Firstly, apologies for the delayed post, a busy life schedule and time off work meant that I did not get chance to play much at all, thus gathering material for the post and making time to edit it all up had to take a back seat.
Life in season 4, back in the Premier League for the second time, has started ominously realistically.
After the summer signings of Suarez (CF), Torres (CM), Spinazzola (LM), Adama Traoré (RM) and Balbuena (CB) I had optimism going into the new season, picking up four wins and a defeat in the opening 5 matches, to take an early lead at the top of the Premier League.
Much like any newly promoted team who want to make an impact on the division and get as many points on the board as early as possible, we played solidly in those opening five matches, with a 1-0 win over Liverpool at home being the highlight, and a thumping 4-1 win away to Huddersfield showing that the newly acquired firepower was paying dividends.
Suarez has started as expected, his deadly finishing on show, and his movement really adds to our forward threat, Spinazzola has been surprisingly good also, a Left Mid who joined from Juventus, always seems to be in the right place.
Jurgen Damm has kept his place on the right-wing ahead of Adama Traoré but has so far only chipped in with a couple of goals and is finding it harder in the better division.
Then came a 5 week injury to CF Josh King, so as backup, on the closing day of the transfer window we managed to grab Tammy Abraham from Chelsea on a 5 year deal worth £18 million.
The next 3 matches consisted of a draw, against a superb Chelsea side and a 2 defeats, to see us slip down to 8th in the table.
Chelsea were a cut above anyone we had played up until that point, with Hazard always a constant threat, they moved the ball well and played with pace, and the match against them was one of the most enjoyable for a long time.
Chelsea went 1-0 up mid-way through the first half, I needed a tactical change, so brought on Adama Traoré to use his pace down the right-wing, moments after he came on this happened ….
A driven pass seeking out Adama, who took a great first touch to race down the wing with pace and cut inside the Chelsea full back, who lunged in and brought him down for a Penalty, which Suarez duly converted, 1-1.
Chelsea then went 2-1 in the 67th minute, Hazard again, at which point we switched to a high pressing, attacking formation, and in the 88th minute, Adama once again staking a claim for a starting place by dispossession the Chelsea full back just outside the box, and laying a nice pass inside the box to a waiting Suarez who drilled home inside the near post for a last gasp equalizer.
I probably should have altered the tactics and formation to maybe a 5-4-1, or 4-5-1 to stifle Chelsea and try to hit on the counter attack, but I wanted to see if we could hang with the big boys playing our usual style, and to come from behind twice to earn a draw against one of the leagues best teams was satisfying.
Next up was Spurs, who hammered us 4-0, we didn’t play very well at all but that’s more credit to Spurs, hands down the toughest team I’ve ever faced on a football game.
The pace and way they moved the ball, the constant pressure, and their deadly attacking trio of Kane, Son, and Delle Ali, was just impossible to play against.
We was lucky to get zero.
So quite realistically, we have started well, and then started to fade away a bit, but I’m confident we can pick up enough points against the rest of the teams to remain in the division, which was the target from the outset, and what is expected from the board.
After all, we are 8th but still only 3 points off the top.
We also have some promising young players who I have promoted, trained and developed and are getting games in cup matches, and as subs in league games, more on these players next time.
A few goals from the opening matches, and finished off with a stormer of a goal from the CM against me.