Monday Morning Manager

Welcome back.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... won't get fooled again.

The Manager isn't sure where his head is at this morning. But it is certainly swimming under a flood of soccer football. (You'll have to excuse the Manager, but he's a colonist). The game is back and we can only catch our breath today before being thrown back into the deep end with games tomorrow and Wednesday.

Perhaps it's time to drown this metaphor before it pulls us out to sea.

These midweek games are frustrating because as much as you've learned from the weekend's games (who plays, who plays well) you're stuck with your team. But in the interest of hitting the transfer market quickly, let's try to organize our thoughts from the weekend and see if we've learned anything.
  • The promoted teams will be competitive. Reading played attractive soccer, and more importantly showed some, ahem, guts in coming back from a 2 goal deficit to beat Boro. Watford never game up on their game with Everton, despite going behind early. And Sheffield United fought Liverpool to a stand-still. These performances, though early days yet, will have Charlton, Fulham, Manchester City, et al feeling a bit of pressure to right the ship quickly (damn, back to the water metaphor!) before getting sucked into a relegation fight.
  • A spate of dodgy penalties and some quick red cards tells us that the officials are picking up right where they left off after this summer's World Cup. Confusing Chris Powell's head with his forearm, or the space around Steven Gerrard with Steven Gerrard were just poor calls.
  • Manchester United are desperate not the let Chelsea get out of sight this season, and they were obliged by an out-of-sorts Fulham defence. Chris Coleman probably wanted to suit kit up (again, pardons) and put himself on the pitch (got it that time!) even more than did Gareth Southgate.
  • On a technical note, it looks like Yahoo! is locking the game on Saturdays so there's no advantage to be had by picking up players (at least those who played that day) before their prices adjust. Shame that.
  • David Unsworth is back! Thought he was out injured, but he made Sheffield United's game with Liverpool and got the assist on Hulse's goal. Unsworth is probably 75 years old and looks no younger than 80. But he'll take free kicks as he has for the last 134 years and is certainly one to consider for your fantasy team.
  • As mentioned previously, Riise and Carragher are out for Liverpool for a few weeks. Aurelio and Agger certainly become attractive picks now. In Aurelio's case it might be a mixed blessing if he's given a regular run at left-back it only means that he won't be starting as an attacking left midfielder! And speaking of attacking left midfielders,
  • M. Taylor (POR - D)
  • The Manager would like to thank Damien Francis and the Everton player his shot looped off and into the net for costing Tim Howard 8pts by ruining his clean sheet (-5) and allowing a goal (-3). This is of course only because the Manager didn't pick Tim Howard.
  • Blackburn Rovers -- don't believe the hype.
  • Bolton Wanderers -- never pick against them.
  • Wayne Rooney -- you'll be missed.
  • Djimi Traore -- what can you say? He's a frickin' train wreck. I thought he was a good signing for Charlton as he gave them defensive cover. However, I didn't think he would be a starter, and he made the Manager's point quite emphatically this weekend.
  • Assou-Ekotto -- looked very good for Tottenham, but dangerously close to getting booked all game. Not sure how much of that was playing against Diouf, a wind-up merchant par excellence, but something of which to be wary. And speaking of wind-up merchants,
  • R. Savage (BLA - M), who baited M. Taylor (POR - D) into a booking.
Hmmm, so after all that, I'm not sure we've learned much at all. What have you learned this weekend?

The Manager