Blog by: Omkar
Goals win football matches. And even with the labyrinthine nature of the modern game, the old adage still rings true. Goals do win football matches. You can’t possibly win without them. But despite this widely-known fact of the game, all three promoted clubs failed to find the net in their opening Premier League matches.
Although the ‘top four’ of the Barclays Premier League seem to be ay behind the rest of Europe’s leading clubs, the overall standard of the top flight English league has increased dramatically in recent seasons, and continues to do so.
Because of this, inevitably, all three of last season’s promoted Championship clubs are favourites for the drop, and they may already be playing catch-up to the rest of the pack.
But here’s how Cardiff, Hull and Palace could stay up, and where their goals will come from.
The biggest spenders out of the three promoted clubs, and likely to have the greatest chance of staying in the league this season. Cardiff showcased both club record signings Gary Medel (Sevilla) and Steven Caulker (Tottenham) on the opening day, away at West Ham, and despite promising displays from both of the new boys, Malky Mackay’s team struggled to counter, or create any real chances against the Hammer’s defence.
However, there is a basis of a very good team at the Cardiff City Stadium. If you have ever seen him play, you will know that Gary Medel will add steel and tenacity to the Welsh side’s midfield, which will be needed, but, also quality. £11 million worth of it, too. A full Chilean international and over 76 appearances and 8 goals for Sevilla, he can play a bit.
They have Steven Caulker, who somewhat was a surprise signing from Spurs, an England U21 international, who looked to have a very bright future at Tottenham. Big (6ft3), strong, powerful, gifted on the ball, delightful knack of being able to stay on his feet, Caulker, 21, is a real coup for Cardiff, and he will definitely be expected to shine this season.
Another summer acquisition was 20-year-old Danish striker Andreas Cornelius (FC Copenhagen) for £7,500,000. Cornelius is likely to feature in the first ever Premier League fixture at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday as they host Manchester City, and joins on the back of 18 league goals in 29 games in the Danish Superligaen last term.
Operating a 4-5-1 system, Cardiff will be expected to look upon Korean international playmaker Kim and former Football League goal of the year winner Peter Whittingham to provide the link between midfield and attack, with a more defensive shield of Medel and Gunnarsson starting the play.
Malky Mackay will also be again looking towards the now veteran Welsh star Craig Bellamy to once again cause mayhem within opposition defence, and notch up the goal tally, whilst adding an extra class and experience to the side.
Another season, another Steve Bruce Premier League outfit. But this could, in terms of system and squad, be his best team yet. Bruce’s Championship side scored the fewest amount of goals in the top twelve in the league table last season but they’ve been quick to rectify that problem (or at least have done something about it) with the loan signing of Danny Graham from Sunderland.
Graham’s short spell at the Stadium of Light was disastrous to say the least, scoring not even once following his move from Swansea last January. But, as another old cliché says, he’ll have a point to prove.
Yannick Sagbo and Sone Aluko were the men responsible for supporting, or trying to support, Graham against Chelsea, with the latter scoring eight goals in the Championship last term and the former scoring just six in Ligue 1 at Evian.
Favourites to go down, the Championship playoff winners have had an unfavourable transfer window, with views mirrored by manager Ian Holloway, as many transfer targets have slipped away from their grasp.
The most noticeable of those targets, Darren Bent, would surely have been the perfect fit for Palace. Instead, Bent has chosen to swap the Aston Villa bench for a slightly better chance to play at Fulham.
However, The Eagles stand in pole position to sign Dwight Gayle. The former non-league player, scored 20 goals for two clubs, Dagenham & Redbridge and Peterborough, and although likely to need time to adapt to a whole new level of football, the 22-year-old striker does show a natural ability to position himself, and to stay composed, in front of goal.
The departure of England wing-wizard Wilfred Zaha to Manchester United and the long term injury to last season’s top goal scorer Glenn Murray means a considerable amount of goals have been lost in this current Crystal Palace squad and perhaps, another gamble in a bid to rekindle their goal tally has been taken with a free transfer of Arsenal’s forgotten man Marouane Chamakh, who scored just eight goals for the North London club after a much promising transfer from French side Bordeaux in the summer of 2010.