1) Arsenal winning the league may be more than just talk.
Arsene Wenger has reason to be in a jubilant mood. His team now have a 5 point gap at the top of the table, and are playing with style and supreme confidence. Liverpool were the sternest challenge Arsenal have face this season, however the deadly combination of Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge were expertly stifled by a resolute Arsenal. The standout man of the season, Aaron Ramsey yesterday took his goal tally to 5 in 9 games, vindicating Wenger’s decision to keep the faith in the young Welshman. It was Ramsey that drove the team forwards, allowing Santi Cazorla and new boy Mesut Özil to poke holes in Liverpool’s defence. The end of the season is a long way off, but Arsenal have clearly announced their ambitions this year. They still have to face the Premier League’s big boys, but come May, a 5 point gap now may be the difference.
2) Alan Pardew deserves more credit than he is given.
After 90 minutes at St. James’ Park, it was the home side that came away with 3 points, leaving José Mourinho’s Chelsea left wondering where it went wrong. The answer can be found in the way that Newcastle set up. In post-match interviews, Pardew stated that it was his intention from the start for Newcastle to sit deep, absorb the pressure from Chelsea, and not allow players such as Juan Mata and Oscar the time and space they need to impact the game. After the break, Newcastle, and the substitutions of Fernando Torres and Mata, started their inexorable progress towards winning the game. Creative in attack, and solid at the back, their display will, for now, silence the critics against Pardew and restore some much needed pride on Tyneside.
3) All is well in the red half of Manchester.
Much has been made of Manchester United’s less than outstanding start to the new season. Common sense would show that a manager of Sir Alex Ferguson’s stature would leave a huge void, both in terms of tactics and man management, however that has not stopped endless column inches being devoted to how David Moyes will not be able to cope with the enormity of managing a club such as Manchester United. It was a rocky start, but there are signs that Moyes’ version of the Red Devils are beginning to gel together. All eyes are on the lethal partnership of Sturridge and Suárez, but Robin van Persie with a rejuvenated Wayne Rooney operating behind him are just as potent. Rooney, often disgruntled last season when played out of his favourited position as striker has grown into his role, and when playing well, has the power to influence the game hugely. He played a key role in all three of Manchester’s goals against Fulham, scoring one for himself. Moyes will need much more time in order to reach the heights expected of his team, but there are signs there is better to come.
4) More time is needed for Spurs.
Before the signing of Mesut Özil, many believed that it was another London club that had done the best business in the transfer market. Tottenham brought in a glut of European talent following the sale of Gareth Bale. Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela, to name but a few have been bought as Tottenham try to cement themselves as a top four side. This spending spree is not without its drawbacks. Virtually the entire midfield of last season has been changed, the consequence of which has been Tottenham’s difficulty in scoring from open play this season. There are clearly players of great talent within the Spurs squad, what is now needed is time for Andre Villas-Boas to implement a system that works. Participating in the Europa League as well as domestic competitions is a bonus, as it allows the manager the maximum number of games in order to trial new ideas, formations and line-ups. While many Spurs fans will be demanding a high-placed finish this season, particularly after such a large injection of cash and players over this summer, they may be happier conceding that this season is one of building, and that glory will come later, rather than sooner.
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