Thoughts from this Past Premier League Weekend
- Manchester United has a severe weakness in the back. In their matches against West Ham and Everton, Man United has let in three goals. All three of them have been headers (Cahill, A. Ferdinand and Upson) from crosses into the box. It’s something for Fergie and Quieroz to work on with the defenders during training this week. Otherwise they’ll get eaten alive in the Champions League.
- Dimitar Berbatov is a football god. There simply isn’t another striker in the world right now who’s on as hot of a scoring streak as Berbatov. His third goal for Spurs against Reading this past weekend was out of this world. Shh. Don’t tell anyone, but he reminds me of Johann Cruyff. Just like Man United, both Reading and Spurs need to spend some time working on their defending. Oh my.
- The long ball game isn’t dead. In recent weeks, teams like Arsenal and Spurs have shown how effective the long ball game can be at times. For Arsenal, their first three goals against Everton would have made Wimbledon proud. Spurs, when Robbie Keane plays, have perfected the art of the long ball goal: Robinson floats a long ball into the opposing penalty box, Berbatov heads it back toward goal and Keane bangs it in.
- Manchester City isn’t a joke anymore. Sure, Liverpool had a ton of chances, but it was Man City’s incredible defending by Dunne, Richards, Onuoha and Ball that kept City in this match as well as Joe Hart’s brilliant reflex save. Sven is a genius.
- Chelsea look so incredibly average. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been able to watch a Chelsea match uninterrupted without Christmas shopping or company getting in the way, so I was shocked to see how average the Blues looked against Newcastle this past Saturday. If Newcastle had been able to do better at converting their chances, they could have been the first team in four years to beat Chelsea at home in the league. The African Nation’s Cup hasn’t even started yet and Chelsea is already in trouble and the Blues fans are losing faith.
- Boro the unpredictable conquer the Pompey monopoly. For the first time in 54 years, Boro won in the league at Fratton Park. I’ve given up predicting Boro. They always do the opposite of what I’d imagine them to do. But full credit to Middlesbrough and especially Tuncay who has been a relevation this season for the Teeside club.
- Full credit to West Ham. Upton Park is never an easy place for a top four club to visit. Curbishley has turned the ship around, the home fans are as wild as ever and the Hammers now face the prospect of trying to beat Arsenal at Emirates again.
About The Gaffer
Founder and publisher of EPL Talk, The Gaffer (aka Christopher Harris) is a journalist who has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications as well as on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT.
Harris, who lives in Florida, has supported Swansea City since 1979. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005.
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