Kieran Davies looks back on seven days of misfiring in brothels, mind-bending dreams, and going all ‘Cristiano’.
Well the actual winners of last weekend’s high profile game has to be the performance of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal on the road at Man City. With City needing to keep matching Chelsea’s results at the very least in pursuit, the pressure of Chelsea having won the day earlier seemed, coupled with Arsenal’s performance, enough to undo the reigning champions. Don’t take anything away from Arsenal as many do in these situations by accusing the defeated of not playing well: The North Londoners came with a plan and it worked well. They cut out the supply to Aguero with tenacious hassling of the Citizens whenever they were in possession of the ball. Cazorla put in arguably one of the best performances he ever has in an Arsenal shirt and was the catalyst for this win. The performance and result answered a lot of criticism of Arsenal not competing in the big games last season.
Jose Mourinho will have enjoyed his Sunday, sat back watching City give away an important three point gain in the race for the title between the sides. Having looked almost human on the road lately, Chelsea answered any doubters by blitzing Swansea in a first half where they fired four unanswered goals. The South Wales outfit managed to contain Chelsea to only five by the end of the 90 minutes but it was a clinical performance by Jose’s side. Oscar was world class and really showed maybe why Chelsea were so relaxed with the departure of Frank Lampard in the summer. They have so many attacking options in the final third they are almost spoilt with choice. It will take something special for anyone to eclipse Chelsea for the title from what we have seen so far, but never say never in the Premier League.
Meanwhile Brendan Rodgers feels his side are in ‘top form’ after beating a Villa side who on current form couldn’t score in a brothel with a suitcase full of notes. Unless Lambert can address his misfiring side the owner may be excused for following the lead of the Hull City owner and apply to change their name to ‘Villa 0’ to make things simpler for everyone. Unfortunately for Reds fans is that both Borini and Lambert scored so Rodgers thinks he has no striking problems! (I’ll have a pint of what he’s had please!)
Man Utd avoided a potential banana skin with a seemingly comfortable win in London against QPR. With fans almost expecting Champions League qualification despite their new manager having a record worse than David Moyes at the same time last season, they keep this rather mind bending dream alive. In all fairness, the amount of money Van Gaal has spent, he could probably keep most of Africa alive so surely a dream is a minimum requirement.
Tottenham managed to avoid the dream start for Sunderland’s new signing Jermaine Defoe. Despite this being a very competitive game for the duration which will please Poyet as his side have the worst away form in the league, Tottenham just edged it although they will feel the scoreline should have looked more comfortable after the officials chalked off a perfectly good goal by Vermaelen towards the end of the game where he rolled the ball into an empty net from distance. The Sunderland keeper had gambled by going up for a corner in a desperate attempt to get an equaliser and almost ended up with egg on his face. Some people are divided on whether club’s should roll the dice and replace a manager half way through the season but one side who have previous for doing this to great success is Crystal Palace. Last year the messiah that is Tony Pullis arrived and kept them up rather comfortably. This season they find themselves in a similar predicament, this time step forward Alan Pardew.
In a crunch game away to Burnley, having gone 2-0 down very early on, by the time the second half had barely got underway, Palace were all square! What a turnaround! Not quite done with this the London outfit even had the audacity to get a third and make their trip up North a fruitful one with all the points in the bag. Southampton continued their impressive return to form with a win at Newcastle. Now the Magpies form has been very indifferent this season but it is never easy to win in the North East and this game proved just as difficult for Koeman’s side. While they were celebrating Leicester fans will have felt another nail was hammered into their Premier League coffin when they lost at home to Stoke City. Not that many people will feel Stoke will be in the mix but they don’t tend to travel well and any side will feel this was a winnable game.
West Ham got back to winning ways at home against hapless Hull City. From what we have seen from Bruce’s men and their lack of firepower, they could well be involved in matters towards the bottom of the table come the end of the season. Sam’s men ran out comfortable 3-0 winners and this really is a season where Hammers fans will be pinching themselves as they find themselves, deservedly, in seventh place hot on the heels of Spurs and Arsenal. In the final game of the weekend, Everton entertained West Brom. These games can be somewhat of a damp squib at times after a pulsating weekend of action but this one didn’t disappoint for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes at football teams players can get lost in their own ego and go what I call ‘all Cristiano’. This is where they think they single handedly ensure that the club stays in existence. As a result this entitles them to do whatever they desire. Well it seems a certain Kevin Mirallas has come down with a bout of this sadly for Everton fans. When Mirallas decided Everton’s penalty was going to be taken by him rather than the usual penalty taker, the ever dependable Leighton Baines, things went South from there. Having grabbed the ball like no animal or mammal alike was going to prise it out of his grasp, he seemed confident. He didn’t return for the second half with Martinez giving his verdict on matters. As ever a Pullis side gets bodies behind the ball and makes themselves difficult to be broken down and all Baggies fans will happily take a point from Merseyside.