It was “The Three Pointer” last week but then I realised in this world of Sky Sports Super Duper Sunday hyperbole it should really be The Six Pointer. Besides, if nothing else it allows us to make more points about the weekend’s action.
1. I wouldn’t say we learnt too many things that we didn’t already know from the Arsenal v Man Utd match. Arsenal tend to play well against other big teams, partly because players like Gallas deem such matches as worth trying in and partly because they are allowed to play football by the opposition. Both teams put on a great display of attacking football and on another day Man Utd may have won comfortably considering the chances they made. Had Rooney not emulated Giggs’ miss against Arsenal a few years back (sorry can’t find it on Youtube sadly) we may have been talking about the end of their title challenge. As it happens, for now it lives on.
2. After all the excitement generated by the signing of Robinho and the 6-0 demolition of Porstmouth, Man City’s recent form has seen them lose their last three to drop to a lowly 13th in the table. Whilst they have an abundance of riches in attack and a solid(ish) defence (though Richard Dunne has not been up to his usual high standards), they lack a real ball winner in midfield. Didi Hamann is sadly past it and can’t play 38 games a season while players like Gelson Fernandes are still learning their craft. There will be money to spend in January and I’m inclined to believe the owners when they say Hughes has their backing. However this should be a team pushing for Europe this season and the Champions League next. I don’t see more than a top eight finish this year and as with many rich owners in the past, they may say one thing but secretly want another.
3. Chelsea and Liverpool both had good results over the weekend and their second choice strikers both scored again. I feel the fitness and form of the first choice strikers is understandably more important. Drogba has yet to complete a league game this season (let alone score in one) while Torres has just comeback from a niggly hamstring problem (though was in good from prior). Chelsea and Liverpool need them to stay fit over the course of the season. Anelka has never been a prolific player and I wouldn’t say he scores important goals. This is backed up by a great stat I read about how the goal at weekend was only the second time he has opened the scoring for Chelsea . Keane should go on his trademark six game run of goals now but if Liverpool are to win the title it’s Torres who they need to be relying on.
4. In the bottom half there is once again lots of movement with just three points separating Fulham in tenth and West Brom who are bottom. Sunderland drop into the relegation zone after another defeat but if Kenwyne Jones can start scoring and form a good partnership with Cisse I feel they have the goals to move them out out of trouble. Bolton gained a valuable win over Hull but I am still into convinced by their ability to score. Blackburn have McCarthy and Santa Cruz, Tottenham have Bent and Pavlyuchenko, Newcastle have Owen and Martins whilst even Wigan have Zaki and Heskey. I look at Bolton and I see Elmander who Megson must have bought after playing too much Football Manager, and Davies who has four goals but about four hundred fouls.
5. Is it time to play Tevez ahead of Rooney? When Rooney is on form he’s brilliant but when he isn’t he’s petulant and anonymous. Tevez at least gives you consistency and determination channelled in the right way.
6. After our friend over at Football Guy decided to mock us over our midweek Champions League bets, he promptly went and backed up his claims of superior skill by going 1 for 13 on his weekend tips. 7.7% strikerate. About as good as Johan Elmander. Or maybe even Marlon Harewood. We do plan to do head to head thing at some stage with an ongoing tally but until then avoid his tips or lack there of!