Football. Soccer. Whatever your kicks, NewsWhistle sums up the best of the English Premier League, keeping you up-to-date with a fortnightly dose of antics and anecdotes, both on and off the pitch.
SUMMARY OF WEEKS 9 & 10 (October 26th – November 3rd):
Ninth week results:
- Manchester United 3-2 Stoke
- Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Liverpool 4-1 West Bromwich Albion
- Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City
Tenth week results:
- Newcastle 2-0 Chelsea
- Manchester City 7-0 Norwich
- Fulham 1-3 Manchester United
- Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool
– The two favorites, Chelsea and Manchester City provided the most entertaining game of the season so far. An end to end game that boasted some of the old Torres and some of the new, an exceptional goal by Aguero, a horrible mistake from Joe Hart and a wild celebration from Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Chelsea replaced Manchester City as favorites to win the League and Joe Hart was promptly dropped from City’s first eleven. All in all however, we did not learn a great deal – one of these teams will probably win the League, Manchester City have problems in defense, and both Manchester City and Chelsea are stronger at home than they are away.
– That said, the following week saw the favorites switch back again as Chelsea lost 2-0 and Manchester City won 7-0. Chelsea’s record at St James’s Park is very weak under Mourinho and they looked underwhelming in a match that, had they won, would have put them at the top of the Premiership. Mourinho was visibly disappointed after the game and indicated that although they are improving, they are still struggling mentally. Chelsea fans will have confidence in their manager to instill the belief required to win the title, but they won’t want to witness too many more matches like this one.
– On the other hand, a backlash against the Premiership’s bottom side was always a possibility at the City of Manchester Stadium. Norwich were on the back foot from the first minute and City were able to dominate proceedings through arguably the two best players in the league – Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero – who were both exceptional. Indeed, with a little more consistency away from home, it is very difficult to see how any team will finish above City at the end of the season.
– Are Arsenal the real deal? Answer: probably not. Although they are sitting five points clear at the top, they have had the easiest run of fixtures of any of the top sides – with their most difficult test coming against Liverpool last weekend. It proved to be a fairly routine 2-0 victory and a good showcase for the qualities of their attacking midfield – notably Ozil, Cazorla, and Ramsay – but their defense was barely tested and Olivier Giroud is no Thierry Henry.
– Manchester United sit in eighth position and the last two weeks saw them pick up maximum points in the League. This will have eased a certain amount of pressure on David Moyes and his celebrations at the end of the Stoke game (which they won 3-2) suggested that he was clearly feeling it. Alex Ferguson goes on record regularly to back the new manager and while this does go some way to easing tension among United supporters, there is still a sense that Moyes has things to prove.
– Liverpool, who have flattered to deceive in previous seasons, have shown indications that there is no reason to see this trend discontinue. If they want to challenge for the title (and for a Champions League spot) they need some better players and bigger performances. It’s a hard pill to swallow for Liverpool fans and they sit in third place, but for all the talk of the partnership between Suarez and Sturridge, the fact is that any player would look better with Suarez playing alongside them and Sturridge, by himself, would struggle to get into any other side in the top six.
– Alex Ferguson’s biography was released last week with some fascinating insights into his relationships with various personalities in his career. In case you missed it, he never liked the feel of Owen Hargreaves, Rafa Benitez’s mistake was to make things personal, and Mark Bosnich ate like a horse.
– The biggest League game in the next two weeks sees Arsenal playing Manchester United at Old Trafford on November 10th. Chelsea play West Brom, Liverpool play Fulham, and Manchester City play Tottenham.
– Champions League ties are played on 5th and 6th November with Real Sociedad taking on Manchester United, Chelsea play Schalke, Manchester City play CSK Moscow and Arsenal play Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
Charlie Serocold is a fiction, sports and travel writer. Originally from London, he now calls New York home. Charlie can be reached at Charlie@NewsWhistle.com.