Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks
Cardiff City as a recently promoted team to the Premier League has established that they play tenacious football on their home ground. Arsenal came in to Wales as Premier League leaders and tamed the “tigrish” Cardiff aggregation.
Aaron Ramsey was returning home as the Welshman started his football at Cardiff and at the end of 90 minutes had put two goals in the back of the net, giving Arsenal a comfortably defeat of Cardiff (final score 3-1).
Arsenal played like champions as the fluidity of their passing and the running off the ball simply mesmerized the Cardiff defenders. Ozil was at his best and his telling passes into the box paid off with two assists. Wilshire, Giroud, Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla and Ozil interchanged in Arsenal’s version of the beautiful game.
They remain in first place, ahead of Chelsea and Manchester City. Some mention must be made of their solidity at the back. Koscielny and Mertesacker play with great understanding and the goalkeeper, Szczesny has matured and makes intelligent decisions and great saves to keep Arsenal in the game.
Wenger and Roberto Martinez have to be serious contenders for Coach of the Year.
Tottenham recovered from their hammering by Manchester City to draw with Manchester United. They played with intensity and attacked with verve and quickness. Perhaps for the rest of the season Andre Villas-Boas’ team will play like contenders and not pretenders.
Manchester United under David Moyes continues to fall from grace. This is a team that depends heavily on Rooney, particularly when Van Persie is not in the line-up. Their major weakness is the lack of creativity in midfield. This draw means they have lost further ground and are struggling in the middle of the pack, an unusual place for an Alex Ferguson team.
Liverpool lost to Hull City 3-1. Suarez did not show up to play. Sturridge is out for 6-8 weeks with ligament damage. The absence of the one-two punch of Suarez and Sturridge will test the fortitude of Liverpool in the coming weeks.
Liverpool scores almost exclusively in the first half and in the game against Hull, fell apart in the second half. Like Manchester United, Liverpool is mediocre in mid-field. They are a decent team but far from being serious contenders for the title.
Chelsea overran Southampton in the second half and came back to win 3-1. But Chelsea plays ugly football, nothing close to the beautiful game. Mourinho made adroit changes in the second half as he played with two strikers, Torres and Demba Ba. It was a workman like performance that catapulted them into second place in the EPL.
Mourinho brought back Juan Mata and it will be interesting going forward if he will stick with the club’s best playmaker.
This week coming the EPL moves to an accelerated pace as there will be numerous games during mid-week. The teams that lack depth will find it difficult to avoid match fatigue. The EPL, like western capitalism, is not a level playing field.