Firing Gunners in acid test
Posted Saturday, December 7 2013 at 02:00
S’thampton 1 Man City 1
Manuel Pellegrini doesn’t have much time to rid his team of the Jekyll and Hyde DNA that is threatening to derail their title ambitions. The Royal Blues are at their brilliant best at home but develop cold feet on their travels. Trips to the South coast are daunting for even the most battle-hardened of outfits.
Sunderland 0 Spurs 1 `
Bookmakers prematurely slashed the odds on Andre-Villas Boas becoming the next managerial casualty in the aftermath of his side’s 0-6 capitulation to Manchester City. His expensively assembled Spurs side must be given the time to gel into a winning unit. Moussa Dembele’s return to midfield has given the team renewed vigour.
Liverpool 2 West Ham 0
These are testing times for Brendan Rodgers’ Anfield revolution. The five-time European champions are evidently moving in the right direction but unless beefed up, their squad may not be good enough to cement a Champions League position. Thankfully for them, they have a certain superstar called Luis Suarez.
Man Utd 3 Newcastle 1
This fixture has traditionally guaranteed goals, and belonged to the Red Devils. Although he had conjured up a twelve-match unbeaten run, David Moyes’ side are yet to find the kind on consistency on which title runs are built. The embarrassing defeat to Everton further exposed the champions’ limitations.
Palace 0 Cardiff 0
If Tony Pulis’ proud record of never having been relegated in his 21-year managerial career is to survive, these are the kind of games Palace must win. A home game against fellow newcomers Cardiff City is the perfect opportunity for the beleaguered Londoners to launch a battle for survival. Mickey Mackay’s visitors are wonderfully well organised. It is easy to envisage them frustrating Palace’s blunt attack in a dour goalless affair.
Stoke 1 Chelsea 2
Credit manager Jose Mourinho for helping Chelsea maintain a title challenge even when they obviously aren’t operating at full throttle. Suspect team selection, injuries to key players, fixture congestion and the absence of a prolific marksman have all conspired to hold the Europa League winners back. A punishing fixture schedule is taking it’s toll.
Arsenal 2 Everton 1
Youth and oomph are two words that were for so long synonymous with Arsenal. However, with an average age of 26, the North Londoners are this season among the most mature sides in the division. Instead, it is Roberto Martinez’s young Toffees that are setting the Premiership alight with their youthful zeal. Romelu Lukaku has forged a beefy relationship with Gerard Deulofeu.
West Brom 2 Norwich 0