Carlo wants out, Bolton is the new Barca and Arsenal, well, the less said about it the better.
1. Ancelotti is on the brink
Which is ridiculous of course. I mean a couple of dodgy results with some players missing. But Big Boss appears to have spoken. The Wilkins sacking has had an impact on the players, and the coach, and the fans' perception of the way things are done. Chelsea, at full tilt, with Carlo in charge should win the league. With players missing and the coach undermined, anything could happen.
2. All is not lost for English keepers
Ben Foster was first class against Chelsea. Like Joe Hart, he’s making an impact at the Blues.
3. United keep grinding it out
Rooney’s back. No-one cared greatly. Aside from another cracking header from "Chich” to quote Rio, there was little to excite in United’s display. But that’s its key. Still unbeaten. Level on points with Chelsea, and surely its bestl to come.
4. Luke Varney is a genius
An absolute belter from the Blackpool man. Deserves to be praised to the high heavens. Forget the name on the shirt, just look at the quality.
5. Bolton is on Fire
Owen Coyle, you are a genius. You have changed the entire identity of a football club, turned Kevin Davies into everyone’s favourite striker and even made Elmander look good. Take a bow son, take a bow. Newcastle is wildly inconsistent this season, but Bolton’s form is irresistible.
6. Work to do for Houllier
Gerard’s Villa is a bit of a mess. It was terrific for the majority against United, but poor on the road. At Ewood it got better as the game went on, but didn’t take its chances. Pires is a gamble but it’s good to see Lowry and Herd involved. Rovers meanwhile, were better in front of their new Chicken Empire owners. Never thought I’d write that.
7. Mancini finally responds
“When you lose you are a stupid manager”. Bobby showed more passion post match than all season. Same as the team. City was very, very good in a chastening day for Mark Hughes. The Sky Blues' title aspirations are up and running again, but consistency is the key. If it reverts to type at Stoke expect the criticism to return. Hey, that’s what happens when you’re the richest club in the world.
8. Spurs are not title contenders
Not while they perform so poorly in the first half of matches away from home. Young Boys, Inter, Bolton and now Arsenal. Errors in tactics and personnel almost hampered them again, but what a comeback! Aided and abetted by the Woolwich boys (see number 9), Spurs finished like a steam train.
Gallas, not my favourite, was immense. Ran the game on emotion, and channelled it into his best display in years. Bale was effective without dominating, similar to Van der Vaart, who was quiet yet had a hand in all three goals. A breakthrough afternoon for Spurs? Maybe. Bremen and Liverpool in the next six days. That’ll tell the tale.
9. Arsenal is not a title contender (if it keeps playing like that)
I cannot for the life of me work out Arsenal. A week ago, corner turned. Gutsy, gritty, hard earned win at Goodison. Two points off the top. This week, a rollicking first half of pace and precision. Spurs on the rack. And then it all crumbles. The first element of doubt creeps in and it falls apart. Nasri, Arshavin, Fabregas all went missing second half, while Koscielny had an afternoon to forget. At ten million pounds you’d expect better. Three home defeats now, undoing all the good work on its travels. On that second half display, Arsenal look as far away from the title as Spurs.
10. Wellbeck next for England
Sunderland has gone down the young English route of late, helped hugely by Brucie's relationship with Fergie. Danny Wellbeck is the latest young star to shine on loan, grabbing two against Everton and looking every inch an international in the making. From relying solely on Bent, Bruce now has the luxury of Gyan and Wellbeck. It was only a point today but Sunderland is on the move.
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