Two wins from two matches, Manchester City look like title contenders.
August 2008 marked year zero for Manchester City. The old identity was razed, while the hope that tradition can be reinjected into the pursuit of global domination—side effects include nausea, diarrhea, migraine, anger, befuddlement, and in some cases, infantilism. Without notable figures like Sven-Göran Eriksson and Noel Gallagher to confirm a history, the takeover of the club by Abu Dhabi United Group might have marked the club’s founding instead.
In these three years, City has steadily climbed the table, finishing tenth, fifth, and third. The ascent from nameless mid-table club to title-contending quasi-galacticos is the result of bottomless wealth clearing the path before it, as well as on occasion astute management.
Manchester City, the nouveau riche arriviste. If still a poor Mancusian’s Manchester United, if still lacking the sophistication and tradition of the elite clubs, if rough-edged from the ostentatious display of wealth and clumsy mastery of protocol and manners, then they can now at least command descriptions in French. Samir Nasri can help translate.
Aston Villa and Wolverhampton discover the benefits of mutualism, intended or not; Arséne Wenger is rudely introduced to disaster capitalism; Viagra is not a Spanish word, but might as well be at Chelsea as Juan Mata looks to be the panacea (also not Spanish) for creative dysfunction; Tottenham, more Arsenal-esque than ever this season, fall short of equaling the humiliation.
Aston Villa 0—Wolverhampton 0
Television announcers almost always note Fabio Capello’s attendance at Premier League matches. In attendance to scout and judge, the either stern or frightening Capello contributes texture to the broadcast’s atmosphere. Capello’s reputation as stern or frightening is played up into the myth of some transcendent austerity that has finally begun to show cracks during his time as England manager. The characterization becomes the perfect setup to argue that only the supreme importance of the England national team could exert the necessary weight of pressure to crack this nut. But forty-six years since England won the World Cup is a diatnt menory that has moved past the burden of history into facoid. The reality is that England has been mediocre for some time. Ther should be much pressure to surpass this.
Capello is there at Villa Park. Thinking Okay, we’ll let’s have a look at him, the camera seeks him out of the crowd and we know he’s hard at work as he should be, if England is to sustain or emerge from mediocrity.
Much like the last time we saw him at some other game a week ago, he’s sitting motionless, staring out at a blade of grass, chin lying on his chest and hemmed by concentric rings of aged skin like a melted Elizabethan collar. If the apparent refusal to improve his poor English is a sign of unwillingness to integrate into English culture, then one should look elsewhere for proof of effort.
Arséne Wenger’s double take at the score and the reality.
Tottenham hipster’s mastery of emotional distance guarantees results won’t hurt.
Arséne Wenger’s new project is to win the league with the reserve team; Kenny Dalglish needs to rethink his lineup; Manchester City proves the old addage that success can’t buy happiness, but then again who needs happiness; Manchester United’s experienced inexperienced youth; that Harry Redknapp sagging deadpan expression of being underwhelmed when overwhelmed sums up Tottenham nicely.
Arsenal 0—Liverpool 2
Depletion and woe weren’t deemed adequate punishment for Arsenal, so the Furies decided to toss in an injury crises and bad luck just to be safe. The home opener at the Emirates was witness to an Arsenal squad comprised of reserves and tyros with almost no Premier League experience. Liverpool should have won this game handily, but encountered a spirited Arsenal side reduced to 10 men after an impressive Emmanuel Frimpong was sent off for youthful zeal, which proved Liverpool is far from formidable.
Andy Carroll played about seventy minutes. It wasn’t his fault that Liverpool’s strategy devolved into kicking the ball toward his head to see what would happen. It didn’t take long to see that nothing came of this, yet Liverpool continued for another sixty minutes. Liverpool finally took control of the game when Luis Suarez and Raul Mierieles came on late and scored an offside goal. It’s a good sign that Miereles has established himself in the league, because Jordan Henderson clearly isn’t ready despite Kenny Dalglish’s insistence to start him.
Arsenal are suffering from a degree of misfortune that exceeds the fair amount they have brought upon themselves, while the emerging belief of restoration around Anfield should be kept in the shorts until results prove decisively alluring. The match is a good example that a win, no matter how unimpressive, can boost a club’s confidence, and that a loss, truly mitigated by handicap and misfortune, still can be a blow to the psyche.