Five talking points from the Premier League game week 13
City and Chelsea continue to impress at home, but will that be enough to win the League?
Going into this weekend, there was a lot of pressure on both Chelsea and Manchester City to keep up their impressive home form, which has kept them in touching distance of the top. And both of them, managed to come away with convincing wins over Southampton and Swansea City respectively to inch closer to Arsenal at the top. Victory at Stamford Bridge meant that Mourinho incredible unbeaten home record was still intact, whilst City on the other hand, continued their perfect home record with yet another convincing performance.
Whilst both these sides have been brilliant at home, it masks their rather shaky away performance. Neither club has looked particularly impressive on the road and City have just won once on the road all season and have already lost four games. Chelsea aren’t much better though, having won just twice, but the fact is that both teams have to pick up their away form quickly, if they are to have any chance of winning the League.
A case has to be made for Arsenal’s defense
So far this season, all the talk has been about Arsenal’s magnificent attack, ever since the arrival of Mesut Ozil. Add to that, the eye-catching form of Aaron Ramsey, it would be easy to overlook their defense- which has been their Achilles heel in the past. So far this season, they have been outstanding at the back and the game against Cardiff was exactly the type of the game, they would have lost in the past, thanks to a goal from a set-piece. But, instead, the clean sheet was their sixth in the last eight matches in all competitions and they have conceded only 10 goals in the League so far.
And in Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal finally have a goalkeeper who is cool, calm and confident and it needed a fine save from the Polish shot-stopper to deny Frazier Campbell on Saturday when Arsenal were leading 1-0. With a settled back four in front of him the entire defense is functioning like a well-oiled machine and are playing with a lot of confidence. As they say, goals win you games, but defense wins you championships, and so far at least, Arsenal look like they have a championship winning defense.
Manchester United’s midfield failings, come to the forefront yet again
Going into the game against Spurs on Sunday, David Moyes knew fully well that a combination of Cleverley and Jones is really going to strike fear in the hearts of the opposition. But such is Moyes’s predicament now, with Carrick out injured, Giggs growing older and Fellaini still trying to settle in, that he had to go with the two young Englishman in the center of the park. And although their industry was worth mentioning, their creativity was not small, so much as non-existent.
Almost all of United’s attacks came down the wings and anything that did come down the middle, was thanks to Kagawa and Rooney dropping deep rather than the central duo creating anything noteworthy. Moyes will be praying for a speedy recovery for Carrick, as the games come thick and fast and will be hoping that until then, his forwards and wingers can create chances for themselves.
Newcastle and Everton are on the right track, in their quest for Europe
Victory over West Brom was Newcastle United’s fourth straight win in the League, their best ever run of form, since they won six straight to get into Europe a couple of years ago. And if they keep up, the way they are playing at the moment, they might well be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. All of this, is without their key creator Ben Arfa, who has been sacrificed for the good of the team and so far at least, that is working well for Pardew.
Everton on the other hand, finally got a win under their belt, after three successive draws. Under Roberto Martinez, this season, Everton have shown a mixture of resilience, that was a hall mark of Moyes’ side and razzmatazz that is slowly beginning to show in their play. Players are expressing themselves a lot better and in Lukaku, they have the player who gets on the end of their intricate passing moves and puts the ball in the back of the net. Although they have lost just once this season, there have been too many draws for Martinez’s liking and if they can convert a few of them into wins, they might very well end the season qualifying for Europe.
Martin Jol gets the sack, but who is going to follow him?
After a far from impressive 3-0 drubbing at the hands of fellow strugglers West Ham United, the Fulham owner Shahid Khan had finally had enough and put Martin Jol out of his misery. Whilst November is traditionally a bad time for managers, Jol managed to survive that, but not much longer. The side looked disjointed, with too many individuals and no real sense of togetherness in the team and are currently three points off safety.
Rene Meulensteen who was appointed initially as a head coach, now takes over as manager, which many thought, would happen before too long. And with Jol finally getting the sack, now the big question is, who might follow suit? Will it be AVB, Big Sam or Malky Mackay, whoever it is, the sack race is well and truly on.Published 02 Dec 2013, 16:39 IST