At look at the winners and losers of another weekend of Premier League action.
Chelsea is the best team in Europe at the moment. That doesn’t mean that they will win the Champions League or the Premier League, it simply means that they are playing better than anyone in Europe at the moment.
Chelsea has picked up nine victories from their opening 11 games, which projects out to 93 points over the course of the season. If achieved, it would be Chelski’s highest total in five years.
Next up for the Blues is Manchester United on Sunday. A win here will mean that the title is Chelsea’s to lose.
While a lot of the media attention gets focused on the games between the Big Four, it is usually the records against the bottom half of the table that determines who wins the league.
So it is not surprising to find that the defending champions have not dropped a point against a bottom-half team in over a year (since the opening weekend of last season when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle United).
United’s last loss to a bottom-half team occurred almost two years ago at the Reebok in November 2007 and their last home defeat to a team that finished the season in eleventh or lower was the final-weekend loss to West Ham in May 2007.
Losing on Sunday to Chelsea will put the Blues in the driver’s seat, but if Man United can continue their record against teams in the bottom half of the season then you cannot discount their title challenge.
It was a typical north London derby (Arsenal beat Spurs), and the star of the show was Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas. His goal, eleven seconds after Robin van Persie’s sealed the game, and will be a candidate for goal of the season. If Arsenal is to challenge for the title this season, they will need this sort of dominating performance every week from Fabregas.
Continues to confound the critics with 13 league goals since Boxing Day. Can Capello possibly leave him out of the England squad against Brazil?
I am slowly coming around to the job that Paul Hart is doing at Portsmouth. The off-field distractions are enough to drive anyone crazy, but he has somehow managed to keep his team focused on the task at hand; avoiding relegation.
Pompey has played better this season than their record suggests, but they are now 3 points from safety and into the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup. All in all, not a bad week if you are a Pompey fan.
Given, single-handily earned a share of the points for Manchester City against Birmingham this weekend. After the game, Birmingham manager Alex McLeish said that a good goalkeeper is worth 10 points a season. Considering how close the title race is this year, Given might be the difference between a Europa League spot and a Champions League place next season.
It’s not often that a team gets drubbed 4-0 and makes it into the winner’s column, but Wigan did for the way they quickly responded to the jail sentence for Marlon King but in essence sacking him.
Where to start? All the job of last weekend’s win over Manchester United has vanished as Liverpool reverted back to form. They have now lost six of their last seven games and if they lose to Lyon on Wednesday night, Liverpool’s season is basically over.
Champions League Contenders
Between them, Aston Villa, Man City, Tottenham and Liverpool have won just four of their last 20 games. Does anyone want that fourth Champions League spot?
Three wins this year and now the news that his Chairman is gone. With his club in the bottom three, Hull’s board needs to act quickly and sack Brown is they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation this season and the hug financial impact that would have on the club.
They have lost ten successive away games by a combined score of 32-4. That is a streak that gets you relegated.
It has been a horrific start to the season for Everton, who cannot stay healthy. What has to worry Everton fans is that they still have to travel to any of the sides currently above tenth in the league table. That kind of schedule makes qualifying for Europe next year even more challenging.