by Steven S

Just as our blood gets pumping for the Premiership we always hit this inconvenient time of the season where the national teams try their best to convince us that anything else actually matters. Like women’s football during the Olympics we sit through these qualifiers half heartedly, watching this alien form of the game that resembles something recognisable. Following the last mad week of the window it has been relatively quiet, so let’s pick through the bones of the little bits of news collected over the past week.

Looking back at last Sundays live televised games it was Arsenal’s new and old boys that took the headlines, in particular Van Persie’s hat trick down at St Marys. Every Gunner and neutral fan held the belief that RVP would not repeat a season like his last yet he has continued with four in his first two starts for United forcing everyone to revise their fantasy league picks. As we know injuries have plagued him for years, possibly not helped by Arsenal’s medical team, so with a better support team around him any knocks he picks up may not prove to be so devastating to his season. As long as he is on the pitch, then goals are a certainty now.

Up at Anfield it was crisis time again as Arsenal, led by magnificent Diaby, took their first three points of the season. A third clean sheet in a row for the Londoners stands out as the most surprising stat of the new campaign and Steve Bould’s promotion to Wenger’s right hand man is no coincidence. Sahin sparked a tug of war between the two sides chasing his signature and his first game at Anfield did not produce anything of note, taking the place of Clint Dempsey who should have been watching from the sidelines, instead of preparing for Champions League football with Tottenham…

Owner Henry was up all night Sunday spilling his guts to the Liverpool fans defending their conservative spending this summer following the hammering they took over the failure to secure Clint’s signature after letting Andy Carroll gallop out of the city. A lot of responsibility remains on the shoulders of Gerrard and Suarez for at least the next six months and it could well be the fans writing their own Dear John letter soon enough.

Although the transfer window was closed two Fridays ago, some leagues across Europe remained open much to the delight of the loons on Twitter. Arshavin seems determined to stay in London – most likely to secure his British passport – yet bizarrely it was David Bentley who has joined the Russian League side FC Rostov, who finished 13th last season. He will be out there until at least January and if he was bought on the basis of his surname they might see more of a Lada.

AVB was putting his man management skills to work again, appearing to cause some unrest between him and new star signing Hugo Lloris. Brad Friedel was ever reliable last season and understandably given his age the club had to buy a replacement. Given his cost and strong reputation in mainland Europe, Hugo and everybody else were expecting him to come in as first choice – a view not shared by AVB. France manager Didier Deschamps did his best to stir the pot midweek before Lloris gave a focused answer about the pending international match. AVB doesn’t appear to be a strong communicator given his mumbling post and pre-match interviews and surprisingly it was Burnley who offered some credence to the idea he is perhaps too introspective.

Ex Burnley CEO Paul Fletcher is preparing to release his book, Magical: A Life In Football, covering his career as a player and Executive at the club. Before a move to Porto and still managing at Académica, AVB was interviewed for the job at Turf Moor eventually losing out to Brian Laws. His presentation to the club was impressive by all accounts, although a little too complex, making it too big a gamble for the club to take.

Raul Meireles has completed his move from Chelsea to Turkish giants Fenerbahce for £8m, leaving their midfield looking lacking any real grit to go with the flicks. Flaurent Malouda missed out on a move this time but his relegation to training with the youngsters marks the end of his time at the Bridge. Ashley Cole’s contract expires at the end of this season and rumours are starting to gain momentum about his departure from the club. If a financial package can’t be agreed to keep him at Chelsea we have to hope he stays on the road when he hears Roman’s final offer.

Hernandez Mark II confirmed his signature for Manchester United, Angelo Henriquez from Universidad de Chile signing up midweek. Leroy Lita chances at Swansea City look slim this season and he has joined Birmingham in an emergency loan deal until January. As expected Michael Owen went to Stoke on a one year contract, perhaps with an eye on playing with Peter Crouch one again. Everyone laughed as he joined up with a team of giants and it really is his last chance to prove there still is a point to his career bar funding his horse racing.

A salary cap could be on the cards in the Premiership if enough support can be garnered from at least 14 of the 20 teams. Richard Scudamore went in front of a Select Committee at the House of Commons on Thursday to discuss the proposed limit on the ever increasing amounts being spent to fill the player’s pockets. Even if something does come into place ahead of the new £3bn TV package starting next season there will always be means and ways to ensure that level of income remains. The only way clubs will ever stop to think about where the money train is heading will be when the cash eventually dries up and absolute mayhem will ensue.

So another week lies ahead trying to find something of interest to talk about. The Paralympics are doing just fine but Channel Four have absolutely butchered the coverage and dour international games midweek are just something to blankly stare at. All in all these two weeks are like a mini summer and be warned, there is another to come next month, so keep your head down, get your arse to work and it’ll all be over soon. Until next week people.