Liverpool and Chelsea
Both have six points after two weeks and with Arsenal losing and Manchester United’s game against Fulham postponed, they have a chance to be at least 3 and 5 points ahead of their biggest rivals.
Rafael Benitez said after the Middlesbrough victory that they would have drawn this game last year. Both Chelsea and Liverpool looked improved over last year’s squads and both Arsenal and Manchester United have a tough battle on their hands in they are to overtake these two.
Hull City and Stoke
Most analysts said that Hull, Stoke and West Brom were the weakest trio ever to get promoted to the Premier League. Many expected Hull to challenge Derby’s point total of last year.
Last season it was possible to beat the drop with 36 points. With 4 points Hull already possess 11% of the points required to stay up after playing 5% of their fixtures.
Even at 75% fitness Michael Owen is the best English goal scorer. In a week that saw England struggle to score goals against the Czech Republic, it must be reassuring to Newcastle and England fans to see Michael Owen back amongst the goals.
It was a horrible weekend for the north of London. Arsenal’s performance against Fulham was horrible. Playing without the injured Cesc Fabregas, the summer loss of Mathieu Flamini was magnified. Their replacements Denilson and Eboue reminded me of a couple of years ago when Man United were forced to start O’Shea and Fletcher.
Without Fabregas, Arsenal is an average team. Wenger has said that he will sign a center midfield player in the next week and after Saturday’s performance he might want to make that two.
Their great north London rivals have had an absolutely horrible start to the season. Two losses and an upcoming trip to Stamford Bridge means that Tottenham could well be bottom of the Premier League at the International break.
The Dimitar Berbatov situation has become intolerable and he has to be sold. The problem is that Marcus Bent has woken up from his preseason goal scoring form and realized who he is. I don’t know where Spurs are going to get the 30+ goals from that Keane and Berbatov got last season. For a team that two years ago finished fifth, the fall of Spurs has been quite dramatic. Unless they get two goal scorers signed in the next week it is going to be a very difficulty season for Spurs fans.
This was a horrible loss at Stoke for a Villa side that is supposed to be challenging for a European spot. Home wins will only get Villa so far. Villa has only managed four wins – against Derby, Bolton, Birmingham and Man City – in their last thirteen league outings.