Another three points each for promoted sides Swansea (2-1 away to West Brom) and Norwich (2-0 at home to Bolton). We have seen collapses before but with more than a third of the season still to go both sides only need another two or three wins to ensure Premier League football next season.
Realistically comfortable mid-table positions should not be out of the question.
Norwich dealt with Bolton quite handily as they carried more of a threat up front.
Swansea’s league position has had much to do with their home record which has seen them lose once this season. A 2-1 win at West Brom was only their second away from home but it might be an indication of better things to come.
The outlook is not so bright for last Championship Champions QPR. Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora were signed to score goals and they paid down some of that investment with a goal each on their debuts. What must be causing concern to Mark Hughes is that his side have now taken the lead in their last two games but they have failed to win either.
The loss on Saturday to relegation rivals Wolves must be particularly galling and potentially costly even though Hughes can point to the red card issued to Cisse as game-defining moment.
Two sides, polar opposite in terms of momentum, met at the Britannia and Sunderland continued their upward momentum while Stoke’s slide continues.The ultimate streak-side Stoke get themselves into good positions only to see the trap-door open
Then they seem to refocus and up the ladder they climb.
Five wins in their last six league matches has Sunderland up to eighth and a win at home against Arsenal next Saturday could have the Black Cats within four points of the Gunners.
There is, of course, the chance of consecutive meetings with Arsenal should Sunderland beat Boro’ in their FA Cup replay.
When Blackburn equalized through a stunning Morten Gamst Pedersen free kick even the empty seats looked worried at Emirates.
However, it only served to spark Arsenal and a straight red card for Blackburn’s Gael Givet made it even easier.
Many years from now when this Arsenal season is placed in a broader context the summation might go something like this.“2011/12 was largely disappointing with the trophy drought continuing and some dreadful early season performances. For the first time under Arsene Wenger the club finished outside of the top four and failed to qualify for the Champions League. However, it is also remembered for the goal-scoring exploits of Robin Van Persie and the emergence of a player who was to become a corner stone of the team in years to come – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.”
Fulham pretty much rolled over and showed Manchester City their tummy at Etihad Stadium on Saturday. City were never in trouble after a very soft penalty awarded after Adam Johnson threw himself against Chris Baird’s leg. There was another attempt to gain a penalty when Johnson went down again – this time with no contact at all.
Referees around the Premier League will have taken note.
When Ya Ya Toure returns from the African Cup of Nations a rest and relaxation period might be in order. Manager Roberto Mancini might be advised to offer David Silva the same chance – he looks to have lost a little of his spark.
Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with Manchester United provided no shortage of talking points for the Soccer Report Extra podcast and Monday’s Fox Soccer Report. While trawling through the game statistics I stumbled upon only one area that clearly differentiated the sides.
It may point to the work being done by André Villas-Boas in terms of re-tooling Chelsea and the “old-fashioned” work ethic of Manchester United.
Take a look at the spread between the team in terms of interceptions – very much in favour of Chelsea.
Now take a look at the comparison between the two teams in terms of tackles.
It was a dreadful weekend for the top five teams in Serie A.
The best on offer was two scoreless draws for Juventus and Milan. Both were playing at home and against Siena and Napoli respectively.
Lazio lost 3-2 away to Genoa despite a late but futile rally while Udinese went down to Fiorentina by the same score.
The best result of the weekend came at the Olympic Stadium in Rome where Roma dismantled a lacklustre Inter side 4-0.
Early in the game Fabio Borini made a left to centre run to create a good chance. It turned out to be a harbinger as Fabio Borini prayed on Maicon and plundered a couple of goals in the process.
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