EPL: 5 Lessons From Saturday’s Premier League Fixtures
With Arsenal’s crucial clash against Manchester City taking place today, some fixtures played yesterday had gone a long way in shaping the destinies of various teams. It’s fair to say that Wolves are more or less doomed to relegation and one can extend the same pity to Bolton and Wigan that was a few minutes away from snatching a vital point from Chelsea in Stamford Bridge.
At the business end of the table, the gods heeded to my pleas for Tottenham to drop more points but the same couldn’t be said about Chelsea and Newcastle, that are now two points away from Arsenal’s coveted fourth place position.
Seven Premier League fixtures took place yesterday but those bookies that hoped for shock results were left with eggs thrown on their faces. Without further ado, here are the lessons learned from today’s fixtures.
Wolverhampton Wanderers will be Relegated
After going through a very putrid run of form, Sunderland parted ways with Steve Bruce. Martin O’ Neill came in his stead and changed the fortunes of the club for good. Wolves also had a bad run of form and the 5-1 loss to West Brom at home was the last straw for Mick McCarthy, that was duly sacked shortly afterwards.
Terry Connor arrived in Wolves with the uphill task of keeping the club afloat from relegation waters but his team currently leads the form table from behind with more L’s than Fernando Llorente could possibly hope for.
At this rate, Wolves will surely be destined for relegation.
The Britannia Stadium Still Remains a Fortress
The Britannia Stadium is owned by those goons that have found a way to unite rugby with football but there’s no denying that it’s a feared ground in the Premier League. Arsenal has certainly had its troubles there while the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have gained reputable draws in the past.
Stoke is unbeaten in its last four games at home and the ground witnessed a Goal of the Season contender from Peter Crouch a few weeks back. Struggling Wolves visited the ground today but goals from Robert Huth and Crouchy sealed their fate.
Stoke’s form at the Britannia Stadium has been the principal reason why they are still a safe mid-table outfit because they don’t fare too well on their travels.
Arsenal would play Stoke in the Britannia Stadium at some point this season. That’s a game I’m certainly not looking forward too. 🙁
Bolton and Wigan May Join Wolves in the npower Championship Next Season
Since I’ve more or less doomed Wolves to relegation, they’ll have to find two partners to join them in the gallows come May.
Blackpool wowed the Premier League last season with an adventurous style of play that was lauded by many and the performances of DJ Campbell and Charlie Adams didn’t go unnoticed as they currently serve new employers. Despite their exciting play, Blackpool joined Birmingham and West Ham as the three worst teams of the League last season.
This campaign, Bolton, Queens Park Rangers, Blackburn and Wigan Athletic are locking horns to avoid relegation and the way they are mentioned in the list is also the way they are positioned on the log table respectively.
However, I’ve learnt that Bolton and Wigan would be the teams to join Wolves in the relegation zone at the end of the season. Bolton aren’t doing badly in the form guide (three wins and three losses) but their 3-0 reverse scoreline to Fulham showcased their inconsistency that could prove vital in the run-in.
As expected, Wigan’s form has been in shambles but they shocked the football world with a famous 2-1 win against Liverpool in Anfield.
They were faced with an uphill task to avoid dropping points in Stamford Bridge and Mohamed Diame’s goal in the 83rd minute seemed enough to salvage a crucial point for Wigan. Juan Mata struck right at the death and one point changed to zero in the twinkle of an eye.
That’s clearly not good enough in my opinion.
Liverpool’s Recent Form is an Aberration
Roy Hodgson had a great job at Fulham. He saved them from relegation before surprising the football world by guiding them into the inaugural Europa League final against Atletico Madrid. The enticing offer of managing an illustrious side like Liverpool came his way and he did what many managers in his shoes would have done.
Hodgson managed Liverpool for 20 League games, winning seven, drawing four and losing nine. In his 10 home league games, Liverpool scored 17 goals, conceded eight and recorded four clean sheets in the process. His home form also saw Hodgson notch up six wins, two draws and two losses.
It was a different ball game away from Anfield. Liverpool scored a meager seven goals and conceded 19. It was a run that saw Hodgson’s team pick up one win, two draws and seven losses.
After picking up 1.25 points per game, Liverpool ended Wily Ol’ Woy’s reign at Anfield. It’s worth noting that Manchester United averaged 2.20 points, Manchester City averaged 1.91 points, Arsenal averaged 1.90 points and Tottenham averaged 1.71 points over the same period.
King Kenny Dalglish came with his calvary and made a very good account of himself in his messiah-like second coming. He also grabbed the headlines after his transfer dealings that saw Fernando Torres move to Chelsea for a British record transfer fee and Andy Carroll arrive at Anfield with one hell of a price tag.
After his splurge in the summer, Dalglish assembled a squad that he felt was good enough to challenge for the Premier League. If you take a very nice look at the Premier League’s form table, Liverpool is currently the second worst team in the league with four losses in their last six games.
King Kenny’s Red Army have picked up six points from a possible 18 at home and just three points from a possible 18 away.
Perfect return for £126m spent over the past year or so.
The Remaining Champions League Spots…”Are Up For Grabs”
As a staunch Arsenal fan, this title has sent chills down my spine.
After enjoying what seemed like a cinderella-like fairytale run of form that saw Arsene Wenger’s men win seven on the trot, I and many Gooners out there believed that third place was “our right”. The fact that our club overturned a potential 13-point deficit to a three point gap over Tottenham certainly brought confidence levels that soared higher than the flying range of an eagle.
Queens Park Rangers came along and reality bit Arsenal really hard, then brought everyone concerned with the club down to Earth.
A three-point gap over Tottenham and an eight-point gap over Chelsea and Newcastle has been transformed to a one point deficit behind the Spuds and a two-point lead over the latter named clubs.
Chelsea and Newcastle are gaining momentum, so Arsenal and Tottenham will have to watch their backs as these clubs are breathing down their necks.
A bad result against Manchester City would bring every Gooner’s fears into a very harsh reality.
On this notion, it’s fair to say that the remaining Champions League spots are up for grabs.
There were so many lesson’s learned from Saturday’s fixtures, but these were my top five. Feel free to share yours with your comments.
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