what a weekend!!!
a brilliant advert for the english league and yet another reminder that it is the best league in the world.....
defeats for three of the top 6 teams in the form of arsenal, chelsea and tottenham respectively.
arsenal, fresh off of a away day defeat to shakhtar donetsk in the champions league arsene whinger's team took on a seemingly re-juvinated newcastle at the emirates, many would have foreseen a comfortable home win in this one but the truth was in all honesty that the might of th gunners were out-fought and the usual class and indeed beautiful fluent football the reds normally ooze just wasn't present in this blood and thunder meeting where unfortunately for the gooner army they were once again beaten by a team who were physically stronger and got nothing less that they deserved for their efforts.
the yo-yo life of one andy carrol has been much documented in the past and more recent weeks but no-one can argue against the form of the young englishman.
stirling performances against many teams already under his belt this season has rewarded carrol with rave reviews and an imminent call up for the national squad, and i cannot think of any reason why he shouldnt be included.
arsenal didnt really have a response to the battling geordie's, yes wallcott hit the bar and they did have chances but you cant take away the performance from hughtons team in a week where his job was reportidly under threat, then they hit five past there north-east rivals and now an away win at the emirates, not such a bad week eh?!
spurs.....magnificent win mid-week against the european champions and due celebrations for a team who does deserve it, but once again they found out that incorporating the elite europen competition and elite league is hard to balance.
welcoming the champion league champions to white hart lane one minute then a grim away fixture at the un-inspiring reebok in stark contrast did look like a stumbling block but ths spurs fans must have been wondering where the team had gone from tuesday night as they trailed 3-0 to bolton who with all due respect shouldn't be causing such ripplies against the quality of a side like tottenham.
a rallying call started by hutton with a sublime curling shot with his 'standing foot' certainly got bolton wondering, then arguably the goal of the weekend by pavlyuchenko, as it dropped out of the air even the most optimistic of fans wouldnt have expected the russian to show the perfect technique to volley hard and perfectly from such a tight angle and suddenly bolton were on the ropes and spurs were back in, but once again the tottenham defence leaked a fourth and the wind was taken out the sails.
so can spurs get the balance right? if anyone can sort it then the 2nd hand car dealer extraodinair redknapp is the man who can put his hand up the puppeteering spurs backside to orchestrate what is needed. time will tell but the fact spurs are even being mentioned as possible title contenders/deciders has got to be enough for tottenham fans for the time being?!
chelsea.....as mentioned in a previous blog i predicted a chelsea victory here, liverpools form and belief was at an all-time low slightly buoyed by the super-sub gerrard in mid-weeks europa league outing, surely the chelsea super-show would roll into town and roll back out in fashion as they have most of this season already....
not the case....instead their talisman drogba was strangely on the bench? supposidly due to a virus? how true we will never know, but if he is fit enough to be on the bench then surely he could have started such a showcase fixture?
no essien, lampard and now the drog on the bench? liverpool fans must now have been sensing the drops of blood leaking out of a depleated stamford bridge side, and that was exactly what panned out.
torres being the main predator on this occassion as he has been so often against chelsea.
the reds flew out of the blocks and early doors got ahead through torres after the 'workhorse' kuyt chipped a delightful ball through to the spaniard, one that captain fantastic or indeed the much missed alonso would have been proud of and el nino duely dispatched into the net passed the on-rushing cech.
chelsea never looked at the races without drogba and the defense had a pretty easy time of it. then a slip just inside his own half from ramires let in meireles who fed torres on the left and as he turned towards goal and one on one with alex everybody in the crowd knew what was coming, just would it come off?
on this occassion it did, he skipped inside and made a yard where he unleashed a curling right foor strike which left cech stranded as it crashed into the side netting putting liverpool two goals up.
the murcurial matador was back.....and football fans everywhere have missed the brillance as is when other top players are off form like rooney and berbatov to name a couple.
chelsea then woke up after the substitution of drogba at half time and suddenly the reds looked more nervous, reina made a point blank save from malouda and then minutes later he let a shot squirm under him to bounce back off the bar into the path of drogba who looked just as shocked as everyone when carragher somehow got his body between drogba and the ball and a dead cert goal.
storm weathered as it turned out and cech himself made a world class svae as kuyt nearly got himself on the scoresheet for his efforts.
but tim ticked down and liverpool cut chelsea's lead over manchester united to just two points.
championship wide open again? who knows, but after this weekend it just shows how wide open the league has become again which can only be good for the genuine football fan.