Winners – Somethings are just very difficult to explain – take West Brom for example. Through their first 24 games of the Premier League season West Brom scored just 24 goals and only once hit a high of three once in a game. In their last two matches they hit nine and Peter Odemwingie has scored five and more than doubled his output for the season.
Losers – When Newcastle United jumped into an early 2-0 lead at home to Wolves things looked great for the home support and quite dreadful for Wolves and their newly named temporary manager, Terry Connor. As it was Wolves battled back to take a vital point with a 2-2 draw. What must be of concern to Alan Pardew is that at 2-0 up his side suddenly looked very complacent. Rather than pushing for fourth in the Premier league and a Champions League qualifying spot Newcastle took on the look of a side that had done all the heavy lifting it was going to do this season.
Winners – It was an excellent week for Manchester City. A 4-0 home win over Porto meant a very comfortable passage into the round of 16 of the Europa League. Carlos Tevez returned from the dog-house (although that situation is so combustible it could turn bad again) and Blackburn Rovers were easily dispatched 3-0. City have got that very solid look once again and have only allowed 4 goals in their last 11 Premier League games. At home in the league City have played 13, won 13, scored 40 and allowed only 6 – phenomenal stuff.
Winner –Frank Lampard’s goal against Bolton was the icing on the cake for Chelsea. But for Lampard it was another personal milestone. It was his 10th league goal of the season and it is the ninth straight season he has hit double figures. The goal also moved him past the great Jimmy Greaves in Chelsea’s all-time scoring list.
Losers – Bolton was shut-out for the eleventh time this season in the Premier League and for the third time in their last four league games. Scoring is an obvious problem but 54 goals conceded in 26 games is possibly a more telling statistic. The three goals allowed against Chelsea were all of the careless variety and unless they find a way to stop conceding so easily relegation will become a reality.
Losers – Mark Hughes and London derbies just are not a winning combination. While in charge of Fulham last season Hughes did not win any of the eight London derbies. Fast forward to his new gig at QPR and a derby encounter with Fulham and a 1-0 loss. But perhaps more worrying for Hughes in the statistic of only one win in six Premier League games and a defence that has yet to record a clean sheet in League play since he took charge.
Winners – At the risk of sounding patronizing Cardiff may have finished as runners-up but they played a full part in the drama that was the Carling Cup Final. The first half goal from Joe Mason gave Cardiff something to defend and even after Martin Skrtel equalized a more composed finisher than Kenny Miller would have sent the trophy to Wales.
Nonetheless, Liverpool was the better team on the day and if they had been sharper in front of goal the final would not have been in doubt after an hour’s play let alone two.
It was somewhat ironic that the Liverpool hero was Dirk Kuyt, a player who has struggled to retain a starting spot since Kenny Dalglish arrived. He scored the goal that looked like it was to stand up as the winner then he slotted a vital penalty. When Kuyt stepped up Liverpool had missed their first two penalties and Cardiff had scored one of two.
If Kuyt had missed the pressure on Liverpool’s remaining two penalty takers would have been immense. As it was Kuyt stroked home the penalty and Gestede missed with Cardiff’s next attempt setting the stage for a Liverpool win.
Loser – Do two wrongs make a right? Easy to say but in football that saying can be countered with “goals change games.” Although referee’s assistant Roberto Romagnoli disallowed goals for both Milan and Juventus you can’t help but feel that his failure to spot that Muntari’s header had clearly crossed the line was one that changed the outcome of the match.
Muntari’s header would have given Milan a 2-0 first-half lead and would have capped a spell in which Milan had Juventus reeling. Romagnoli was perfectly positioned to make the call as well. In the second half he raised his flag for offside Matri. The call was a borderline one although TV replay would show Matri in line. The second call offered Juve fans a point to argue but few neutrals would believe that it to be well-founded.
Winners – Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi continued their own personal duel. Ronaldo scores with a back heel from ten yards while Messi hits a free kick in the top corner from a free kick on the other edge of the penalty box.
Losers – Losing a two goal lead in a North London derby has been an affliction of Arsenal the last few years. On Sunday it spread to Tottenham Hotspur. But the thing is that although Spurs led 2-0 it was not representative of the play. Arsenal was punished for two bad lapses in defense and Spurs had one other decent chance in the first half.
Winners – Arsenal controlled most of the match and even a double substitution at half time by Harry Redknapp backfired as Arsenal took the lead. Tomas Rosicky enjoyed his best outing as an Arsenal player while Yossi Benayoun offered hard work, endeavour a statistic of 14/14 in terms of passes in the attacking third. And before anyone goes looking the passes were of the decisive variety.
Losers – Arsenal’s comeback to win 5-2 must have caused the deletion of thousand’s of articles and blogs that had been started as soon as Adebayor’s penalty hit the back of the net. Oh well give it a few more week’s and the Wenger obits will no doubt reappear.
Any winners and losers that I may have missed?
You can also find other Soccer Report Extra.com contributors on Twitter by following this link.
Have some thoughts and opinions you want to express? The Training Ground is your chance. Just click on the link.
Please refrain from posting comments that;
The House reserves the right to delete any such comments and to block further participation on the site.