southampton center backs with a long pass.

What followed was a spell of total dominance from Southampton. Victor Wanyama played absolutely out of his mind in a defensive midfield role and managed to break up most every Liverpool attack. Every member of the Southampton team pushed and pushed Liverpool until they were only able to play the ball in defense. When they were in possession, Dusan Tadic did most of the attacking down the left side for Southampton, and as a team, they looked more likely to score.

They would eventually score through Nathaniel Clyne in the 56th minute, and they had plenty of chances for a second. But before they could, Liverpool changed formation in the 76th minute to increase the pressure on Southampton before Daniel Sturridge scored in the 79th minute to make it 2-1 Liverpool, the final score.

What gets lost in the scoreline between Southampton's equalizer and Liverpool's winner is just how the losing team handled the winning team.

It will not be the last time this season that a Premier League score will inaccurately reflect the action of the game. Usually, the discrepancy between the actual flow of the game and the result gets attributed to things like tactical changes or something less tangible like a team's resolve to win.

But most often, it comes down to one chance that a player can make good on.

And that's why you have to watch. You'll never catch the feel of the game or understand it fully without being tuned in.

-Carden Hedelt

Never Leave Us, Vanishing Spray

 

The sound of unbridled, puerile joy in the Premier League went something like this during the first weekend of the season:

ALL FANS IN UNISON: "ooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY"

Every fan in every park this weekend made that same noise when referees dispensed their first rounds of the magic vanishing spray, adopted by the PL for this season. Before free kicks, the referees use the stuff to mark where the ball should stay and as close as the defensive wall of players can get to the ball. It looks like weak-ass shaving cream and goes away with light treading or a little time, hence the "magic."

Without fail, fans made this noise out of sheer amusement. For that I must applaud every last fan in attendance over the weekend.

Bravo, you lovers of silliness and nonsense. You have turned the application of aerosol foam to grass into a truly joyous occasion.

Never mind its actual practical use — keeping defenders 10 yards back from free kicks. You're something silly and pointless to cheer about.

And you, Mr. Ref.

You legend.

-Carden

Here's To You, Pitch Invader Man

You know, at some point you'd think clubs would hire, how do I put this, fitter (read: not fatter) security guards. It seems every time fans run onto the field, they escape the grasps of security quite easily. I don't want things to change, though. And maybe, neither do the clubs. The pitch invaders are the bravest among us. They see their dreams and chase them. The phrase “one of these days” doesn't apply to them.

In the Tottenham Hotspur-West Ham United match on Saturday, a man stormed onto the pitch and took a Spurs free kick. He even put the shot on target. The security guards lumbered after him in his wake, providing a metaphor for all who watched the scene. They'll never catch the pitch invader, and neither will we. He's just too far ahead. (Although he probably got tackled off screen.)

-Dillon

Carden's Goal Of The Weekend

 

Aiden McGeady needed a goal. He joined Everton in the January transfer window last year and had yet to score for the Toffees in 19 appearances.

In Saturday's game against Leicester City, his 20th appearance, he finally got his first goal for Everton. And what a goal it was.

McGeady got a rebound from Sylvain Distin's shot, which came from a deflection of Leighton Baines's long-range effort.

The goalie was way out of position and there weren't many defenders around him, so he had a little time. But he also had a difficult angle to shoot from and had to know that defenders were going to be charging at him.

A look up and a quick push to the right, and McGeady sent up the perfect, indefensible shot that kissed the top of the right post and went in.

McGeady would have taken any old goal to get his first for Everton. The one he scored was one to remember.

Dill's Goal Of The Weekend

Reports of Southampton's demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Saints sold Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers this summer. The first three went to Liverpool and wouldn't you know it, Southampton opened the season at Anfield on Sunday.

While Merseyside eyes were on the Reds in the post-Luis Suarez era, the visitors' faithful had to fight fears of relegation. Southampton finished eighth last season. Without the aforementioned departed players, they will surely struggle to reach the top half of the table again.

And yet, the Saints put on an impressive performance in the 2-1 defeat. A superb team goal from Nathaniel Clyne, whose spot in the 11 was partially cleared by Shaw's departure, highlighted Southampton's day.

Dusan Tadic, a 25-year-old Serbian who led the Dutch Eredivisie in chances created a season ago, was Southampton's best player in the match. He played in Clyne with a clever flick for the goal and was a thorn in Liverpool's side all day. Only when Tadic exited did the Reds retake the lead.

Was it coincidence? Maybe. But flashes of brilliance from Tadic, Clyne and company suggest Southampton is not a one-year fluke.

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