Saturday, August 20, 2011

Question: What the Hell is a Frimpong?

Answer: A holding midfielder for Arsenal football club who is quite exciting going forward but tackles late and recklessly.  Not to be confused with a Song, a Diaby, a Flameini, or a Viera.

In all seriousness, Arsenal looked very young and inexperienced in their loss to Liverpool at the Emirates today.  The refrain in the media regarding this result for the home team is going to something along the lines of "same old Arsenal," and that is not wrong.

But the second, louder cry amongst a certain segment of the English football viewing population is going to "Liverpool is back," or "The Reds are a title contender," etc.

Don't believe this.  It's just not true.  Liverpool are not title contenders.  They are not even close.  I even made a small wager yesterday that they would finish below both Manchester clubs in the final table.  I can't wait to try on my shiny new Bolton shirt next May.

Liverpool have several weaknesses, and they start at the back.  If I thought that Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel would be the regular partnership for central defense at Anfield, I might give them a tiny chance, instead of no chance.  But it will be a cold day in hell before "Anfield Legend" Kenny Dalglish drops "Legendary Scouser" Jamie Carragher from the starting XI.   And Carragher is terrible.  he was always wildly overrated, but now he is a shell of his former  half-decent-defensively self.

A secondary, but related problem is that the supremely talented Agger can never stay fit for more than a few weeks.  And it is not as if they will receive a lot of help from other positions.  Right Back Glen Johnson plays no defense.  None.  And holding midfielder Lucas, while very useful, just isn't the type of pacy destroyer you need in front of a shaky back four like Liverpool have.

So, long story short, Luis Suarez will take your breath away, Andy Carroll will lumber his way into double digit goals, Steven Gerrard will throw all of his toys out of the pram when he returns from injury and realizes he is no longer first choice, and Kenny Dalglish will struggle to control it all.  He will be forced to stick with the local heroes, Gerrard and Carragher, even though neither is one of his best 11 players.  This will further highlight their defensive frailty, and prevent them from breaking into the top and returning to the Champions League.

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