If it wasn’t for Robin Van Persie’s late strike earning a point for Man Utd at Old Trafford, the Premier League title might have been all over already. Chelsea's Didier Drogba rolled back the years with a power header early in the second half. Marouane Fellaini was to blame for losing the Ivorian at a corner, while midget Fabio needed a step ladder to match Drogba’s 8ft leap.
Van Persie equalised at the death but that did not stop Louis Van Gaal remarking on the Dutchman’s stupidity for removing his shirt and earning himself a yellow card.
There used to be a debate about booking players for removing their shirts to celebrate. Apparently, they just can’t help themselves and lose their minds with sheer excitement! Funny then that when a player scores against their old club you often see them solemnly wander back to the halfway line, a model of self-control.
Nearly a quarter of the way through the season, an eight point lead for Chelsea might have been a bridge too far for Man City who lost 2-1 at West Ham, with goals from Morgan Amalfitano and Diafra Sakho – the £3.5m signing from Metz who has scored in every Premier League game he’s played this season.
West Ham fans wanted Sam Allardyce buried at sea last season - or just dumped in it, and although his style of football has never been my cup of tea in the past, one has to admit he’s done a brilliant job to turn the ship.
At the moment, Chelsea look a class apart from the rest of the Premier League, and Jose Mourinho is a class apart from other managers. He doesn’t do complacency. While they will no doubt drop points, you can assess where they might slip up, whereas Man City – their only genuine rivals, seem capable of slipping up at any given moment.
At White Hart Lane, Daniel Levy is likely already thinking about loading his gun and firing off a P45 in the direction of Mauricio Pochettino’s as Spurs succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at home to Newcastle. A dreadful result, Tottenham had everything under control - leading 1-0 – until Sammy Ameobi equalised eight seconds into the second-half. From that position, the Spurs players' heads dropped and they lost.
Like their North London neighbours, Tottenham’s spine is weak, and the team has no leaders running through it. Pochettino could be the wrong man for the job as his players do not seem physically equipped to play his pressing game, and with impatient home fans already booing inanely, one wonders when Levy will move into his usual self-preservation mode.
Could Southampton make the top four this season? Unlikely, but I’d love to see them do it. They beat Stoke quite comfortably at St. Marys 1-0, continuing their remarkable run of form. If they can avoid injuries, they may have a chance – but most clubs succumb to that at some point in the season, and those with smaller squads usually suffer.
Meanwhile, a couple of teams that impressed last season, have started revving up the engines again. Everton looked a lot more solid, beating Burnley 3-1 with the help of two fine goals from Samuel Eto’o, while Swansea‘s Wilfred Bony scored two to put paid to Leicester City – Bony's career ratio is almost exactly one in two.
Liverpool’s struggle to assimilate Mario Balotelli continued with a 0-0 draw at home to Hull, and Sunderland threw away the points again with more comical defending at home to Arsenal.
QPR earned their first win of the season at home to woeful Aston Villa; you wouldn't bet against Harry Redknapp getting The R’s out of trouble one way or another.
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