Having made a start on the astonishments that fans have witnessed in the 2012/13 season thus far, here is the second half of surprises.
Liverpool’s Fall From Grace
Football fans have the best banter and for Liverpool followers, unfortunately they get it the worst. History counts for little in the eyes of the media but it is something every true fan cherishes. Yet seeing your favourite club go from contending for the Champions League to trying to scrape to a Europa League spot can be tough. With new manager Brendan Rodgers under great scrutiny to avoid former boss Kenny Dalglish’s mistakes, the start to the new season has only strengthened his criticisers.
In the first six games, Liverpool failed to secure a single win and were dogged by individual errors at the back. Martin Skrtel was the main perpetrator in the 2-2 draw to Manchester City when he played a back-pass straight to Carlos Tevez to gift the away side a goal. Only in the seventh game against Stoke did Pepe Reina manage to successfully keep a clean sheet, illustrating just how poorly the back five have been.
Looking to fight for the title this season may be one step too far for the Reds but if they want to earn back their place in the self-proclaimed ‘top-four’, they must turns things around very quickly. Striker Fabio Borini has endured a horrid start to the campaign as his £10m move from Roma has seen his goal-scoring and goal-creating side become non-existent.
With major ties against both Manchester clubs and Arsenal out the way, the fixture list may have been harsh on the Merseyside club but unless they show an improvement now, they may be looking at another year of nothing but history.
WBA’s Passage To Europe
Steve Clark took over from England manager Roy Hodgson in perfect style as he landed four home wins in a row to lift The Baggies into a hugely impressive 6th place. With an opening day 3-0 triumph over Liverpool, Albion have gone on to beat Everton, Reading and QPR in almost comfortable fashion. Last season, West Brom found themselves in 17th place with just five points but now they have already secured fourteen points from seven games.
With on-loan Chelsea star Romelu Lukaku fronting the attack and the consistently remarkable Shane Long beside him, goals may come in continuous flow for Clark’s men. However, it is up to the normally mid-table side to show their worth when up against the top guns of the league. Their next fixtures come against Manchester City and Newcastle and will be a real test of their credentials.
If points can be picked up away from home and when competing against clubs at the top end of the table, WBA can hope to plan their venture into Europe. It will take a long shot to get them there but consistency is key and time will tell if WBA can keep this good form going.
Manchester City’s Crumbling Defence
Looking back at the incredible title-winning side last year, Manchester City were built on the foundations of a rock-solid defence who when they got the chance, counter-attacked to win the game. Full-backs such as Gael Clichy and Paulo Zabaleta were practically wingers and it paid off well with City scoring the most goals in the league. They also carried the achievement of conceding the least too, with only 29 goals getting past them last year.
Now seven games into the new season and the Sky Blues have already allowed eight goals past them, three more than at this stage last year. Now this may not seem that poor but bearing in mind that Roberto Mancini’s men also managed to bag 25 goals after seven games in the 2011/12 season but only 15 this term. Not only have last year’s title winners conceded more but they have also scored less and in the Premier League, it is significant to get off to a good start to stand any chance of landing the title.
The Citizens are within touching distance of Chelsea and will remain close to them for the remainder of the season but it seems to be they are suffering from defending-the-title syndrome. As any club can tell you, winning it may seem like the easiest thing to do when you have to defend it. Only the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have defended the league but in the past four seasons, no team has won it twice in a row.
Can Manchester City break that run?750153