The World is Watching. A Huge Weekend for…
Including two clashes of the flops
Undoubtedly the game of the weekend sees Chelsea take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. In truth, it is a game that neither side can afford to lose, as a defeat would see Chelsea potentially 12 points behind Manchester City and Liverpool six points off the top four come Monday night.
However, the focus may well be on the Premier League’s most under pressure players. Although Fernando Torres has certainly improved from last season, the feeling remains that he must do significantly more to justify a first team place, and Daniel Sturridge will be breathing down his neck with next summer’s Euro 2012 approaching rapidly.
For Carroll, the situation is even graver. Four goals in seventeen league appearances since his arrival from the North-East is less than prolific for a £35million signing, but it is the lack of cohesion between Carroll and Luis Suarez that is most worrying.
If it proves that only one can play in the first team, there is only one winner. The onus is on Carroll to make the partnership work.
The Portuguese was under pressure even before the international break, with his side languishing nine points behind the Premier League leaders and stilluncertain of qualification from their Champions League group. And then Guus Hiddink went and left Turkey and stated that he would quite like a role at Chelsea.
If Chelsea lose their next two games (to Liverpool and in Leverkusen) AVB could genuinely be on the ropes only four months into his tenure. By this stage Chelsea could be 7th in the league and struggling to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. How quickly the mighty fall to the ground.
That Wigan have managed to accrue fewer points than Blackburn is impressive enough. That they have done it without yet facing Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal is a great effort. In truth, they look certainties for the drop.
A home game against Blackburn is a 100% must win game, because they face all of the above sides in the next six weeks. The Latics’ Premier League participation is hanging by a lifeline, and yet it is only November.
All eyes turn to the DW.
Amazing to think of it even as a possibility, such is Venky’s apparent ineptitude, but if Blackburn lose to their local rivals on Saturday, surely Kean will finally be given the chop? For him as much as anyone, surely it’ll more of a relief than a surprise?
Without doubt, Newcastle are the team of the season so far. City may have wowed fans with their scintillating away displays, but the Toon Army have outperformed even the most optimistic of expectations.
They now enter a stage of the season which may see them falter. The dream will become reality, and a top eight finish this season can still be judged as a phenomenal effort.
Between now and 4th January, Newcastle have a run of games that includes Manchester City, Manchester United (twice), Chelsea and Liverpool. Three of these games are away from home, beginning with a trip to Eastlands on Saturday. They also do so without Yohann Cabaye, Chiek Tiote, Shola Ameobi, Leon Best, Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux. The big test starts here.
Everton are renowned for being slow starters in the Premier League but a) ss that an excuse for doing the same every season and b) it is mid-November. A quick glance at the league table will show you that Everton sit one point and one point ahead of the relegation zone. They have a game in hand but this is at White Hart Lane.
The tightness between Premier League clubs this season dictates that Everton sit just three points behind Norwich in 8th, but should they lose to Wolves at Goodison on Saturday they would end the day four points behind their opponents, unthinkable at this stage of the season.
The loss of Arteta seems to have hit Everton hard. It is now time for others to step up to the plate.
Never go back is the mantra. It rarely works. When Nigel Pearson left Leicester 18 months ago it was under a significant cloud, the fans unable to see why he would leave the club for a side in Hull City that was arguably in a weaker position.
It became clear that Pearson’s issues were with the club’s owners, who have now departed, and for this his return is slightly more understandable, and in gaining promotion from League One and a Championship playoff place in his previous tenure, the potential is clear.
However, given that the Leicester owners have financially gambled on promotion, success is required, and required immediately. By the time Pearson takes to the dugout Leicester could be twelve points behind automatic promotion.