A look at the week 17 winners and losers in the English Premier League.
Michael Owen might be the best center-forward available in the January transfer window. With 12 goals in his last 18 league starts, he is once again demonstrating his predatory skills. In three injury plagued season at Newcastle. Owen has made 47 appearances in all competitions, scoring 20 goals. The big question is whether Newcastle will let him go for a couple of million pounds in January, or whether they will let him leave for nothing in the summer.
Proven goal scorers are hard to come by, and Owen and Roman Pavlyuchenko are two reasons why Newcastle and Spurs will pull themselves out of the relegation battle, and why West Brom will get relegated. If Owen gets sold in January, then Newcastle will be in a relegation dog-fight all season.
Spurs and Newcastle both made managerial moves earlier this season, and why Redknapp gets all the praise for the job that he has done at Tottenham, Joe Kinnear has done a terrific job at Newcastle under difficult circumstances. With this weekend’s win at Portsmouth, Newcastle now sit above Spurs in the table, albeit it on goal difference.
John Terry is called Captain Fantastic by the British media, but it is Steven Gerrard, who is carrying his team on his back. With two goals this weekend, Gerrard’s scored four of Liverpool’s last six league goals.
With Torres injured, it is Steven Gerrard who is single-handily keeping Liverpool still in the title race,
Hull can no longer be considered the surprise team in Premier League. As we near the half-way point of the season we have to start and ask whether Hull are legitimate UEFA cup contenders? Will manager Phil Brown look to add some quality to his side this January and push on for a European spot, or will he look to stand pat, ensured of a another Premier League season next year?
With 12 points and 12 goals in 17 league games, Albion fans can start planning their trips to Coventry and Blackpool next season.
Chelsea and Liverpool
I find it hard to believe that either Chelsea or Liverpool can win the Premier League without a strong home record.
In their last three home games, Liverpool has dropped six points against Hull, West Ham and Fulham.
With only two wins in their last six league games, Stamford Bridge is no longer the fortress that is once was for Chelsea.
To put the home form of Liverpool and Chelsea in comparison, last year Manchester United won 17, drew 1 and lost 1 of its 19 home games.