It's safe to say we have had a very good start to the league, considering our pre-season losses. Three wins, 8 scored, 2 conceded. On friday we have Atletico Madrid, followed by QPR (A) on the 15th, Stoke (H) on the 22nd and Arsenal (A) on the 29th. But aside from the results, what should we be looking for? In my opinion, three things.
- Defensive solidarity - We may have only conceded one good goal this season (*Cough* Petr *Cough*), but we have allowed each team we have played some opportunities. Depending on how long John Terry is injured for, we may be seeing a Luiz/Cahill combo for most of September. This is fine, both a very good defenders, but both must play to their strengths (i.e. Cahill Covering Luiz when he commits himself to a tackle, just all of the basics). Get those things right, we are bordering on a brick wall at the back. Parking the bus is not an option.
- Double pivot - The Merelies/Mikel partnership was surprisingly excellent on the weekend. When Mikel surged forward he looked very good, and Merelies covered to good effect. This means once returning to the Lampard/Mikel pivot, Lampard must resist those fourty yard runs to where he is playing next to Torres, and just hang back a little deeper, so that when the ball breaks down, he can find a pass and keep the attacking possession. If this doesn't happen, we will get into trouble. When Mikel and Merelies hung around the top of Newcastle's half, it allowed us to keep constant pressure. Frank must do this, or whoever else plays in the pivot.
- Striker - Regardless of who we buy, I expect Fernando Torres to score another two goals at the very least, with players like Hazard, Ramires, Lampard, Mata and Moses all capable goal threats for us too. For Nando to do this, he must stay central and STAY THERE. When Torres was on fire at Anfield, he would let the play build around him (and hang between the two centre halves), ready to pounce on a good through ball and score. Don't bother helping build up play, he needed two touches to score against Newcastle, which is all it should be. If Torres stays central and continues to make good runs, he will score, and the press will have very slow news days (it seems they have moved onto Rooney leaving United for now).
This being said, how many points should we have by October. One trophy and Nine?