The International Break

By Paul O'Donnell

International Break
What We've Seen So Far

The new EPL season has been less than riveting for the most part, and a terrible disappointment for many at this stage.  The promoted sides have demonstrated the energy and will to succeed that many of the established teams, such as Tottenham, have been unable to muster.  That has been the lesson of the early days at this stage.

Watford, despite being mired in the bottom three attack the game and any and all comers that has made them a very entertaining side.  Reading's 4 wins has them in 7th in the table after 7 games in their first ever run in the top flight while Wigan seems to be suffering from the sophomore jinx after their 10th placed finish last time out.

Who would have guessed that Aston Villa and Everton would be the two teams that have yet to suffer a defeat in the new season?  Everton's AJ leads the league in goals and Martin O'Neill has even managed to resurrect the career of Angel (so far) and has him playing as if he were five years younger.

Or that West Ham after their terrific run last year and appearance in the FA Cup Final would fall to 16th and manage only a single win after 7 games?  Worse, that that would happen after their shock signing of 2 of the best from Argentina's World Cup team?

Or that Harry Redknapp's Pompey would sit in 4th after their miracle run to survival last year?  Frankly, if they hadn't been hard done by the referee's whistle they'd still be on top of the heap at this point.

Or that Bentiez and Liverpool would find themselves having conceded as many goals as they've managed to score in their first 7 games?  Not scoring has become a trait under Benitez, but now their stalwart defense is leaking far too often.  Frankly, something is very wrong when prolific goal scorers such as Fernando Morientes and Djibril Cisse come to Liverpool and fail under the Benitez system.

Is it a surprise that Bolton is 3rd in the table?  Not really.  They play with a determined effort and guile to match and their Mr. Nolan should surely be in England's plans.  If they can't find a spot for this guy (and AJ too for that matter) getting rid of Sven won't solve the problems with England's national team.

Shevchenko has been a real disappointment so far for Chelsea and speaking of the Blues, what do you think about the mistake of Sean Wright-Phillips moving there from City?  One of the most exciting young talents in the EPL is going to waste on the bench at Stamford Bridge.  You have to wonder what he's thinking about the choice he made.

As for a team playing totally out of character how about Charlton?  A side that usually gets off to a fast start then fades sliding down the table into mediocrity, check it out.  Their currently anchoring the table and despite JFH and Bent they've conceded 8 more than they've managed to score.  Charlton is riding a five match losing streak at this juncture.  The only bright spot for them is that they are the only team that has defeated Bolton (2-0 on Aug 26) for their only win.  Look for Dowie to get them on the right track and soon.  If he doesn't it will be a very short run in the top flight for him.

Speaking of a manager that seems to not have a clue Coleman at Fulham seems to really be under the fog along the Thames.  He leaves Routeledge, McBride and Radzinski out of his first 11 and goes down 2-0 to the Hornets before getting them on the pitch.  Within 15 minutes of getting them out there they'd taken the lead 3-2.  Hopefully he'll not have to relearn that lesson.  Oh another one; Bocanegra is a right back, not a midfielder Mr. Coleman.

When league play resumes on the weekend of Oct 14 Charlton will visit Craven Cottage for the Monday night match.  Will Coleman be out of the fog?


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