Monday, September 28, 2009

2009/2010 Barclays Premier League: Weeks 5 & 6 Review

Since I did not do the EPL review for week 5, I figured I'd might as well combined weeks 5 and 6 together in this bumper post on the Barclays Premier League weekend matches review.

Week 5 was all about the fiercely contested Manchester derby in which an Adebayor-less Manchester City traded punches with Man United. The six (or was it seven?) minutes of extra time afforded by the referee have been hotly debated by blogs and media to death. All I can say is that scoring in extra time (with or without the help of the referees) have been Manchester United's trait for the past ten years and it will stay that way. Therefore, Hughes, an ex-Ferguson pupil, should know better than to let his City players lose concentration. Nevertheless, City deserve a lot of credit and admiration for coming through two Big 4 clashes better than a poor Tottenham Hotspur. One do wonder though how differently the Manchester derby would have turned out if the big Togo striker had featured.

Saturday, September 19, 2009
FT Burnley 3 - 1 Sunderland
FT Arsenal 4 - 0 Wigan Athletic
FT Bolton Wanderers 1 - 1 Stoke City
FT Hull City 0 - 1 Birmingham
FT Aston Villa 2 - 0 Portsmouth
FT West Ham United 2 - 3 Liverpool
Sunday, September 20, 2009
FT Manchester United 4 - 3 Manchester City
FT Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 - 1 Fulham
FT Everton 3 - 0 Blackburn Rovers
FT Chelsea 3 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur

Week 6 saw a goal fest weekend and one stunning upset. The upset being the Wigan 3-1 win over Chelsea. Roberto Martinez has achieved a feat that no other Wigan boss had managed previously i.e. to gain a win over a Big 4 club. A great team performance from Wigan in which they used the flanks very well and outplayed Chelsea who were below par. A better performance will be needed from Chelsea if they are to beat an in-form Liverpool this coming weekend's Super Sunday. Rafa Benitez will have seen how Wigan's game plan of attacking the Chelsea fullbacks cemented about "cult hero" status for Roberto Martinez.

Liverpool have clearly learnt from their failures last season and are racking up big wins against teams that they dropped points last season. After a narrow 3-2 win over a resilient West Ham, Fernando Torres and gang demolished a hapless Hull City 6-1. Rafa's decision to start Gerrard in central midfield and reinstating Albert Riera on the left of midfield gave Liverpool a well-balanced formation. In conjunction with Liverpool's run of three successive wins, Lucas Leiva is playing immensely well. He is currently the third best tackler in the Premiership, with a success rate of 71%. Benitez will have a midfield selection dilemma when Mascherano returns after illness.

Conversely, Manchester United and Arsenal were made to struggle against lesser opponents. Only the brilliance of the evergreen Ryan Giggs conjured up two goals for United to edge past Stoke City. The subtleness of Cesc Fabregas and the accuracy of Robin Van Persie won the match against Fulham. Van Persie is enjoying an injury-free run in the Arsenal attack this season and is successfully making Arsene Wenger forget about the sale of Adebayor. Arsene may also have unearthed another gem in goalkeeper Vito Mannone who was the man of the match for me.

Saturday, September 26, 2009
FT Portsmouth 0 - 1 Everton
FT Blackburn Rovers 2 - 1 Aston Villa
FT Tottenham Hotspur 5 - 0 Burnley
FT Birmingham 1 - 2 Bolton Wanderers
FT Wigan Athletic 3 - 1 Chelsea
FT Stoke City 0 - 2 Manchester United
FT Liverpool 6 - 1 Hull City
FT Fulham 0 - 1 Arsenal
Sunday, September 27, 2009
FT Sunderland 5 - 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers

So there we have it, after seven matches, there is a familiar look about the league table, the Big 4 clubs are occupying the top five positions, with Spurs in fourth and Arsenal in fifth spot. These may change later on Monday night when Manchester City plays West Ham United at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Portsmouth's late transfer deadline signings were all on display in the loss against Everton. Pompey are in serious decline and have lost all seven matches thus far. It looks increasingly likely that Paul Hart will be replaced by David O'Leary if they do not get three points against Wolves this Saturday.

In-Form Team: Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton
Out of Luck and Out of Form: Portsmouth, Hull City and West Ham United

Next weekend will also see another intriguing matchup, between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. There have been some very memorable matches between these two teams in recent seasons, not least the 4-4 thriller in the Champions League last season. There is no doubt that it will be another emotional roller coaster weekend.

Related Articles:
2009/2010 Barclays Premier League Week 1 Review
2009/2010 Barclays Premier League Week 2 Review
2009/2010 Barclays Premier League Week 3 Review
2009/2010 Barclays Premier League Week 4 Review

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