Another weekend of Premier League สล็อต pg comes and another previous league leader falls by the wayside. If only the title race was this unpredictable all through the season. Manchester City were top not so long ago, but went on to lose their next two games, getting replaced by Chelsea who lost the following weekend at Aston Villa. Liverpool took their place, but a 0-0 draw at Portsmouth this weekend means that they only held top spot for one round of fixtures.
Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates September 2007 feature size
Arsenal are there now, but can they hold onto the proverbial hot potato or will they stumble next weekend and give us another new leader? All this certainly proves that we are still at a very early stage of the title race and that nothing can be taken for granted yet, other than that the Big Four are still the most likely teams to have a chance of lasting the pace. It’s no coincidence that they are all in the top five already, with only Man City still up there from the outsiders.
When Liverpool went top before the international break, it was seen as a sign that they are genuine title contenders this season, and while that is certainly the case, Rafa Benitez showed this weekend why they might still eventually fall by the wayside. Outraged by a conspiracy against his team in football’s corridors of power with regards to fixture scheduling, he chose Fratton Park as the place where he would tinker with his team, leaving out Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. And paid the price.
He probably felt some kind of satisfaction from being proved right about his complaints about Liverpool having to play so early on a Saturday after an international break, and no doubt his selection was influenced by the upcoming Champions League game, but you can’t have it both ways. How many more players would he have rested if Liverpool had been playing at 4pm on a Sunday and then again on Tuesday? They might even have lost the game.
Of course, Liverpool do have a very large and talented squad, but they will only have a chance of winning the title if he rotates well and manages to get his many disparate players all slotting in well together. Either that or he has to accept that he might not be able to keep on resting his key players in the league to make sure they are fresh and ready for the Champions League, which still seems to be his priority. At the very least he needs to know when to rotate, with next weekend’s home tie with Birmingham a much more comfortable fixture than the always tricky trip to Fratton Park.
So, the Reds lost their grip on top spot after just a game, but they will hope to avoid the two-game jinx that affected their predecessors. Man City lost their next two games and while Chelsea avoided a home defeat to Blackburn on Saturday, they did fail to win, and Jose Mourinho’s extravagant protestations after Salomon Kalou’s goal was disallowed told its own story. He is under pressure at the moment, with Roman Abramovich demanding that Chelsea both play attractive football and win, with Mourinho’s men currently doing neither.
By waving a laptop around and suggesting that the assistant referee should give him a call sometimes, Mourinho managed to turn the focus away from his own situation and onto his melodramatic antics once again, but deep down he knows that he faces an important week in Europe and at Old Trafford next weekend. If Chelsea play dour football and lose to United, Abramovich will be fuming because this is not what he has spent so much money for, having been enticed into football by watching a thriller at Old Trafford a few years back.
Not that he would be much more entertained if he had bought United based on their form at the moment. Having played well and failed to win their first three games, Sir Alex Ferguson has turned United into a very pragmatic team indeed in their last three, all of which have been won 1-0 with second half goals immediately followed by defensive substituations and a degree of relief at the final whistle. With Louis Saha strangely left out of the starting line-up, Carlos Tevez was still lacking a partner up front and United still looked toothless.
The same of course can’t be said for Arsenal, who once again went behind at White Hart Lane and once again came back to take something from the game to maintain their excellent form in North London derbies. Thierry Henry’s name is certainly not being used to highlight anything that might be missing from the Arsenal, erm, arsenal anymore, with Cesc Fabregas assuming his mantle as the team’s talisman and Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor working well together up front. The only question remaining is will they be able to break the curse of top spot?
Goal of the Weekend – Emmanuel Adebayor vs Spurs – The turn and volley was somewhat reminiscent of a Didier Drogba goal last season and Arsenal will be hoping that Adebayor can enjoy a similarly improved campaign this year as Drogba did in his second season.
Performance of the Weekend – Sunderland vs Reading – Emotions were running high at Sunderland as the Stadium Of Light paid tribute to club great Ian Porterfield, and the team were suitably inspired on to a very good win over Reading, with Kenywne Jones particularly impressive.
Moment of the Weekend – Darren Bent’s miss against Arsenal – Unless you’re an Arsenal fan, it was a real ‘watch through your fingers’ moment as the expensive Spurs striker was put clean through with his side 2-1 down, only to skew his shot badly and embarassingly wide.
Quote of the Weekend – “I can’t take many positives out of this game at all. It was the most disappointing performance of the season so far.” – Considering how wretched Bolton have been so far this season, Sammy Lee’s appraisal of their defeat at Birmingham doesn’t bode well…