A couple of quick thoughts on the debuts of Premier League new boys Guus Hiddink and Andrey Arshavin.
Some tactical tweaks and benefit of new manager syndrome saw Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea overcome Aston Villa 1-0 at Villa Park. As is the the case 90% of the time, a new manager has come in and given his players a lift. Perhaps Chelsea just need to keep replacing their manager every couple of weeks and they may yet win the league! In all seriousness though it was a good performance and once Chelsea had the goal Hiddink is tactically astute enough to close the game out. Drogba and Anelka seemed to work relatively well (even though it was more of a three with Kalou) and when you have Frank Lampard in your team you always stand a good chance. I don’t think they will challenge Man Utd but they may well end up in second place. Villa meanwhile looked quite tired having played on Thursday (it seems Champions League takes priority over UEFA cup in terms of fixtures being rearranged) and their small squad is starting to feel the effects of playing every game.
Over at the Emirates, Arshavin was the one bright spark in another wasteful Arsenal performance. I think I should write a template for games where they create lots of chances but fail to take them. The Russian had a couple of good efforts early on before understandably fading due to a lack of match fitness. He does look like he might provide the difference between 0-0 stalemates and solid 2-0 wins. Arsene Wenger’s side find themselves six points behind Villa with 12 games left. It’s not insurmountable but Wenger must be hoping that Arshavin and the returning Walcott, Eduardo and Fabregas quickly improve a side that has only scored four times in their last six home games.