A look at the winners and losers in week 9 of the English Premier League.
Liverpool have not been particularly entertaining this year, but Liverpool fans will not care as long as they just keep winning. They have already beaten Manchester United and Chelsea this season and for the first time in years they look like real title contenders.
One reason for Liverpool’s domestic form this year is the change in philosophy by Benitez. Last year Rafa took off Stevie G and Torres against Wigan to save them for an upcoming Champions League game. This time he took Gerard off against Athletic Madrid to save him for the Chelsea game. That change in priority by Benitez, could be the difference between finishing first and finishing third.
Spurs won, not because they beat Bolton, but because they finally replaced Ramos and Comolli. The Spurts season has been in a freefall and was in serious danger of dragging the team into the Championship. By bringing in Harry Redknapp, Spurs players and fans finally have hope that they can avoid relegation.
Redknapp is not the long-term solution for Spurs. He lack of tactical awareness was on full display in Portsmouth UEFA Cup tie last week. But he is a firefighter and a galvanizer who will get this players motivated and playing hard every week.
The changes at Spurs means that they will probably climb out of the relegation zone by Christmas, leaving one less team for Newcastle to battle relegation against. The way the season is unfolding it looks like three teams from this group will go down: Newcastle, Stoke, Bolton, West Brom and Fulham. The longer the ownership turmoil continues to engulf Newcastle, the harder it will be for any new owner to turn the team around. If Newcastle are still in the bottom three at Christmas, then it will be extremely difficult for them to attract new players in the transfer window.
A bad draw art Everton that highlighted the continued immaturity of Wayne Rooney and the lack of form of Cristiano Ronaldo. Who Fergie does not rest/drop Ronaldo and play Tevez is beyond me. United are 8 points behind Liverpool (albeit with a game in hand), but more worrying they are also behind Chelsea and Arsenal in the table.