Was the Arsenal v Manchester United slaughter the defining moment of the 2009-2010 season for the Gunners? Will I avoid making the blindingly obvious “Chelsea skipper John Terry scores away from home” comment? Who showed Liverpool star Dirk Kuyt which way the goal is? Will Harry Redknapp’s phone bill at the end of today resemble the Sultan of Brunei’s bank account? All these answers, I’m not sure of (apart from the Terry comment, which was a rhetorical question) but I did learn the following;
1. Wenger’s reluctance to buy a striker could cost Arsenal the title : Arsene may well blame naivety and poor performances all over the pitch for the latest embarassing capitulation at home to the Premier League big boys, but regardless of this, there was no greater indication for me of why Arsenal must invest in a top quality striker. Arshavin is a wonderful player, but he isn’t an out and out striker. Too often, when Arsenal attack they played lovely football but had no focal point in the box to find to put an end to their great build up play. Wenger’s right to seek value for money and he may baulk at £40m for David Villa. Unfortunately for him, that is the current market value for a player of his talent who may, just may, have made a difference yesterday. With a genuine goal threat, there’s no need for Arsenal to throw men forward at set pieces, which on two occasions led to brilliant, breakaway Manchester United goals.
2. It’s now a two horse race for the title : Oh I know Arsenal bounced back after their Chelsea loss and clawed back the gap, but really the gulf between the Gunners and Chelsea and Manchester United is, as proven by the results in November and the past weekend, still very large. The Gunners beautiful passing games may tear weaker sides apart, but they don’t have the power, strength or firepower that the top two sides have. Arsenal will take third by a country mile, but they are going to be well short of lifting the big one. It’s between Chelsea and United now.
3. John Terry. England captain? : Would you want to be one of his team mates in the England team, knowing that he quite happily leapt into bed with one of your teammates ex’s? I don’t doubt Terry’s qualities as a player to be fit to lead England, but as a leader and a figurehead of the team, is he the right man for the task? There is already talk of a rift in the squad between Bridge and Terry, hardly the ideal situation to prepare for the World Cup finals.
4. Everton are showing worryingly good form at present for Liverpool fans : Next weekend see’s the Merseyside derby at Anfield and Liverpool see this as a must win game (for a change). The problem is that Everton have regained their form and are now looking much more like the side who has qualified for European football the past two years. With key players returning from injury, loan signing Landon Donovan settling in well and the blues set to welcome back players from the African Cup of Nations, it looks like being a very, very tough clash for Liverpool at Anfield next weekend.
5. Portsmouth are deeper and deeper in the doo-doo : Think about it. They cannot afford to pay their debts at the moment, let alone their staff and players. The board are arranging the firesale of players left right and centre behind the back of the Managing Director Peter Storrie and the manager Avram Grant. They still can’t win a game and if they, as expected, drop out of the Premier League, their yearly income will further decrease by around £35m, together with a net depreciation of their assets because they are no longer a top flight football team. It’s grim reading for Pompey fans.
What did you learn from watching the EPL this weekend?