Another thrilling weekend of Barclays Premier league action saw movement in the table with teams getting desperate for points in a bid to fulfill their respective season long ambitions. North London derby was the marquee duel and it proved engrossing and breathtaking to say the least. All though Gunners controlled the game for large portions, Spurs proved more clinical as Gareth Bale and Lennon proved too quick to handle for the Arsenal rearguard.
Man United and Liverpool were the biggest winners as both outclassed their opponents by the same four goals margin. Luis Suarez and Shinji Kagawa stole the show with elegant hat tricks for their respective sides. Everton too won their home game and kept their minute UCL qualification hopes alive, while Chelsea earned three valuable points at home against a resilient Baggies outfit.
Nevertheless, QPR’s win away to Southampton could yet prove to be the moment when Harry Redknapp’s side finally wakes up to the call of duty. Three massive points that ensured the Rangers still have a glimmer of hope while a reminder for Southampton to not celebrate too early.
Swans celebrated their league cup triumph by earning a hard fought victory against the Magpies at the Liberty Stadium. West Ham defeated Stoke at Britannia to ease relegation fears while Fulham and Sunderland played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light.
Big win for Spurs but history suggests that the Lily Whites hold on the Celebrations
Seven – the magic number for all the Spurs faithful as Tottenham now have a seven point lead over Arsenal in the race for the UCL places. Moreover the win ensured that Spurs are again ahead of Chelsea into third place and looking good riding on the brilliance of Gareth Bale. Yet, there remains a sense of pragmatism, fear even. Spurs have often in the past cracked under pressure while Arsenal under Wenger have always finished inside the top four. A look at the impending fixture list further reiterates the cause for realism. A trip to Anfield up next on the agenda, Spurs have yet to play Chelsea at the Bridge and games against City and Everton are also on the menu somewhere down the line. Furthermore the glamour tie against Inter in the Europa league could further add to the squad fatigue. All said and done, Spurs are flying high at the moment but nothing’s over till the proverbial fat lady sings.
Philippe Coutinho & Danniel Sturridge – January Jackpot for Liverpool?
The once mighty Reds have fallen behind in recent times and player signings have a lot to do with that one suspects. However, this January, Liverpool have strengthened the weakest area of their squad and for once seems to have hit the ‘Bulls Eye’. Sturridge often labeled as selfish and not good enough to lead the line at the Bridge has looked the part at Anfield. Coutinho on the other hand had stagnated at Inter and the Reds landed the attacking midfielder by shelling out £8.5m and although it’s too early to deem any player a success or failure in such a short span of time, the Brazilian has impressed one and all. Coutinho always seems to have the time on the ball and the knack of making the right pass, Liverpool fans have reasons to be optimistic about their new Samba boy.
Shinji Kagawa gives Fergie the problem of plenty
It was about time that the Japanese superstar joined the party and Kagawa now has for sure. A stunning hat trick showcased oodles of class and composure as the diminutive playmaker put Norwich through the sword. Now, Fergie has a major headache to contend with, Rooney and RVP are sure shot starters for the big occasions while Danny Welbeck runs the channels brilliantly and adds balance to the side; Hernandez has the knack of scoring the important goals to his credit. Kagawa has flourished in the hole behind the target man, a position Rooney has made his own. Now, Sir Alex must pick from the combination of his match winners and that surely is a herculean task.
QPR ‘can’ survive
Harry Redkanpp had set a target of 20 points from 12 games and with the win at Southampton the team has begun well towards a possible Houdini act. The next two games represent two imminently winnable fixtures: Sunderland at Loftus Road, followed by Aston Villa at Villa Park. Redknapp has done it in the past most notably with Portsmouth and his current QPR squad is arguably more talented. Win the next two and surely the Rangers would be harboring hopes of a last gap survival act.
Michael Laudrup’s golden touch
Swansea have all but achieved all their season end ambitions and its only March. Yes, the Swans have the League Cup in the bag and a place in Europe guaranteed and this weekend Laudrup’s side won yet again to cross that all important 40 point barrier although that was never in doubt. Laudrup is possibly the most sought after manager in European football now and a number of big names will come in for Dane once the season concludes.