Monday, 7 November 2011

Five Observations from Week 10 in the Premier League

  1. Manchester City prove they get can away wins against tough mid-table teams- This was a real test for Manchester City. It was a test which City just about passed. QPR threw a load of punches at Man City. The first critical punch came when QPR took the lead. It was the first time in the league an opposition has taken the lead against Manchester City. Indeed, Manchester City stood up and got the equaliser through Edin Dzeko, who has now scored 10 Premier League goals, 7 of those coming away from home. City then grabbed the initiative again by taking the lead, but against determined opposition, who have a very solid attacking unit and with their passionate fans behind them, QPR reacted and managed to bring the game level to 2-2. But again, this didn’t effect severely effect Man City. Within a few minutes City took the lead again – which ended up being the crucial winning goal. This result proves City have strong belief and togetherness to come out of tough tests with all the three points. A number of teams would have fallen apart and lost their way after being pegged back away from home. It also proves, even if City don’t play at their very best, the team have enough quality and cohesion to get the win away from home.
  2. Liverpool are not good enough for a top four finish – Liverpool let themselves down again. For the third home game in a row, they have drawn. For the second time in a row, they have drawn at home games against two newly promoted sides. Utterly woeful. Liverpool’s attack has improved from last season, but The Reds have lacked a clinical cutting edge this season. Indeed, Liverpool have created the chances but the finishing simply hasn’t been there. That was the case against Swansea. It’s clear if a team have aspirations to be in the top four they must win their encounters at home against the teams below them in the league. With every game, Liverpool’s finishing has been a growing concern. It’s vital Dalglish and his players rectify this because as it stands, Liverpool feel and look extremely brittle at Anfield.
  3. Chelsea finally get their first clean sheet since August but one must not get carried away with this stat – Chelsea grabbed their first win in three with an away win at Blackburn. Perhaps this result was expected. After all, prior to this game, Blackburn had gone 5 games without a win. But Chelsea, got the three points thanks to yet another Frank Lampard goal, and they said his best days were over? Look at him now! But more crucially, Chelsea got themselves a clean sheet. Their first clean sheet since the opening day draw at Stoke. But Chelsea know they can’t get carried away. They were playing one of the Premier League’s out of form sides, they were playing a team who had only managed a woeful 1 win in 5 games at home this season. Furthermore, Blackburn haven’t kept a clean sheet this season, so it was inevitable Chelsea would come out on top. But this is a morale boosting win, as bigger challenges lay ahead for Chelsea.
  4. Wolves get three points in their biggest game of the far, while Wigan lose yet again- Wolves finally end their run of 8 games without a win. It was a win which was utterly deserved. Wolves didn’t play Wigan off the park, but they did play a far better game than Wigan. Wolves defended better, used the ball more wisely and attacked in a more clinical fashion. This was a vital game for both Wigan and Wolves. Prior to this game, both teams had lost more than 6 games in a row. Both teams saw this as a 6 pointer fixture for themselves. But Wolves showed their strength and determination to end this run. While Wigan, yet again, showed no substance. The team were not clinical and arguably their goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi kept Wigan within reach of Wolves. But Wigan looked out of sorts. The team seem struggle to score and struggled to defend. It will certainly be a long season for Wigan. While for Wolves, what a difference a win makes. Wolves go into the international break in 13th position, a point behind Stoke and QPR.
  5. Bolton finally win at home – Prior to this game, Bolton were the only team in the Premier League who have failed to pick up a single point at home. But that changed this weekend. Bolton hammered Stoke. Perhaps it was a reverse of the hammering Stoke gave to Bolton in the FA Cup Semi-Final last season. Bolton fully deserved the points against Stoke. Bolton seemed more fresher and more hungry for the win. The Wanderers imposed themselves on Stoke and put Pulis’ men under a great deal of pressure throughout the game. Kevin Davies, a man whose form has been under scruinity this season played a crucial part in Bolton’s win. He was an imposing figure, who caused Stoke a handful of problems with his physicality and great holding up of the ball. However, for Stoke, the team looked tired and its evident the effects of playing in the Europa League are having an effect on the team’s domestic performances. Pulis must find a formula to get his side to perform in the games after tough Europa League encounters.

Five Statistics from this Weekend

  1. Gabriel Agbonlahor has scored against 26 of the 30 different teams he has faced in the Premier League.
  2. 48% of Arsenal’s goals have come from Robin Van Persie this season.
  3. Liverpool have drawn the most games at home this season (4 draws)
  4. Brad Friedel made his 276 consecutive start in the PL versus Fulham. Last time he missed a match was May 2004.
  5. QPR have only won 1 home game in 6 attempts this season.

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