Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend.

1) Chelsea are the best team in Europe right now

Inter Milan, conquerors of Tottenham last week, drew yet another game in Serie A on Sunday (a 1-1 with Sampdoria.) Barcelona laboured to a 2-1 win over 10-man Zaragoza. Last year's Champions League semi-finalists Lyon drew with bottom-of-the-table Arles. And Bayern Munich failed to find the net again this season, putting them in 11th place in the Bundesliga, and leaving with their worst start to a league campaign ever.

Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea on the other hand steamrollered yet another team into submission, beating a resilient Wolves side 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Even without their most influential player (Frank Lampard) and a misfiring Didier Drogba, the Blues still managed to make their spirited opponents look distinctly average. Wolves created several early chances, with Kevin Doyle and David Edwards going close. But two goals from Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou gave Chelsea the victory. That win on Saturday also means that the last person to score at Stamford Bridge was John Carew for Aston Villa, back in March, meaning Chelsea have now scored a record 38 goals without reply in the league.

2) Andy Carroll should beat up his girlfriend more often......allegedly!

A tumultuous week for Andy Carroll ended in fairytale fashion, with the lanky Geordie scoring the winner in Newcastle's 2-1 win over West Ham.

Having been in court earlier this week for allegedly attacking his ex-girlfriend, Andy Carroll was then granted bail on the condition that he lives with club captain Kevin Nolan until January. Further humiliation was then bestowed to the braided idiot on Wednesday afternoon when an arsonist attacked a Range Rover belonging to Mr Carroll, as well as covering Kevin Nolan's garage with graffiti. And as if the man's week could not get any worse, he was also charged on Friday with common assault and ordered to pay £1,000 in fines and £2,500 to his victim who, incidentally, wasn't his ex-girlfriend this time.

But, a week of burning cars and court appearances seem to have been just what the England U-21 international needed, as he put on arguably his best performance of the season, setting up his new housemate for the first goal, and then scoring the winner himself in the second half. 

3) Gary Neville really should retire

Whether you love him or hate him, getting to 600 professional appearances for Manchester United is a huge achievement. It now puts Gary Neville in 5th position in the club's all-time record for appearance holders, just behind Paul Scholes, Bill Foulkes, Bobby Charlton and Ryan Giggs. He was United's first choice right-back for well over a decade, and has been given 85 England caps as a result. He was Mr Consistency for club and country, with a remarkable positioning sense and a fantastic crossing ability (United vs Inter Milan 1999 Champions League Quarter-final springs to mind.) And he has an honorary degree from University of Bolton. But a series of bad knee and groin injuries over the past  four seasons have seen the mustachioed scouse-hater go from England's greatest full-back to just outrageously abysmal. Sunday's game against Stoke was the tip of the iceberg. Out of pace and  poorly positioned, even Matthew Etherington was giving him a tough-time. So please Gary, for the sake of your reputation, you've made it to 600, just go quietly.

4) Man City actually look like a team who can challenge for the title

Yes. Yes. I know they lost on Sunday to Arsenal in what really could have been a 5-0 demolition, but Man City do have a team-spirit and commitment to the cause which could see them challenge come May.

It's really quite easy, with enough money, to produce a team which looks good on paper. Something which Man City have done this year with the signings of David Silva, Yaya Toure and James Milner. Add to that the previous year's lavish signings and you have a squad which really should be challenging for silverware on every front. Only it's not quite that easy. Over the years, many chairmen have come and gone, promising the world and then leaving a couple of months down the line with their tale between their legs.

At Blackburn the Premier league-winning team which Jack Walker bought in the mid-nineties was notable for its team spirit above all. Similarly, Chelsea's success of the early Abramovich years was down to the closeness within the camp and siege mentality which Jose Mourinho brought.  It seems that new-built teams need a player/leader whom the rest of the squad can rally around. With Blackburn it was Colin Hendry, Chelsea have John Terry. For City this player seems to be Carlos Tevez, a leader from the front. They will be encouraged by their performance with 10 men, and will no doubt be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.

5) All twenty teams are better than Feyenoord

No matter how dire West Ham fans think their current predicament is, nothing can compare to what Feyenoord fans must have thought this weekend.

As one of Holland's 'big three', they have enjoyed success almost beyond parallel in their home country. They are the only side never to have been relegated from the Eredivisie (the Dutch top-flight) and also won the European Cup back in 1970. They have produced players like Ruud Gullit and Robin van Persie. But as of yesterday, Feyenoord Rotterdam will go down in history as having suffered the worst defeat in any major Euroopean league ever. Losing away to PSV Eindhoven 10-0.


No comments:

Post a Comment