What an astonishing weekend of football. From Stoke City’s majestic win at White Hart Lane, that left Harry Redknapp wondering just how committed Aaron Lennon was, after the winger refused to play injured for the cause, to Chelsea’s impressive 5-0 destruction of Blackburn Rovers, a performance which Sam Allardyce accurately labelled for once as “pathetic”, up to yesterday’s marvellous clashes which saw a resurgent Liverpool and 70% fit Fernando Torres, still outfight and outplay a rather timid Manchester United at Anfield, just before a superb West Ham fightback at Upton Park denied Arsenal all the points in a game that the Gunners should have had secured long before. So what five things have we learned about football this weekend?
- Rio Ferdinand & Nemanja Vidic still can’t handle Fernando Torres : The Spanish striker seems to transmogrify the usually reliable Manchester United central defensive duo into a pair of stumbling buffoons. Admittedly Ferdinand’s been doing that all alone most of the season, but once again Torres tormented the pair of them. What was particularly worrying for United was that despite being 70% fit and minus the help of Steven Gerrard, he still toasted the self-styled “best defensive pairing in the Premiership”.
- Arsenal’s wait for a trophy may continue for some time yet while their defensive frailties are still all too apparent. Yesterday’s game being a fine illustration of this. Outplayed for the vast majority of the game, West Ham’s two subs, Diamante and Hines, changed the face of the game and once under pressure, Arsenal capitulated. It’s no use being able to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, if you have a glass jaw defensively.
- The Premiership looks likely to be the most open ever. This weekend just confirmed that, West Ham drawing with Arsenal, Liverpool beating United, Sunderland losing, Man City drawing, Villa held by Wolves, Everton losing to Bolton, could this actually be a season when just one or two teams do not dominateand the title race is wide open…or…
- Will Chelsea walk away with it? The Blues were hugely impressive in their 5-0 rout of Blackburn and with Joe Cole returning to fitness, he will give the side a huge boost ahead of the tricky Autumn/Winter period and into the new year. However one wonders if the combined impact on the African Nations Cup and the possible transfer ban appeal being turned down, may yet scupper the Blues title hopes.
- Portsmouth and Hull look doomed. Sky Soccer Saturday pundit Phil Thompson had the dubious pleasure of covering this game at the weekend and practically admitted it was the worst game of football he’d seen in many a year. It looks likely to be very, very difficult for either of these sides to realistically claim a berth in the Premier league next season if they continue in that vein of form.
So what did you learn from the weekend? Which game did you see? Are Tottenham’s frailties all too apparent, or were Stoke just lucky? What about Everton’s loss at Bolton? Villa’s draw at Wolves? Hardly the form of a team wanting to push into the top four? Maybe you are a United fan incensed by the loss at Anfield, or a Reds fan who now believes that the tide has been turned at Anfield? Let us know what you have learned about the weekend below!