A look at the winners and losers after the weekend’s action in the English Premier League.
Only their second win over a Big Four team in 35 attempts (the other being against Chelsea in the final days of Jose Mourinho’s reign last September). Villa are the team most likely to challenge the big four for a Champions League place. As this performance shows they have the skill to compete with anyone in the Premier League. The question for them is whether they have the consistency to grind out victories week in and week out. If they did, then Arsenal fans should be very worried because Champions League soccer is not guaranteed for them next season.
The stats say it all: 101 goals in 253 games, joint-second in the top scorers chart despite not starting a league game until September 27. Is their any doubt that Ronaldo is the bets player in the world?
Sunderland are a very different team when Djibril Cisse and Kenwyne Jones are fit. If Sunderland can keep these two of the trainers table and on the pitch, then Sunderland will finish safely in the middle of the table this season.
Anelka is carrying Chelsea on his back. With Didier Drogba’s injury concerns plus his upcoming three-match ban, Anelka current goal scoring streak could not have been better timed. After tearing West Brom apart Anelka now has 13 goals for the season, 12 in 12 starts, eight in his last four.
Gomes had another nightmare game at the weekend as his error on the weekend against Fulham was just one in a series of mistakes that the Brazilian goalkeeper has made in recent week.s Harry Redknapp knows that Spurs needs to shore up its defense and I expect him to call Portsmouth in January and try and pry David James away from Pompey. With the mediocrity in the Premier League this year, Redknapp knows that a UEFA Cup place is not out of the realm of possibility if have can improve his defense.
The great win against Manchester United is forgotten as another terrible display by Arsenal against Villa shocked their fans and manager. It is mid-November and Arsenal have shown that they are out of the title chase already.
While Arsenal’s youth team offers a glimpse of a promising future at the Emirates, the lack of experience in the senor team has damaged Arsenal’s title hopes. There are holes all over the field for Arsenal and while Arsene Wenger has frequently justified his refusal to spend substantial funds because he is in the process of team building, he needs to change his position.
Games today are won and lost in midfield. Consider the difference in experience and production between the midfield quartet of last year – Hleb, Rosicky, Flamini and Fabregas – and that of now – Walcott, Nasri, Denilson and Fabregas. That is not progression, that is regression.
Two points from their last seven league outings. Gianfranco Zola has proven that he is unqualified to be a Premier League manager. With an expected fire sale of West Ham players in the fire sale, these are difficult times for Hammers fans.
Lack of Ambition
There is only 8 points separating bottom of the table West Brom and Everton who are in 7th place. Parity has come to the Premier League. With so little separating the 15 teams in the league, managers know that a three or four game losing streak could find them mired in the relegation battle. As a result, everyone is afraid to lose, and the quality of the games reflect that. The top four teams in the Premier League are amongst the best in Europe, but the rest of the league is becoming mediocre.
The SPL is an extreme example of when a league is dominated by a couple of teams, while the rest of the league is satisifed with not getting relegated. If the Premier League is not careful, that is the path that they are heading to, unless clubs and managers become more ambitious.