Monday, 19 April 2010

What a Difference a Day Can Make

The dust has settled on another drama-filled weekend in the Barclays Premiership. The saying goes, 'what a difference a day can make' and over 24 hours the race for the title, as well as the fight for fourth place, once again underwent another twist. From Paul Scholes' 93rd minute header past Shay Given to Charles N'Zogbia's last minute screamer to beat Arsenal yesterday afternoon the top end of the table adopted a very different look. So important were the weekend's results I felt as though it needed to be mentioned.

In my poll last week it was clear, as would be expected, that Chelsea were favourites to take the title. More surprisingly, there were more people who thought that Arsenal had a better chance than Manchester United at taking the crown. Now, with Arsenal falling out of the race at the hands of Wigan and Manchester United brining Chelsea to within one point, the odds are looking very different.

For the second time in the league this season the red side of Manchester celebrated a winning goal in the dying moments of the game to re-establish their dominance over their Sky Blue city rivals. The game passed with few exciting instances and most would accept that the teams deserved to share the points but Alex Ferguson's side showed the resolve that has characterised his teams down the years and managed to bag all three points.

This win put the pressure back on Chelsea as they travelled to White Hart Lane hours later. The game always promised to be challenging and Tottenham did not disappoint. Spurs outplayed Chelsea for much of the game and through a Defoe penalty and a great solo effort from Gareth Bale sealed the win by half-time. Chelsea' frustration manifested itself in a rash tackle by skipper Terry that saw him get a red card as his poor run of form continued. In comparison, Michael Dawson has surely booked his place on Fabio Capello's plane to South Africa. He has been consistently impressive in his performances and they have made him currently, on form, England's best centre-back.

By the time Arsenal kicked-off against Wigan they knew that the title race had been blown back open and, until the 80th minute, they seemed to have earned a win through a professional, if not inspiring, performance. I have been questioning over the last couple of months their ability to avoid slip-ups in the business end of the season. In the last ten minutes of yesterday's game, like against Birmingham, they did just that. Whether it was through complacency or bad luck is irrelevant as Arsene Wenger's team are now six points adrift with three games remaining. With big players missing the Gunner's showed their vulnerability as a team and let a 2-0 lead slip in ten minutes. That will never win you titles. Can you see Manchester United or Chelsea doing that?

These results also had a big impact on the fight for the final Champions League spot as Tottenham overtook Manchester City. This means that the fourth position may very well be determined by Tottenham's trip to Eastlands on 5th May although Tottenham and City both face tough test away to Manchester United and Arsenal respectively this weekend. Meanwhile, the fact that Liverpool play tonight and yet are outside the Europa League spots, let alone the Champions League places reiterates what a state of turmoil the football club finds themselves in. Their dire situation is exacerbated by the news that Torres will miss the rest of the season as he undergoes knee surgery.

This past weekend was just another eventful chapter of twists and turns in this year's Premiership campaign. Predicting results is verging on impossible now and that makes for great entertainment with so much to play for over the final three weeks.

Thoughts, comments and opinions please...


  1. Good post. With regards to your latest vote i'd say including Barry (and maybe even Cech) is a little harsh. Barry has been solid. Also Aquilani has been injured for 5 months of this season so that's a bit mean too.

  2. Barry is perhaps a little harsh yes but I fully stand by Aquilani and Cech being on the poll. Cech has looked a shadow of his former self. As for Aquilani. He, injuries accounted for, has looked like he should be valued at £20 not £20 million. To say the Italian had been average this season would be to embellish his 15 performances for Liverpool so far this season!


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