EPL Results: How Blackpool, West Brom & Newcastle Fared In Their Return
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However, West Brom and Newcastle had particularly difficult opponents whereas Blackpool had only Wigan Athletic to contend with.
Therefore it would be rather unfair to compare all three teams' performances together and come up with who I thought performed 'best'. So I will simply analyse the three teams' performances in as small a nutshell as possible.
Wigan Athletic v BLACKPOOL:
Blackpool's last game in the top division was back in 1971, around 20 years before the football league was turned into the commercialised hotpot known as the Premier League.
In the present day, they resumed their top-flight history with a rock solid performance Against Wigan Athletic. Sorry for the overused Blackpool beach pun in there. Whenever I managed to take my eyes off the virtually empty DW Stadium in the background, Blackpool had reduced Wigan to simply spectating. That includes the team. Wigan's only significant chance was a header by Mauro Boselli which just clipped the wrong side of the crossbar. Blackpool had a heavy amount of possession and it was heavily rewarded.
Former Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood scored a brace. Goals from Taylor-Fletcher and Baptiste forced a mass exodus for the home support. On the other end, those four goals rounded off a warming, worthwhile trip down the M6. But we'll have to see what Blackpool can really do when they go South to visit Arsenal.
Chelsea v WEST BROMWICH ALBION:
If ever you were looking for a typical Championship team's return to the Premier League, this was it.
West Brom suffered a total schooling by one of the biggest teams in the top division, last season's champions, Chelsea.
Stamford Bridge is a complete fortress where thrashings await if the opposition aren't at the top of their game. Sadly, West Brom were most definitely not at the top of their game.
Chelsea managed to put six goals past the Baggies but no goals ended up in Cech's net. However, if I could pinpoint how West Brom got ripped to shreds it would be the shoddy defence and goalkeeping. In West Brom's wall during a free kick, a mysterious giant gap appears in the same place every time, allowing Drogba's shot to get through to the goalkeeper - Scott Carson.
Carson just couldn't handle the free kicks. He could parry them but not catch them. WBA's manager Roberto Di Matteo has injected some Italian football influence into their hinies. They pass the ball cleanly and swiftly at times. However, like a few Italian teams, there wasn't a balanced mentality where defence is of equal importance to attack, The sooner Di Matteo realises that, the more chance West Brom have of staying up.
Manchester United v NEWCASTLE UNITED:
There's quite a gulf between these two teams, but there's also an equally large gulf between Newcastle's current status and what their status used to be (in the mid-90s). Back in their heyday, Newcastle were easily mentioned in the same breath as Manchester United and Chelsea would be in today's terms. The Barcodes nearly won the Premier League title in the 1995/96 season. They were twelve points ahead of Manchester United, but just let the gap close, allowing the Red Devils to nick the title instead. The same thing happened the next season too.
That could be considered as the springy ceiling for Newcastle. Once they hit it, they went down in stature fast.
Now we fast forward to the present day. Newcastle have come back up to the EPL from the doldrums of the Championship ready for 'another go at it'. It was a learning experience for Chris Hughton's men (ok, they lost 3-0, but what's wrong with trying to sugar the pill once in a while?).
The first half for Newcastle was very sloppy in every department - shooting, passing and tackling.
Manchester United-luckily for the barcodes-only managed one goal in the first half owing to a classy finish by Dimitar Berbatov and the recent comedic misses from England 'saviour' Wayne Rooney.
In the second half, Newcastle was better. Chris Hughton had visibly tightened the defence more and so tackling and clearing was far more organised. However, some passes went to nowhere and attack was still extremely light. Some glimmers of hope were emitted by Jonas Gutierrez and Andy Carroll with a little extra spice from the ostrich-on-speed that is Wayne Routledge. The former Tottenham and QPR winger couldn't control his own speed and ended up bumping into Evra most of the time. Andy Carroll had his share of chances throughout the game. A corner from Joey Barton was headed by Carroll seven yards from goal but it went wide. All of Newcastle's shots were along the floor allowing Van Der Sar to easily collect them.
Newcastle's defence is good, Coloccini contained most of Nani's actions but attack is severely lacking. Shot placement needs to be mixed up in order to challenge goalkeepers more and catch them off guard.
I can't really say whether the three teams have had a good week or not because two of their opponents were more difficult. Blackpool against Wigan obviously look more composed, but only time will tell.
They'll be fine.....I think....
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