I bring this up because it occurs to me that many Premier League teams need some help in understanding how to make change happen. Since it is the (assumed) birthright of all consultants to make recommendations on businesses in which they themselves are not necessarily experts, I offer my unsolicited (and likely unwanted) advice to managers and technical directors across the land on small tweaks to the way they do things that will help down the line:
Steve Bruce: See above, change happens slowly - you can't switch out your entire roster each season. More money on 2 or 3 high quality additions each off-season rather than the same money spent on 8 or 9 lesser players you can't possibly hope to bring quickly into a unified team concept.
Arsene Wenger: Buy earlier man. Everyone on the planet knew you had money coming in from Cesc and Nasri at some point. Why not get ahead of your problem and buy Hazard and Jagielka BEFORE pre-season started (we know you were already on the phone with Lille)? You have a new billionaire owner, I'm sure he'd have been willing to float the cash for a month until Cesc and Nasri were sold. Why waste the value of an entire pre-season and the first few matches of the actual season?
AVB: Start playing Drogba and Torres together now because you just bought the "next Drogba" for a bunch of money. All three players are best suited to the "9" role in your favored 4-3-3 alignment but those aren't the cards you've bought/been dealt. You have one player (Malouda) who makes sense as a wide player in that alignment from time-to-time and a couple who either don't fit well (Anelka) or just aren't that good (Kalou). Seems like time for Plan B.
Mancini: I'm sure that all of England appreciated that the first attempt that the club made to spend its way to success focused mostly on English players (SWP, Barry, Milner, Lescott, Bridge, etc.). Now that the flaws in that plan have been revealed, it is time to allow the corpses of these players to go back to the mid-table clubs where they belong. I have no problem with the notion of playing two holding-type midfielders but the ghost of Gareth Barry added very little going forward or backward against an over-matched Swansea side. Time to let him find his rightful place on the bench or somewhere else where he can make a positive contribution.
Harry Redknapp: Be decisive. I can only imagine the plight of current forwards Defoe, Crouch, and Pav. They've spent the last two summers reading about how Spurs needed a world class forward to take the leap to being a serious and regular contender for the Top 4. We're almost two seasons on and nothing has happened. Either shut up and try your best to boost their confidence because there is some talent there or pull the trigger and get the guy you want. The middle ground isn't helping anyone but the media who get to write column after column about your failed/failing attempts to improve your lot at forward.
OK, enough with the rant and on to the player recommendations:
- Aguero - How can he not lead off the recommendations after THAT performance. The only argument against is that a) everyone will have him and b) he can't possibly live up to everyone's expectations. That said, I'm not brave enough to bet against him after watching that display.
- Torres - I know, he didn't score last weekend. As much as I'd love to crush him for it, he was more than a little unlucky. Playing at home against a less impressive defense, I'd bet on him to score at least one.
- Welbeck - Rooney is likely to get his points but I've already recommended two "premium" forwards. I like the kid's chances to do well as Spurs defenders collapse to his much higher-profile teammates Rooney, Young, and Nani.
- Carroll - Suarez is the better long term bet at forward for Liverpool but you'd be kicking yourself if you picked a LIV forward against Arsenal and it wasn't the one who is really good in the air. The storyline is too obvious to ignore.
- Saha - The great injury gamble meets the great match-up. We all know that Saha can get it done on his day but we also know he could have hurt himself between the time I started writing this blurb about him and the time I finished. If it is worth the risk at all this season, this is the time.
- Larsson - Not because of the amazing goal last weekend (although that doesn't hurt), you're picking him because he's at home to a NUFC team that isn't likely to post two clean sheets in a row and Larsson is the most likely to be in the middle of whatever happens for Sunderland.
- Sessegnon - This pick is because with Gyan hobbled, Sessegnon will likely move even farther up the field that his listed midfield spot, his price is reasonable, and the match-up isn't bad. Plus, how better to celebrate his late arrival into the Yahoo! game. (yup, still beatin' that particular horse)
- Cahill - See Saha above minus the injury joke, not that Cahill doesn't have his share.
- BFAY - My guess is he's going to throw out a very steady stream of double figure performances based on phantom points alone since he's taking the majority of kicks for a United attack that is going to have to compensate for the kids at the back for a while.
- Jarvis - The match-up isn't quite as appealing as Larsson's but the player is more talented so I wouldn't argue with you going either way as their prices are at least similar.
- Silva - You sort of have images of he, Nasri, and Aguero forming a triangle that resembles a poor man's Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi. Small, quick, amazing on the ball and capable of making their teammates better by drawing attention and making great passes. Hard to turn down a part of that even if he's on the road.
- Smalling - Sort of a tough call with all the reserves likely playing for United at the back but worth a look even against Spurs since they're playing at home.
- Non-RJ Wolves Defenders - There are some relatively inexpensive guys Foley and Berra being the most obvious who could get you a few phantom points plus a clean sheet for a reasonable investment. Sadly, no rock bottom prices here.
- Warnock - Obviously you'd be happier if you got him on the BD last weekend but he has a solid chance to return more than his value at home against
- Gibbs - Not sure about his health or Arsenal's ability to contain Liverpool minus Song but even at "retail" his price is still low enough for him to represent a great value if you need the money elsewhere.
- Heitinga - Hard to say whether he's going to start or not but if it looks like he is, he'd be a great fill-in for Gibbs as a cheap option that could pay off at home against a team that didn't look much like scoring last week.
- Baines - If you have the stomach to spend that much money on a defender, he's likely going to have a big match plus he could get you some CS points if QPR remain as inept as Week 1.
- Given - See Warnock above. Excellent value on the BD, OK value at retail.
- Hennessey - If you need someone who is affordable and could easily end up with a win and a CSm he's your man.
- Howard - I'm a little wary of him but I probably shouldn't be as a nice medium option between Given and Hennessey. Solid potential for a double digit return at a reasonable (but not cheap) price.