Is the Premier League Future Unwritten?
For a while there the Premier League season looked like it was going to throw up a new champion-Liverpool, a new member of the champion’s league elite-Aston Villa and rags from riches story- Hull, and there was even talk of Tottenham making the top six.
While Liverpool have cut down the Red Devils lead at the top down to four points. Manchester United still has a game in hand and you would say the Champions are still favourites to win the title again, and even win a crazy five if things fall in place.
The loss of Vidic to suspension is a blow; however manager Alex Ferguson has a skilful, experienced and deep squad to choose from.
Liverpool looked like dare I say it “the Liverpool of old” when they smashed United last weekend four-one. Liverpool would be higher up the ladder except for too many draws, and bad results against lower ranked teams. Losing brilliant striker Fernando Torres for a period earlier this season was also a big blow to their Championship ambitions.
Aston Villa was hanging in the top four all season, except that loss to Tottenham last week allowed Arsenal’s to leap frog them giving the top four an all familiar look.
Villa’s players look tired, they have only used 19 players this season, and they have one of the smallest squads in the premier league. Competing in four competitions including Europe with such a small squad is going to take its toll.
Villa has lost their power, lately the ball gets to Ashley Young a lot, with not a lot of help around. James Milner has gone off the boil, while Emile Heskey can be frustrating at time; John Carew has been injured and Gabbie Agbnonlahor needs a goal for his confidence, I gather he likes playing with Carew more than he does Heskey.
Losing Martin Laursen was a big loss; replacements Zat Knight and Curtis Davies have looked shaky at the back. Luke Young is a right back and has been playing at left back and Cuellar is more of a central defender than a right back.
The Gareth Barry transfer saga earlier in the year when he almost went to Liverpool probably didn’t help Villa’s cause either. At times they looked mesmerising with Young, Barry, Agbonlahor, Milner and even Carew playing some nice football and scoring some great goals. Ashley Young’s winner against Everton comes to mind.
Owner Randy Learner will probably regret not investing more funds into bringing new players if Villa misses out on a Champions league birth this season.
The Liverpool-Villa game on Sunday will be crucial in deciding the makeup of the top 4, well at least for a week anyway.
Meanwhile at the bottom of the table:
With 9 games remaining for Hull, despite the amazing start they made at the start of the season were they occupied the nose bleed section of the table for a while, it felt refreshing to see the underdogs do so well.
They won six out of their first nine matches, losing only once. Along the way they beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium,
So what went wrong?
I recently saw an interview with the head coach of Hull, Phil Brown on Sentata,
When asked why Geovanni was benched. The answer was that Brazilian didn’t train hard enough.
“that he should train like an Englishman, and play like a Brazilian”.
But isn’t it the case if you train like an Englishman, you play like an Englishman? If you train like a Brazilian, you play.......
Tottenham are the perennial underachievers, it evokes tales of every rock and movie star that died too early, so much unfulfilled potential and large amounts of nostalgia and yearly Carling Cup finals appearances.
After not winning any of their first eight games it was no surprise to see Juande Ramos was sacked, strangely he was given the role at Real Madrid soon after. The strange return of prodigal twins Jermaine Defoe and Robbie Keane still sees Spurs only Six points away from the drop zone. Harry Rednapp is a good coach and will probably seem them come out of it; the side just has too many quality players to go down you would think.
Football has the ability to throw up some inspiring and unbelievable results, and it can also deliver dull and inevitable winners and losers as well. Will Liverpool be able to catch Manchester United, Can Villa snatch a Champions League spot? Hull and Tottenham have faded but will they fade away?
Tell them Ringo:
“Tomorrow never knows”