Friday, 14 December 2007

Big 4 face up this weekend

For all you English football fans, this is one weekend you've been waiting for. It gets better for most since all the 4 teams are where they ought to be albeit not in the order which one may want his/her team placed.
1st placed Arsenal vs 3rd Chelsea:

Going by the week-by-week games, this will be a hard nut to crack for the Gunners. Coming from a loss(against Middlesborough), draw(with Newcastle) and narrow win(over Aston Villa) in the last Premiership games, they ought to work even harder for them to stay at the top. Things are made easier by the fact that their chief protagonist Cesc Fabregas might be sitting out on this one. The other midfielder, Aleksander Hleb is also a doubt for the game. The consolation though is the front line is fully loaded with the pacy Van Persie back from injury and the on-&-off Adebayor hoping to add to his tally of 9 goals (leading scorer-jointly with Cristiano Ronaldo- as of this weekend's games).Playing at home too might be a boon since they haven't lost a Premiership game there this season.
Chelsea on the other hand have been on the trot since last losing their rather flamboyant coach Mourinho and their only loss so far in September (to Man United). They have grown stronger and have shown stability and more class than they had last season. From a lowly 9th place to 3rd is not easy going into the December fixtures which I believe make or break any serious title contenders. They also have no serious injury problems except for their talisman Drogba (who's always tormented the back-line on the big games). The other worry too is the suspension of one Michael Essien who scored a cracker of a goal last season in the fixture of its kind. They have won against Derby, Sunderland and West Ham.
3 players maybe facing their former colleagues in the form of William Gallas & Lassana Diarra (formerly Chelsea) and Ashley Cole (formerly Arsenal).
Final Score:
A win ( 2-1) - tricky though I can't say which team.

2nd placed Man United vs 4th Liverpool:

This is one that might see a few cards flying. Being two sides which would hope to make their title race realistic, it might be a more tense game and thus the close contest.
First up, Manchester United: Coach Alex Ferguson said not so long ago that this is the best side he has coached and almost agree with him on that. Having the trio of Rooney at the front, Ronaldo backing it up from the midfield and Owen Hargreaves playing defensive and provider when necessary, you have a good run. To make it worse, there are threats in Tevez, Nani, Anderson and the evergreen Ryan Giggs. They have enjoyed a good run with the only blip being a draw to Arsenal and a loss to Bolton in November. They have been on some rampage of sorts winning by 3-4 goals per game ever since.
In Cristiano Ronaldo they have the highest scorer in the Premiership (jointly with Adebayor).
Liverpulitans never walk they so often tell us . They have had a bumpy ride along the way but they keep coming back at you. As one of my friends keep saying this 'rotation' policy of one Rafa Benitez seems to work when all the chips are down. We saw them do it in Europe twice ( and even qualifying the knock-out stages of this year's Champs League was not a foregone conclusion). The team has some comfort of not having serious injury threats though Xabi Alonso would have been a good bet for the long shots to goals Liverpool. They also have the brutish play that seems to destabilise 'pretty-played football' by the other teams. They would use this to good effect. They lost their unbeaten streak a week ago to Reading but that ought not to be a factor here. Steve Gerrard and Peter Crouch ought to lift them on this but you can't wait for this all the time.
Final Score:
Another 2-1 game but again it would go either side.
When all's said and done, this weekend's fixtures will pretty much determine who stays where in the top 4. But am almost sure the positions will change come Monday morning.
News Flash:
English Football Association agrees to appoint Fabio Capello- 61 year old former Real Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan. He has won major trophies with these clubs including the more recent Primera Liga ( Spanish League with Real). He is bound to agree to a 6.5 million pounds per year for a period to be decided. This ought to be clear by the close of business today Friday the 14th of December.

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