They say the Premier League table isn't worth looking at until at least 10 games into the season (which is good news for Everton, Stoke City and West Ham fans, since they occupy the relegation spots after four weeks), but the sight of Blackpool nestling in fourth, a point behind Manchester United and a point ahead of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, is arresting nonetheless.
Not because it means the Seasiders need to invest in a set of European phrase books -- in 2008-09, newly promoted Hull City plummeted from fourth at one point to survive relegation by a single point -- but it is gratifying to see the club rewarded for manager
Holloway's moves in the transfer market hardly inspire envy in other Premier League boardrooms. He has accumulated a troupe of freebies and loanees discarded by other clubs with a
"I've got to be careful I don't burst with pride," he said on Saturday, having overseen an improbable 2-0 victory over Newcastle. Improbable because Holloway asked his team, still in the 4-3-3 formation of last season, to emulate Spain's Tiki-Taka play. At St James' Park. Where Newcastle's last match had been a 6-0 win, and where it hadn't been beaten in the league since Fulham helped to relegate it two seasons ago.
Blackpool's midfield trio consists of
Holloway's aim had been to stretch the home side and it worked a treat. Blackpool's second goal came from a fast three-on-three break in which Newcastle's defense backpedaled furiously but was undone by the speed with which
In fairness, it might have paid dividends had Blackpool goalkeeper
We're not referring to questions about the club's ownership; until Royal Bank of Scotland makes a move one way or the other, that discussion can only take us around and around in circles. No, focusing on the pitch,
Hodgson was moved to speak of Torres' havoc-wreaking potential by TV pundit
But Hodgson is on what looks like firm ground when he says that Torres "will get better and better as the season goes on." It would have been more interesting to probe his assessment of his midfield. While Birmingham's
Johnson was left exposed by
This weekend highlighted better than most the importance of decision-making in a soccer player's arsenal of skills -- Everton's incredible 3-3 draw with Manchester United in particular. No one knows why
Outdoing all of them in the harebrained stakes, though, was