Eight rounds of games are behind us and the league table is starting to take shape. Chelsea have begun like a runaway train and the juggernaut gathered further pace this weekend at the cost of a former servant – Andre Villas Boas and his Tottenham side. Chelsea look ominous and although one might point to an easier run of fixtures hitherto, Roberto Di Matteo’s Blues have begun the supposedly tough cluster of games with panache, Manchester United are up next.
Champions Man City are anything but convincing this season but despite their not so impressive run of form the Citizen’s have stayed abreast with the leaders. Yet another comeback win for Mancini’s side, an increasing regularity, but a habit they shouldn’t rely on. Edin Dzeko once again proved to be the game changer and the match winner. Neighbors United on the other hand had a fairly routine win against a spirited Stoke side who gave the hosts a few initial hiccups.
Liverpool did what they had failed to do so far this season – win a league game at Anfield. Raheem Sterling has undoubtedly been a revelation and definitely the shining light of Brendon Rodger’s nascent regime. Big things are expected of the youngster at Merseyside as the teenage Englishman looks the part and very much the player that can bring back better days for the once mighty Liverpool.
Arsenal’s season has been rather topsy-turvy to say the least, praised in all quarters for their early season solid performances, the Gunners look to have fallen off the pace. Wenger’s men succumbed to strugglers Norwich at Carrow Road to hand the Canaries their first win of the new campaign.
In the big game of the weekend – The Tyne-Wear derby, Demba Ba’s own goal denied 10-man Newcastle a derby victory at Sunderland as a dramatic encounter on Wearside ended 1-1. Cheick Tiote was sent for a high foot on Steven Fletcher and that proved to be the defining moment of the game
In other games Fulham made most of their fantastic home form with a regulation win over Aston Villa while Swansea City too got back to winning ways. Everton meanwhile lost ground on the Premier League’s top three after being held to a 1-1 draw at last-place Queens Park Rangers.
Let’s look back at the talking points and the highlights of week eight of Barclays Premier League.
Rio Ferdinand & Sir Alex Ferguson Feud
When an irresistible force meets and immovable object, sparks are bound to fly – the cliché couldn’t be truer for the duo in question. Sir Alex has always been a staunch supporter of the kick it out campaign ever since its inception and nothing will change the gaffer’s mind it seems. However, Rio Ferdinand feels hard done by and has possibly lost faith in the whole idea after the Terry-gate. The United manager claimed before the game that Rio would wear the T-shirt in question pledging his support to the cause, United defender however didn’t oblige. Ferguson feels let down and in a sound bite after the Stoke game made his disapproval known.
One can’t really fault Ferdinand as the player had every right to turn down a cause he felt didn’t deserve his support, and Ferguson could have perhaps consulted his player before promising on his behalf.
Conversely, Rio might have backed out at the nth hour leaving Fergie with egg on his face. Nobody knows for sure, but one thing’s certain that the communication channel between the player and the manager broke down leading to a situation which could have easily been preempted.
Spurs Lack Strong Backups As Chelsea Seem To Have Found Their Best Eleven
Tottenham on their day are as good as any in the league and that is no more a secret. But what has let Spurs down over the years have been lack of strength in depth and once again the perennial bugbear came back to haunt the Lily Whites. In the absence of Dembele and Bale, Tottenham look devoid of any real ideas on the attacking front. Sigurdsson and Dempsey have been underwhelming so far while Gallas was outright appalling this weekend. Spurs claim to have Champions League aspirations but if that is indeed the case, William Gallas and even Kyle Walker need to get their act together.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have begun like a dream and the new signings have reinvigorated the squad. Roberto Di Matteo seldom gets the praise he deserves, but the Italian can’t possibly do any better both in the transfer market and the games so far. The Stamford Bridge club easily looks the most settled and in-sync squad with majority of the players in fine form. Importantly, Chelsea know their first and best eleven and irrespective of the opposition, the Blues play their football with authority and style. Next weekend could prove to be the acid test for this exciting Chelsea side, United are in town and a victory against the Red Devils could go a long way in laying down the marker for the rest of the season.
Gunners Strike Force Draw A Blank But It Was A Poor Team Performance
The immediate aftermath of the defeat will lead to critics pointing at the absence of a quality striker for Arsenal’s sorry defeat at Carrow Road. Yet, it wasn’t just the failings of his strike force that should concern the Gunner’s boss. Arsenal, as a team, failed to turn up; from back to front each individual could have and possibly should have done better. Arsenal fans might not agree but the goal keeping position is still a huge concern as Vito Mannone fails to inspire confidence. The ever reliable Vermaelen too was not his usual self, while Giroud has been a bit hit and miss all through the season.
But the most striking feature of the duel was indeed the great work done by Norwich and Hoolahan in particular in neutralizing the effect of Santi Carzola. The Spaniard had a quiet evening by his lofty standards and the Gunners seemed to run out of ideas as a consequence. Abou Diaby was surely missed but if the Gunner faithful are pinning hopes on the Frenchman’s fitness, well they are in for a rude awakening. Despite all the feel good factor amongst the fans so far this season, this is Arsenal’s 4th worst start to a Premier league campaign.
Liverpool Win At Anfield
It has finally happened. After dominating games, hogging possession and creating chances, Brendon Rodger’s Liverpool finally register a home win to the delight and massive relief of the Kop faithful. It wasn’t their best performance by any stretch of imagination, but nobody at Anfield could care. Liverpool football club needed that and Rodger’s definitely earned it after all the trials and tribulations. The new Liverpool manger must be commended for putting his faith on youth in these tough and grueling times. Raheem Sterling looks a star in the making already while Jonjo Shelvey looks like he could make the cut as well. One shouldn’t jinx it but Rodger’s revolution at Merseyside might finally be gathering pace.
Make no mistakes, Liverpool are still some way short in quality options upfront with the absence of 20 goal a season striker as Luis Suarez proved to be wasteful in front of goal yet again, but after the horrid start to the campaign they are after all a mere 3 points of Arsenal, some perspective needed perhaps for the over critical media.