Another week of thrilling Premier League action has passed us by and the battle for the European places at the top and survival at the bottom is getting tighter with every passing game. QPR and Aston Villa notched up important wins while Liverpool and Tottenham played out an enthralling match which had five goals in it and Steven Gerrard scored the winner from the spot. It was also a week where some screamers were scored, most notably by Townsend, Jenas and Newcastle midfielder Cabaye.
Manchester United and Chelsea were busy battling it out in their FA cup fixtures, while Arsenal and Manchester City also missed out from the action this weekend. Swansea are seemingly yet to get over their League cup victory as they lost to West Brom, despite Lukaku missing a penalty, whereas Newcastle United grabbed an important win to move up the table and into safety. Grant Holt missed a big opportunity to give Norwich a win against Southampton as Artur Boruc made a wonderful save from the spot in the dying seconds of the match.
The Great Escape Is On For QPR
All of a sudden things are looking bright for Harry Redknapp’s side. Two wins in their last two games, and more importantly against fellow relegation contenders means they are just four points behind Aston Villa. One must also note that they have the best goal difference among the bottom four clubs, which might prove to be crucial come the end of the season.
They have another big match coming up against Aston Villa next week, which will be a must win game for both of the team. Significantly QPR’s run of game is comparably easier than what the likes of Reading, Southampton and Aston Villa will be facing. Among the remaining nine games QPR will face only one club which is currently in the top-five of the table.
Meanwhile Loic Remy is turning out to be quite a good buy. The 26-year-old has settled quickly and has scored three goals in his five appearances. This is something QPR have been missing all season – consistent focal point of attack upfront – which is reflected in the stat of being the lowest goal scorer in the league. In fact one more goal from Remy in the next match will see him become the joint top scorer of his team in a matter of just five games!
Townsend Displays His worth
Andros Townsend, who joined QPR back in January on a loan spell, has started in four games and has provided man-of-the-match performances in two of them. In fact, even in the recent 2-0 loss to Manchester United, he was perhaps the brightest spot in Harry Redknapp’s team. Against Sunderland, he scored one of the goals of the season with a dipping volley and even grabbed an assist to top it off. He was a constant threat down the right hand side of QPR’s attack and he might keep Wright-Phillips on the bench for the remainder of the season.
Ironically, his best performance for QPR on the right wing, came on a day Tottenham were forced to play Dembele in that position against Liverpool. The Belgium international can do a lot of wonderful things with the football at his feet but playing as a winger is not one of them. Aaron Lennon’s absence meant AVB had to play Sigurdsson and Dembele on the wings. Sigurdsson, like the former Fulham midfielder, is not a natural winger and Spurs lacked width in their attack against Liverpool. In fact they had to depend mostly on the full-backs to provide them the width. Bale’s new central role means, even if Lennon returns there is always a place for another winger in Spurs’ setup, and traditionally natural wingers have been essential in the way they play their football. Holtby is another option, but even he prefers to move in field rather than staying wide and taking on the full-backs.
Having Townsend in the squad would have certainly solved the problem, moreover the English U-21 international has been hopping around clubs on loan for a long time, surely he deserves more opportunity at the club now. He has shown enough promise already. Will Spurs be left to regret their decision to let him go to QPR on loan? One thing for sure – Harry Redknapp isn’t complaining.
Lukaku Shows Chelsea What They Are Missing
Most of the Chelsea fans will tell you that the player they miss most this season is Didier Drogba; mostly because he is nearly irreplaceable and partially because Torres is yet to find his mojo.
Interestingly, Chelsea two top scorers – Lampard and Mata – are midfielders. While Ba has done well since his arrival, he will need to time to settle down as well. But perhaps the most significant stat points out that Romelu Lukaku has outscored each and every one of them during his loan spell at West Brom.
While tabloids and newspapers are busy speculating who will be the next big name striker to arrive at Stamford Bridge this summer, the 19-year-old has scored 13 goals in 26 appearances this season – half of those appearances were as substitutes.
Against Swansea, Lukaku once again proved his worth as shined upfront and should have scored a brace if not for his missed penalty. The Belgium international still has a long way to go before being compared to someone like Drogba, but he has shown incredible maturity this season along with his ever -eveloping strength, pace and finishing. Although one wonders how much opportunity he will get at Chelsea next season, he certainly deserves it.
Downing Is Finally Proving His Worth To Liverpool
The £20 million might still seem like overinflated price tag in the Englishman, but it was never really his to decide. He has been at the receiving end of criticism from every corner, but to his credit he hasn’t flunked from his responsibilities. So now, when he is finally turning things around he deserves to receive the appraisals.
Credit should also go to Brendan Rodgers, who hasn’t neglected him as a mistake of his predecessor. Instead, he has stuck with him, even if that meant playing him as a left-back. The winger is now back to his natural position and has scored two goals in his last two games, which includes the crucial equalizer against Tottenham yesterday, and is one of the most improved performers in the Premier League at the moment.