It was another weekend of ups and downs for EPL fans, as Chelsea were stopped by Newcastle; Arsenal couldn’t do it on a cold night at Stoke and Liverpool and Spurs were held at home. Here are a few talking points from the weekend.
Jose Mourinho blames cows for loss, remains winless at St. James Park
The invincibles are now vincibles. Boy, were Arsenal fans pleased when Alan Pardew’s genius men stopped Chelsea’s unbeaten run. The Tynesiders put on an impressive performance and ensured that St. James’ Park remained a fortress, at least against Mourinho.
All good things must come to an end they say, and Chelsea’s 23-game unbeaten run was brought to an unexpected halt by Pardew’s side. It looked like all things were on Chelsea’s side. Pardew’s second-choice goalkeeper, Rob Elliot, was forced off at half time and debutant Jak Alnwick was between the sticks for the second half. There was also the 81st-minute dismissal of Steven Taylor, who was magnificent all evening. And Mourinho’s men gave it their all. They were attacking throughout the game and were desperate to get something positive from the game, but Papiss Cisse’s twin strikes were enough to sink the Blues.
Later on, the frustrated Mourinho blamed Newcastle’s time wasting tactics (when answering questions of whether he would employ the same tactics to defend a title) and even said that a cow might as well be placed on the football pitch.
“You may as well put a cow in the middle of the pitch, walking,” said Mourinho
“If you do that, then you can stop the game, because there is a cow. You can’t do just anything in football. Bring the bus, yes, but the game needs a ball. Do what you can to win, but don’t resort to anything.”
(This is the same Mourinho whose side famously wasted time at Anfield last season, and successfully halted Liverpool’s title-run)
Sour grapes, eh?
Manchester City close the gap, but lose Aguero in the process
A tearful Sergio Aguero is a sight nobody, bar a few sadists, want to see. The Citizens’ win against Everton and Chelsea’s loss meant that the reigning champions closed the gap at the top of the table and are now just three points behind the Blues. But Sergio Aguero, who has scored 19 goals this season, suffered from yet another injury and was in tears as he limped off the pitch. This means that the Sky Blues are handicapped as they face Roma in the crucial Champions League game that decides their fate in the European competition. Edin Dzeko is not completely match-fit following a calf injury and Steven Jovetic is also a doubt due to a hamstring problem. Pellegrini must be wishing Negredo–currently on loan at Valencia–or a proven goalscorer was available for the game. Young José Ángel Pozo will start the game in the absence of the injured senior players.
Wenger In or Wenger Out?
Arsenal were losing to Stoke 3-0 at half-time. Yeah, you read that right. And if you watched the match, the bite in the Arsenal team was clearly lacking. The second half helped them lose the game in a respectable fashion and the eventual scoreline read 3-2. However, it was a hapless performance from the Gunners, and their disappointing season continues. A lot of questions have arisen regarding the future of Arsene Wenger, The Frenchman has led the Gunners to several accolades and his success in the Premier League and stature in terms of being a world-class manager is undisputed. However, recent games and the overall disappointing performances by the North London club mean that supporters are getting more and more anxious and restless. Wenger in or Wenger out? Either decision is debatable.
Liverpool can’t score for nuts
Last season, the Reds were scoring for fun. Of course, much was down to the skills of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, but goals were coming from all over the park. Hell, Martin Skrtel had seven goals to his name! This season is a different story. The Reds were engaged in a goalless draw against Sunderland on the weekend, and while its fair to say that the Black Cats played admirably and were always looking for a draw, Liverpool didn’t turn up for most of the match. The disappointing thing is that the lack of creativity, goals and attacking prowess means that the Reds are fully dependent on 34 year old Steven Gerrard, who is still Liverpool’s most important player, and that 19 year old Raheem Sterling can’t be rested because he remains Liverpool’s main source of creativity. On the plus point, Liverpool took seven points out of nine in the last week and have look better defensively with the inclusion of Lucas and Kolo Toure.
Carroll, Carroll! Costa Who?
West Ham have been a delightful team to watch so far. Andy Carroll scored a brace against Swansea and helped the Hammers claim three important points and ensure their fantastic run in the Premier League continues. Sam Allardyce’s side are in the top 4 at the moment and their performances have shown that they have every right to be there. Alex Song dictated proceedings from the centre of the pitch and hardly misplaced a pass. Some of his passes were too clever for the Swans and it was a performance to remember for the former Arsenal and Barcelona man. Liverpool and Arsenal must surely be cursing their luck for not getting the Cameroon international over the summer. All of Allardyce’s men look confident and positive, and their games are reeking of all the positive attributes there can be in football. Hammers fans are singing, jokingly, ‘We’re Going To Win The League’ but even if they’re being serious, you have no right to laugh at them.
Manchester United win fifth straight game
Manchester United beat Southampton 2-1 in Monday’s late game. The win was the fifth straight one for the Red Devils. United are looking more and more threatening as the games progress, and now would be very confident of their chances against weak Liverpool, who visit them this weekend. United’s recent wins have come with them not dominating games, but because of taking chances. Their performances are not convincing, but with five wins on the trot, United fans will really not complain. Besides, results bring performances, and we might not be far from seeing those from van Gaal’s men. Van Persie answered his critics and scored a brace to help his side crush Saints 2-1 at home. Manchester United now sit in the third place with 28 points. The home side tried everything and should have had the lead, but didn’t capitalize on their chances. They had 15 shots, to United’s 3.
Also, David de Gea. You might have heard of him. He doesn’t let things go very easily by him.