I like the way this season is shaping up. Things are weird. Things are exciting. There have been a lot of upsets, and a lot of goals. Will the situation settle down, and will the same clubs that seem to always dominate their respective leagues rise to the surface? Yeah, probably. But for the moment, let's enjoy:
1. Liverpool over Man U. Not a huge upset, but an upset nonetheless (which I correctly predicted, might I add). I believe this was the first time Liverpool had defeated United in the league in like seven years. With no Gerrard and Torres from the start, I thought they were doomed. I was sure of this after two minutes when Berbatov made the most of his dangerous reputation to draw defenders over and square the ball for Tevez. But a little luck, and a nice goal from Babel saw them through. I know that both United and Chelsea got off to stuttering starts last year, but the former look really vulnerable without Ronaldo. And now that Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool are off and running, one gets the feeling that it will be harder to play catch-up.
2. Robinho. A lot of new players have a "welcome to the premier league" moment when they get schooled by Torres or Christiano or are blocked off the ball in a fashion that would call for a card in Italy or Spain but instead gets a shrug from the ref. Today, the Premier League got a "welcome to Robinho" moment when he struck a perfect free kick (he got some help; Nicolas "team player" Anelka ducked, of course) to put Citeh ahead. Too bad that was the only moment, though, as one saw shades of early C. Ronaldo - lots of style, little substance. There's plenty of time for that to change. (Also, didn't get that result right at all. Chelsea are truly a resilient team. If betting were legal - apologies to Bill Simmons - I'd put a fat wager on the Blues this year. But that's just me.)
3. Hull City (4th) and Fulham (6th). If Hull maintain this pace, they'll be booking a spot in the Champions League come May. Too bad the Championship is still more likely. As for Fulham, someone needs to tell them this is September, not April. They don't need to be playing like they're frantically trying to avoid relegation yet.
4. Whatever the hell is the matter with Roma. Actually, that's easy: injuries to Totti, Vucinic, Mexes, Juan and Simone Perrotta, but we can't let it go at that. Daniele de Rossi (I guess now he belongs on that list, but he didn't at the start of today's match) and Alberto Aquilani should be bossing the midfield, especially against teams like Palermo and Napoli. It's not really happening. Oh wait, did I say injuries were the reason? I meant to say "the curse of Julio Baptista." (Who, for the record, still looks just like Baby Sinclair from the TV Show "Dinosaurs." Just take my word for it.) Anyway, somehow Madrid overcame the curse last year, but it took everything they had. Roma may not be so lucky.
5. Ditto for Barcelona. Here, the answer isn't so clear cut. Thierry was looking lackluster, so he got dropped from this week's squad altogether. While I'll always love TH14, Barca does have some young talent that needs blooding in Pedrito and Sergi Busquets. But is this the right time for that? And if that means starting Messi, Iniesta, Bojan, and Yaya Toure on the bench? I know Pep said he wanted to make changes, but that seems a little extreme. One goal and one point against some very soft opposition is what they have to show for it. Oh, and Hleb is apparently injured now. Somehow that doesn't surprise me.
At any rate, I'm hoping things continue at this pace. Parity, baby! It's the best.