The striking conundrum at the top of the table
Each team at the top of the Barclays premier league has a world class forward line but with that world class tag each of them carries unnecessary baggage with them. With the pre season in full flow each of them will have set specific goals for the new season.
Dimitar Berbatov: The club record signing for man utd. After 2 average seasons he was the top scorer in the league even though he didn’t start many games in the latter half of the season. Hat trick against Liverpool, a sublime lob in the community shield and winning many games on his own at the time rooney had contract issues and Hernandez was taking his time adapting to the league; yet this languid Bulgarian can’t win over major section of the fans who label him “berbaflop” who criticize him for his lack of effort and drought in the champions league since his brace against Aalborg. According to some of the fans he disrupted a winning team and broke up the holy trinity and was more of a luxury player than a necessity.
Verdict: The price tag was not his fault but he needs to turn up in games against the top teams to gain the love of his fans but will find it hard to break the rooney-hernandez combo; but has always stated that he wants to prove himself at united. As berbatov has never been an impact player to come off the bench and score, I see him enduring a difficult season. He will have to prove himself all over again as the champions league final snub clearly shows that SAF has lost faith in him.
Carlos Tevez: The complete opposite of the languid Bulgarian, this hustling Argentine switched sides in Manchester. Instantly adored by his fans for his work rate and quality he became the focal point of City on their quest for champion’s league football and also played an important role in helping city win the FA cup but feels home sick and wants to move back to Argentina to be with his family. Quotes like “I am tired of football”, “I miss my daughter” proves that he wants to leave the cub.
Verdict: Could form an excellent partnership with Aguero that could spearhead City to Domestic/European glory but may end up leaving. If City receive 40m for him I can see him being sold.
Robin Van Persie: The talented Dutchman is adored by the fans and finished as Arsenal’s top scorer last season even though he missed half a season due to injury. Scored 18 goals since the turn of the year and also scored in 11 consecutive away games, also scored the equalizer against barca in the round of 16 but was harshly sent off in the return leg for time wasting. Has never said anything negative about the club or manager although he would prefer if the club could hold on to its best player and also strengthen a bit in order to challenge on all fronts.
Verdict: Could win the league for arsenal and a major contender for golden boot next season provided he manages to remain fit. His stats last season tell us that he has scored a goal every 98mins which is astounding, so as long as he remains fit he will be in every football fan’s fantasy team.
Fernando Torres: The complete opposite of RVP. He was signed by Chelsea for a British record of 50m (which is 20 time the amount that arsenal paid for Van Persie). An Abramovic buy in many people’s eyes, he was bought to lead them to Champions league glory but was substituted at half time in the return leg against man utd for Drogba who made an immediate impact and soon question marks were raised regarding his selection in a game that might have ultimately cost Ancelloti his job. He has scored 1 goal in his Chelsea career; against now relegated West Ham.
Verdict: Will need to prove that he can play alongside Drogba. New manager Villas Boas will have his work cut out in helping the world cup winner to regain his confidence because the Torres of old(Liverpool in 09’) can help Chelsea lift the champions league in Munich this season. He will certainly do better this season as he has had no major international commitments this summer. I expect his former Liverpool team mate Benayoun to supply the ammunition for him.
Liverpool on the other hand signed a new striking combo in Suarez and Caroll for a combined 60m which helped them finish in the top 6 after a disastrous start to the season. Signings like Downing, Adam and Henderson would surely help them boost their goal tally and lift some pressure off Gerrard’s shoulders.
Tottenham are badly in need for a striker. Defoe, pavluychenko and crouch all fluffed their chances as Spurs missed out on a top 4 spot. In order to qualify for the Champions league they would look to retain the midfield trio of Van der Vaart, Bale and Modric as they would surely provide ample service to whichever striker Redknapp signs.
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