Another Premier League weekend has passed us by and once again all the teams have been in action to varying degrees of success. Chelsea and Manchester United both recorded comfortable victories to keep themselves at the forefront of the title chase, but it is behind them where most of the talking points have been generated this weekend. However before we take our first tentative dipped toe into mediocrity, let’s start where we should, at the very top.
Chelsea were outstanding against Bolton at the weekend. Although it took a late first half penalty and the sending off of Jlloyd Samuel before Frank Lampard put them in control, after that it was a procession as the blues racked up an impressive five goal haul at the Reebok. There seems to be little that concerns Carlo Ancelotti’s men, perhaps apart from the fact who they are going to be facing up against next weekend in the game which some are already previewing as a potential title decider…
Manchester United seem to have found a new way to create chances. It involves Patrice Evra getting forward and hitting badly hit left foot shots into the box which United’s strikers, as in Dimitar Berbatov, or opposition defenders, as in Anton Ferdinand, will bundle into the net for you. United may not have played that well but they were still too strong for a pedestrian Blackburn who seemed to have the mindset that a 2-0 defeat was tantamount to a 1-0 victory against anyone else. With such lofty ambitions Rovers may well enjoy their relegation battle this season.
Liverpool are still laughable. It is almost desperate to watch them stumble from one mishap into another at the moment. The lure of the Champions League money was all to patently evident as, with the score 1-1, Benitez took off Torres to “protect” him and in doing so, probably saw Liverpool’s last faint title hopes disappear into smoke at Craven Cottage. If it wasn’t bad enough that they let Bobby Zamora score, they then compounded that by letting Nevland score too. Worse than the fact that Liverpool’s season is fast going down the pan, is the real danger that Benitez is becoming a laughing stock and his position as manager untenable. This defeat followed by an early Champions League exit on Wednesday and that may well prove to be the case.
Portsmouth seem to have found some form, two 4-0 home wins in a row will give Paul Hart’s men a great deal of confidence and hope they can close the gap on the teams above them in the Premier League. This is good as they may well be waiting for their wages again given that the new Portsmouth owner is pleading poverty and is apparently just £50m short of being able to afford the wages of the team this season.
Manchester City’s title claims look to be based firmly on their power of spending rather than on field results. A 0-0 draw at St Andrews against Birmingham, thanks chiefly to Shay Given’s penalty save from James McFadden, is hardly the result to set the pulse quickening at United or Chelsea. Four draws on the bounce mean Mark Hughes men have dropped eight points and that, Sparky my old chum, is nowhere near good enough to force your way into the title race. Still look at the positives, you are still miles better than Liverpool at the moment.
The London derby proved to be very one sided as Arsenal ran out comfortable winners. Harry released David Bentley from cleaning his pool and actually played him against his former club and it was an entirely futile idea as Spurs went down 3-0 in a rather meek effort. Arsenal once again look so good when things go for them but their fragile defence does worry me, especially against teams who can muster a greater attacking threat than Tottenham did at the Emirates.
Other things we’ve learned from the weekend:
1. The only thing that moves slower than Emiliano Insua is continental drift.
2. Gabriel Obertan is not only ugly, he is fantastically inept too. Dribbling the ball out of play and missing sitters. It was an entirely comical debut by the freaky Frenchman.
3. It was “See Red for the Dead” weekend in the Premiership, where Premiership stars joined in the fun of Hallowe’en by getting sent off in their droves or playing as if they were Zombiefied. Liverpool made their own sacrifice for the celebrations by killing off any last hope of a decent league campaign and by Bonfire night, their season could well be up in smoke…
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