5 Things We Learned from the Premier League Weekend

Neri Stein@neristeinFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2011

5 Things We Learned from the Premier League Weekend

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    The second weekend of the 2011-2012 Premier League season is in the books, and it was entirely more enjoyable than the first. 

    For one thing, there were only two draws, and only one of them was a scoreless draw. 

    The biggest matchup of the weekend saw Liverpool get their first win away over Arsenal in more than 11 years, but the most exciting matchup was Manchester City's trip to Bolton.

    Let's get to it then with the five things that Week 2 in the Premier League has taught us. 

West Brom Is for Real, but Could Someone Please Tell Them That?

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    West Brom had a nightmare opening two weeks of the season, with a visit from Manchester United last week and a trip to Chelsea this weekend. 

    Except the nightmare was of their own doing. 

    Roy Hodgson's side looked very good against Manchester United and were well deserving of a point, until they let Ashley Young ghost in behind and steal the three points late on. 

    At Stamford Bridge Saturday, new boy Shane Long gave the Baggies the lead in the fourth minute, when he muscled the ball away from Alex and chipped it past backup keeper Hilario. 

    West Brom continued to dominate the first half over Chelsea, and Long missed a glorious opportunity to put his side up 2-0 in the 25th minute, when his cross was too far for Somen Tchoyi to tap home.

    Once the second half came around, West Brom gave away their lead to Chelsea entirely too easily.  

    No one was expecting West Brom to get anything out of these two games, but they could've had at least two points—and possibly four!

    Instead, they threw all those points, which would've done wonders to the confidence of the players, down the drain.  

    The Baggies could finish in the the top half of the table, and could very well finish in Europa League places—if they keep their performances up for the whole match, that is. 

Crossing Doesn't Work If There's No One in the Middle

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    Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin were both quite poor for Arsenal on Saturday against Liverpool, but they didn't get much help from their striker and captain Robin van Persie.

    The few times Walcott managed to get past Jose Enrique and put in a cross, it was easily gathered by Pepe Reina or just as easily booted out by Jamie Carragher. 

    That's because they were under no pressure from van Persie.

    Memo to the Dutchman, if you are playing as a lone striker, you need to stay central and stop drifting out to the right and disrupting Walcott's game.

    Things should get better for RvP when Gervinho is back from his suspension. 

    On the other end, Stewart Downing, Dirk Kuyt and Martin Kelly provided plenty of crosses for Andy Carroll, who was always in the Arsenal penalty box. 

    It's just that Thomas Vermaelen intercepted all of them. 

Arsenal May Just Be the Saddest Team

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    Speaking of Thomas Vermaelen, he was really the only good thing to take from Arsenal on Saturday.

    Absolutely nothing else is going their way. 

    Two red cards given to two debutantes and another player suspended for bad behavior.

    Captain and best player gone and fellow midfield maestro just behind him. 

    Injuries mounting, calls never going their way, own goals and a trip to Old Trafford next weekend. 

    Arsene Wenger and the Gunners just can't catch a break.

    Arsenal were already in need of a new center-back before the season started, and now Wenger must bring in a new defender after Laurent Koscielny went off after 14 minutes against Liverpool.

    But Arsenal need a lot more than another defender.

    Andrei Arshavin was very poor, with bad touch after bad touch, much like he's been for the last year.

    Robin van Persie wasn't threatening at all (as mentioned earlier), and the midfield lacked any sort of fluidity or creativity.

    Rumor has it Samir Nasri's move to Manchester City is on the verge of breaking down, but considering how little effort the Frenchman put into the match Saturday, Wenger would be wise to get rid of him now while his price is still high and there's time to replace him.  

    The problem is that Wenger may have a hard time convincing anyone to come to Arsenal at the moment, because the Gunners are walking a thin line in Champions League qualification as well.

    It has been a very sad few months for Arsenal, and things don't look like they'll be picking up any time soon.  

Everton Need to Sell Now

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    You know, Everton may actually be a sadder team than Arsenal at the moment.

    At least Arsenal has money.  

    Everton have long had financial troubles, but they just got worse last week, when chairman Bill Kenwright said the club would not be borrowing any more money from the bank.

    David Moyes was unable to bring in any new players this summer, and it will surely hurt his side if he doesn't do anything before the transfer window closes on Aug. 31. 

    Everton started off their season with a home loss to the newly-promoted Queen's Park Rangers Saturday, the same side that was beaten 4-0 on their own ground by Bolton last weekend. 

    New ownership does not seem to be on the horizon for the Toffees, so the only way for Moyes to add to his squad will be by selling some of his star players. 

    And he'll need to do a much better job than that measly £3 million Tottenham gave him for Steven Pienaar in January.

    But it may already be too late in this transfer window.

    Everton are used to slow starts, but this season they may start too slow to pick themselves up in the end.  

Manchester City Go for It Away from Home

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    Was anyone expecting this to be the best game of the weekend? 

    Manchester City were 3-2 winners at Bolton Sunday in a high-flying match that no one could've predicted. 

    Manchester City were often accused of being far too defensive away from home last season, but they were anything but on Sunday.

    City got the ball forward early and often and were always looking to pressure the Bolton defense. 

    David Silva, Gareth Barry and Edin Dzeko all scored, and the whole team played together very fluidly. The win was well deserved and surely could've been by a bigger margin. 

    And this was a Bolton side that lost just four games at home last year (including the last two of the season).

    A team can't hope to win trophies if they sit back and play damage control away from home, and City look like they've realized that.