Hey folks, it’s that time again! Welcome to this week’s Premier League Wrap-Up, presented by Baltimore Birds Blog. This week was no less eventful than the last, but in the interest of space and time, I want to only look at a few key moments from this week; United is in freefall, Di Maria is in a red jersey, and Arsenal has started its midseason slump a little bit early this season.
Manchester United is officially in the beginning of another freefall; much like the one that was seen last season. The first problem of the week came during the game against Sunderland, when United ended up settling for a tie against a markedly inferior team.
Tying with Sunderland immediately after losing to Swansea City is not a good streak to have for a top-tier team like United, and unless van Gaal can get his locker room in order fast, expect more poor performances from this once-mighty club.
Speaking of poor performances, it is worth noting that United got knocked out of the FA Cup after a disastrous game against MK Dons (4-0 was the final score), a team currently in the second tier of English professional soccer. Although this was not an EPL match, nor will it even be a potential EPL matchup for some time, it is still a match worth noting, since it shows just how far United may yet fall this season.
All United fans can do right now is hope that the addition of Di Maria from Real Madrid is enough to at least keep the team from any further embarrassments, and at the very least keep them hovering around the middle of the standings.
Trouble at Highbury
Arsenal, with its tie against Everton and the recent (and likely season-ending) injury of Olivier Giroud, is officially on our freefall watch, even with the Champions League advancement this week. Giroud is a huge part of the Gunners’ squad, and without the trio of him, Ozil, and Sanchez at the top, the Gunners may experience their annual midseason slump a little early this year.
Wenger cannot keep relying on Aaron Ramsey to fill the shoes of missing stars for too much longer; defenses have shown in the past that can figure him out, leaving Ozil and Sanchez without backup when they need it the most. Arsenal also cannot just keep hoping that they get a lucky shot or two when their opponents have been tired out, as they did against Everton.
By all accounts, Arsenal is a broken team, and unless some major changes come to Highbury, then the Gunners will suffer yet another mediocre season under Wenger’s leadership.
Hola, Di Maria!
As mentioned earlier, Manchester United has officially completed the signing of Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid. Di Maria is without a doubt one of the best players on the Argentine national squad, and having him will provide a big boost to the Red Devils’ midfield, which this week demonstrated that it still needs work.
He is a playmaker and a goal scorer, so he should work well with Rooney, Mata, and Van Persie, and hopefully turn United’s season around. At the same time, however, it is clear that some serious team-building needs to be done at United, and fast. Di Maria, talented as he may be, is likely not the immediate answer for a club that has to address some very fundamental issues.
Couple these existing issues with the adjustment period every player faces when first joining a new team, and you get a recipe for at least a few more losses before United may look competitive again. Van Gaal set the Premier League transfer record with the purchase, so let’s hope that he is able to get a nice return on his investment.