Sunderland is not going gently into that good night. They have 29 points and have played one game less than those vulnerable clubs fighting to avoid relegation. In the past week, Sunderland was on the verge of taking three points from Manchester City when a goal at the 90 minute by Samir Nasri earned Manchester City a draw.
Nasri’s strike robbed Sunderland of three vital points. Playing against the mighty Chelsea, the lowly Sunderland eked out a victory with a controversial penalty to defeat Chelsea and keep Sunderland’s hopes alive and to smash Chelsea’s hopes of winning the EPL title for 2014.
Fulham and Cardiff City are also fighting to escape relegation with 30 points respectively. Norwich and West Brom are also in danger. The three teams to be demoted will have their fates decided perhaps not until the last minute of the last game. The English poet T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month” but for teams in the EPL battling for survival May is the cruelest month. The Race to the Top
It was easy pickings for Everton as they ran roughshod over Arsenal, emerging with a convincing 3-0 victory. Everton should topple Arsenal from the exalted fourth spot to qualify for the UEFA Champion’s League.The Toffees have a game in hand and have amassed 63 points. The stumbling Arsenal have 64 points with five matches to play.
Under Manager Roberto Martinez, Everton not only plays the beautiful game but players like Barkley, Lukaku and Naismith are excellent passers of the through ball, running into space and finishing with conviction.
Brendan Rodgers’ Red Army has marched themselves to the top of the Barclay’s Premier League. Liverpool find themselves in a splendid position to win the title after a drought of twenty-four years.
Tottenham was in the way but as they did the first time they had an encounter in 2014, Liverpool outplayed the ailing Spurs 4-0. They got a gift from Spurs’ central defender, Kaboul at the opening minutes of the match, another from Suarez, a free kick from Henderson and a spectacular goal from Coutinho. For the ninety minutes, Spurs was not in the same class as Liverpool.
Mourinho has been coy in denying that Chelsea are the favorites to win the English Premier League title in 2014 but their clobbering of Arsenal 6-0 demonstrates that they are on target to be triumphant in 2014. Liverpool and Manchester City must be considered as serious contenders.
Liverpool beat Cardiff City this weekend but once again they gave up three goals in their 5-3 victory. Suarez and Sturridge were the potent combination that we expect of them. Between them they scored three goals, Suarez 2 and Sturridge 1 and Skrtel, the central defender, scored a brace, making him one of the difficult defenders in the EPL to mark on set plays.
Wenger’s team are more pretenders than they are contenders. Manchester City destroyed them 6-3, and Liverpool also hammered the Gunners 5-1. One would expect a contender facing a contender, that it would be a hard fought game, not a walk in the park.
David Moyes is no Alex Ferguson. There is growing doubt if Moyes is suited for the job at Manchester United and the fear is that if he is brought back for next season, Manchester United will continue to gravitate to mediocrity.
Manchester United is missing a team concept. They play without intensity and devoid of purpose. There are an impressive eleven on paper but there is a dearth of chemistry.
Liverpool gave up ball possession to Southampton but their deadly counter-attacks gave them the coveted three points to leap above Arsenal and to sit in second place behind leaders Chelsea.
Rodgers opted to strengthen his mid-field so he left out Raheem Sterling and inserted Joe Allen. Liverpool was down to two Ss, Sturridge and Suarez, and not far into the first half, Suarez registered his twenty-fourth goal. Sturridge failed to score but whenever Liverpool went on the attack, both Suarez and Sturridge looked threatening.
Tottenham has made some strides forward in the post AVB age but they are still a middle tier club bereft of Gareth Bale.
Against Norwich they failed to score and for the lion share of the ninety minutes had difficulty putting passes together. In the latter part of the second half, Tottenham looked more threatening and then the not so new coach, Tim Sherwood, substituted Soldado for Paulinho. Soldado needs a Turkish bath as he was poised to score twice and as he has done all season “bushed” both chances.
Home Court in the EPL is a big deal. Liverpool ran rings around Arsenal playing at home as the S and S and S tag team pulverized Arsenal’s defenders. Just a few days passed and Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 at the Emirates.
Liverpool failed to get cracking in the first half as Coutinho failed to get his team going. The accolades for this game go to Oxlade Chamberlain who has been on a tear since he returned to the starting lineup after his injury. Oxlade Chamberlain showed the indispensability of pace in the EPL. His pace was unsettling to Agger and Skertel and he scored the first and assisted on the second goal.
Sturridge on this afternoon was not the efficient executioner. He failed to score twice in the early runnings of the match. Liverpool picked up the pace in the second half but Fabianski was outstanding. The only goal allowed Liverpool was Gerard’s penalty kick from a clumsy challenge in the box that Podolski made on Suarez.
The victory kept Arsenal’s hope alive on putting their hands on some silverware, something that has not occurred at the club since 2005.
The EPL this weekend was not like the Super-Bowl. Every game was hard fought and a coronation is far down the road.
Liverpool pommelled Everton but was held to a draw by out-of-form West Bromwich. Rodgers has an incredible aggregation of attackers – Coutinho, Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling. With Gerrard back and Henderson growing into a hard working mid-fielder, Liverpool has emerged as a formidable opponent, yet West Brom shut down Suarez and only conceded one goal. That draw set back Liverpool and will make it difficult for them to qualify next year for the Champions League.
Manchester City vs Liverpool
Liverpool had entered the sacrosanct home grounds of Manchester City where the EPL champions of two years ago simply defiled their opponents. That is what they did to the mighty Arsenal. They stomped all over Arsenal 6-3. But as Liverpool’s manager, Brendan Rodgers stated, his team had confidence in their own attacking prowess.