The Six Pointer – Strength in unity, transfer timing & more…

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1. Chelsea have been efficiently going about their business without overly impressing, but at this stage of the season you can’t ask for more than three wins out of three. Carlo Ancelotti hasn’t changed too much beyond the switch to a diamond midfield, and has just let the experience of the Chelsea players do the work needed.

There was a certain inevitability about the victory over Fulham yesterday, they were always in control and it was the archetypal professional performance of goal in each half while keeping it tight in between. Fulham were always going to struggle to penetrate without the injured Andy Johnson but Chelsea ensured that they scored the goals to avoid a repeat of last season’s draw.

I’m still not convinced entirely by either the formation or the partnership of Drogba and Anelka but for now the Blues will be happy to work it out as they go along. They should be getting nine points from their next three games against Burnley, Stoke, and Tottenham (they always beat Spurs at home) so they could have a nice little lead come the end of September.

No need to look at each other, it's all through telepathy.

No need to look at each other, it's all through telepathy.

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2. Tottenham have made their best start since 1960-61 when they last won the league. Now while we can safely say they won’t be winning the league this year it does look like they can go back to the position of a few years ago when they were pushing for a Champions League spot.

In terms of the results they’ve had, they’re no better off than last year having also beaten Liverpool at home and Hull and West Ham away. The difference has been the manner of victory in those three games, with the usual attacking intent now complemented by midfield steel in the shape of Wilson Palacios.

It will be interesting to see how they get on once Ledley King starts missing games more difficult than Hull, but at the moment their schedule will allow him to play the next three games of Birmingham (H), Man Utd (H) and Chelsea (A), injury permitting.

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3. After being written off after one defeat, Burnley have now won two games on the spin at Turf Moor, beating both Man Utd and Everton 1-0. Their home form was always going to be key to their chances of survival this season and they have continued in the manner of last season’s Carling Cup run by beating two top sides at home. Their difficult start continues with away games at Chelsea and Liverpool next but the fact they have some points on the board and lie in 7th place suggests they can go into those matches with nothing to lose.

After all, it won’t be the games against the big boys which ensure survival but more what they can do against the Hull’s, Bolton’s and Wolves’ of this world. Teamwork will get them a long way this season and as Owen Coyle said on Saturday, Burnley’s strength is their unity not their individuals.

There must be one ego in there surely?!

There must be one ego in there surely?!

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4. Everton are in a bit of a mess at the moment with a position at the bottom of the table with no points, one fit centre back and a £22 million hole burning in their pocket and just seven days to spend it. They will be pleased the Lescott saga is drawing to a close but they could have had it resolved a long time ago. While he is a good defender he is by no means the most irreplaceable player at Goodison Park (he’s not even the best centre back at the club), so the money they have received is more than adequate (another example of Man City having to buy  second best but with a top price tag).

As many people have pointed out though, they could have accepted £18m a month ago, bought a replacement or two and been settled in time for the new season. The problem now is the timeframe left to buy a replacement plus the fact that everyone knows Everton are desperate and cash rich.

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5. It’s far too early to make calls but at the same time Portsmouth already looked very good bet for relegation. They simply don’t have the players to survive I don’t think, either in quality or in number. The potential takeover drags on and on while on the pitch players like Kanu are just not going to win you games any more. If they can get to the end of transfer window without losing any further players they may have a fighting chance, but if Distin or James leave then it may be a long hard season ahead.

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6. An interesting result at Anfield this evening, where defeat by Aston Villa has left Liverpool with two losses in their opening three games. That’s as many as they lost in the whole of last season. It’s difficult to know what exactly is wrong at Anfield. Once again there wasn’t much midfield service as Xabi Alonso wasn’t there to provide it but the second goal brought up some issues with zonal marking.

I’m sure Rafa will have a moan about the circumstances of the second goal but a) it was definitely a corner and b) Reina kicking it away meant time was being wasted which meant time should have been added for the corner, which it was. Medium term, Benitez is out of money to spend so must hope that the more competitive league this year ensures Liverpool aren’t too far behind the pace once Aquilani is fit.

Much to ponder.

Much to ponder.

But with all the talk of someone new breaking into the top four what price Liverpool to be the ones to drop out? On a side note, was it coincidence that Aston Villa’s best performance in about six months was with Emile Heskey on the bench? I think not.

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T.

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