A look at the winners and losers after a surprising weekend of action in the English Premier League.
There was some laughter when Manchester City stole Robinho from under Chelsea’s noses in August. Some questioned his ability to play in the more physical Premier League, but with 8 goals in 11 league games, Robinho is proven to be a bargain even at £32.5m.
Robinho already belongs next to the best foreign players in the Premiership like Ronaldo and Torres. At this rate, Robinho is the early leader in the player of the year race.
With four points in two games against Arsenal and Manchester United with no goals conceded, Aston Villa showed why they should be considered as Champions League contenders.
Winning on the road in the Premier League is so difficult that home form can often be the difference between staying in the Premier League for another season or getting relegated. With four consecutive home wins in the league, Stoke is laying the groundwork to avoid relegation.
Another game, another win for Spurs. They now sit just eight points behind their North London rivals Arsenal. It was unimaginable six weeks ago that Spurs could ever catch Arsenal in the league. Now the question is not will it happen, but when will it happen.
I am not a Gary Megson fan, but with three wins in their last four league matches he has lifted them off the bottom of the table to a mid-table place.
Arsenal’s season is in a free-fall admit a leadership vacuum in the dressing room. The William Gallas explosion last week was the latest in a series of comments by the former Arsenal captain.
Arsenal’s championship dreams are in tatters and they will be ended when they play Chelsea this weekend. Before then Arsenal has to play Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League. A loss at home to Kiev at the Emirates combined with a Porto win could seriously damage Arsenal’s Champions League ambitions. Arsene Wenger is looking at a situation where Arsenal is out of the league and Champions League by December 10th. That Real Madrid opening in the summer will start to look mighty tempting to Wenger.
Chelsea has now won a record-breaking ten consecutive league games away from home. A fantastic record. During this same period they have dropped points in six of their last ten league games at Stamford Bridge.
When playing away from home, Chelsea can soak up pressure and then kill teams on the counter-attack. At home Chelsea must force the game, and they seem to be missing that little bit of magic to unlock teams like Newcastle who line up 10 goals in the penalty box.
Chelsea’s away form might be enough to win it the Premier League this year, but their inability to unlock defenses could cause them trouble in the Champions League when they play against the better teams in Europe.
United lost a great chance to gain ground on leaders Chelsea and Liverpool on Saturday. Playing in the late game, they knew they could cut their deficit on the leaders to six points with a game in hand. Instead all they could manage was a scoreless draw at Villa.
United have yet to replicate the style and performance of last season. Tevez seems like a player concerned about his future, while Rooney and Ronaldo are just not performing at the level we expect to see from them. Sir Alex has not figured out how to play these three together with Berbatov and the fluidity of United’s play last season is gone.