This week in: English Football – All Tied At the Top

United's Berbatov now has four goals in 2 games

Manchester United drew level on points with their local rivals, City, on Boxing Day, as they recorded their second consecutive 5-0 win.  This time the victims were Wigan, who can feel hard done by as they were reduced to 10 men before half-time when their striker, Conor Sammon, was adjudged to have elbowed Michael Carrick in the face – instant replays suggested a booking would have more than sufficed and the red card has since been rescinded by the FA.  The visitors were already a goal down by that point, but a subsequent hat-trick by Dimitar Berbatov and another from Valencia gave United another convincing victory.  Meanwhile, City dropped two points as they were held to a goalless draw in their game at West Bromwich Albion.  Despite Mancini’s side having 62% of the possession and having 18 attempts on goal, they were unable to find a breakthrough and left the Midlands with their lead over United having been reduced down to just goal difference.

In the chasing pack, Chelsea were held to a draw in their game against Fulham, while Arsenal were also able to only pick up a solitary match in their home match with Wolves – the visitors survived a barrage of attacks from the Gunners and managed to gain a share in the spoils despite playing the final 15 minutes with 10 men after Milijas was sent off for a foul on Arteta.  The other team from North London, Tottenham, picked up all three points away to Norwich, who were unable to deal with the pace and skill of Gareth Bale – the Welsh winger scored both of the goals in a 2-0 victory for Spurs.  Tottenham now have 38 points through 17 games, which would have put them top at this stage last season but they still trail the Manchester clubs by 7 points, albeit with the game in hand against Everton still to be played.

Liverpool were held to a draw at home to bottom-of-the table Blackburn, and the games between Stoke and Aston Villa; Swansea and QPR; and Sunderland and Everton also ended up with honours even.  Newcastle returned to winning ways in their game away at Bolton, leaving Owen Coyle’s men deep in the relegation zone, already 4 points away from safety.

There are 20 games spread out over the next 6 days, with every Premiership team facing 2 games in that span of time – this is really a time where teams can make up ground on their rivals, or slip out of contention/further into danger at either end of the table.  It also gives me a chance to improve my overall scores in my weekly predictions – or at the same time I could fall even further away from averaging .500…

Predictions

Last week, 5-5; Season 66-83 

Friday December 30th, 2011

Liverpool vs Newcastle – Home win

Saturday December 31st, 2011

Manchester United vs Blackburn – Home win

Arsenal vs QPR – Home win

Bolton vs Wolves – Draw

Chelsea vs Aston Villa – Home win

Norwich vs Fulham – Away win

Stoke vs Wigan – Draw

Swansea vs Tottenham – Away win

Sunday January 1st, 2012

West Brom vs Everton – Home win

Sunderland vs Manchester City – Away win

Monday January 2nd, 2012

Aston Villa vs Swansea – Draw

Blackburn vs Stoke – Away win

QPR vs Norwich – Draw

Wolves vs Chelsea – Away win

Fulham vs Arsenal – Home win

Tuesday January 3rd, 2012

Tottenham vs West Brom – Home win

Wigan vs Sunderland – Away win

Manchester City vs Liverpool – Home win

Wednesday January 4th, 2012

Everton vs Bolton – Home win

Newcastle vs Manchester United – Away win

 

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