Arsenal fail the Etihad test
Despite Arsenal’s their impressive form this season journalists, pundits and fans alike have been questioning their ability to win the Premier League title. This weekend’s game away at the Etihad was a chance for the Gunners to stake their claim and prove the doubters wrong.
It was never going to be an easy task though, Manchester City have won all of their 8 games at home before this weekend, notably beating Man United 4-1 and putting six past Spurs.
When full time whistle came on Saturday afternoon City’s 100% home record lived on and they scored six against the league leaders, 6-3 the final score.
It was a bad day at the office for Arsenal. As well as losing, star center back Laurent Koscielny picked up an injury that could keep him out “for a while” according to Arsene Wenger, Jack Wilshere could face action from the FA after making a gesture to fans and Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil were filmed arguing after the full time whistle.
That result means that City have an extraordinary 35 goals in just 9 games at home this season, averaging 3.8 goals a game.
Sergio Aguero, who scored the first goal of the game, is in fine form. He now has 19 goals in all competitions and 13 in the Premier League, one more than his total goals in the league last year.
Things don’t get much easier for Arsenal, they will have to dust themselves off and regroup before they host Chelsea on Monday 23rd of December.
Berba doesn’t miss
Given his unquestionable talent and extremely relaxed, often called lazy, style of play it would make sense that Dimitar Berbatov would be effective from the penalty spot.
Since joining Tottenham in 2006 Berbatov is yet to miss a penalty in the Premier League. The 32 year old made it nine goals from nine spot kicks this weekend when he scored from 12 yards for Fulham in their defeat away to Everton.
Another one bites the dust
This weekend claimed another managerial casualty, this time Steve Clarke was relieved of his duties at West Brom. The decision followed a fourth straight league defeat for the Baggies, losing 1-0 away at Cardiff.
Things have been difficult for Clarke this calendar year. During 2013 they have played 34 games and only racked up 31 points.
Other managers to lose their jobs this season include Paolo Di Canio, who was fired from Sunderland in September, Ian Holloway, who left Crystal Palace a month later, and Martin Jol who left his position at Fulham two weeks ago.*
*Since publication Andre Villas Boas can be added to this list since losing his job at Tottenham on Monday morning.
Suarez sinks sorry Spurs
The Tottenham faithful are not happy and this weekends 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool at White Hart Lane has heaped further pressure of Andre Villas Boas. The result follows other dismal displays by Spurs’ already this season including their trip to the Etihad, where they lost 6-0, and a 3-0 loss at home to West Ham.
Luis Suarez scored twice and Paulinho was sent off for the home side as Spurs slipped to their fifth defeat already in the league this season. Tottenham have frustrated their fans this season with a shortage of goals and unimpressive results.
This result, against a side with similar ambitions in the league this season, has left serious questions being asked by the fans about their managers future, they expected better after the club spent over £100m in this summers transfer window.*
Liverpool, who were missing Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge through injury, impressed at the Lane and outlined their potential as challengers in the title race while their Uruguayan forward reinforced his place as the Premier League’s top scorer, now with 17 goals.
*Since publication of this article Andre Villas Boas has left Tottenham Hotspur by mutual consent.
United bounce back
It’s been a tough few weeks for Manchester United but this weekend they avoided a third consecutive defeat in the league by convincingly beating Aston Villa 3-0.
With Robin Van Persie sidelined through injury Danny Welbeck scored twice and Tom Cleverley scored the third. The game also saw a welcome return from injury for Darren Fletcher, playing for the first time since Boxing day last year.
Fletcher’s return could prove to be a crucial boost for the defending Champions as the Premier League prepares for the busy Christmas period.