When things go badly for Tottenham, they completely implode and the entire club takes an entire step backwards. When things go badly for Chelsea, they still manage to go well. At least that is how it feels. Take the 2011/12 season, when the Blues ended up finishing sixth in the Premier League and below Spurs for the first time in more than a decade. Although they had finished in the top four, Tottenham were then denied a place in the Champions League when Chelsea overcame Bayern Münich in the final of that year’s competition and took the berth for the following campaign themselves. Even a down year in the league finished off as being one of Chelsea’s most successful ever seasons.
This trend continued last weekend: for the first time this season, in any competition, Chelsea lost a game. They were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle, who played with a fervor and vigor that absolutely meant they deserved the win. The lead for Jose Mourinho’s side at the top of the table was cut to just three points thanks to Manchester City’s 1-0 home victory over Everton, yet by the end of the day it still looked as though the Blues were closer to the title than they had been before those adverse results. That was because City’s success came at a very high price, as their talisman Sergio Aguero suffered a ligament injury in the match that will rule him out of action for at least a month – the worst possible timing given the number of fixtures that take place of the festive period. Chelsea may not be invincible, but the Premier League title does look inevitable for them this season.
As for Tottenham, it is getting harder and harder to justify the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino, since the team continues to be frustratingly inept and their home form remains woeful. Last Saturday, they were held to a draw by Crystal Palace…actually that is not true, they held the Eagles to a point, as Neil “Colin” Warnock’s side were by far the better team and were unlucky not to leave White Hart Lane with all three points. There does not even appear to be a likely solution to the issue – there is not a lineup I could point to and say – if only he played this team, then maybe we would actually play better. The midfield is a calamity that cannot break down opponents, nor offer any protection to the flimsy back four. The only players I actually rate now are Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen, with a special pass being given to Harry Kane for work rate and his goals in non-Premier League matches. If any other Spurs fan can point to a player who has played well consistently this season (and Eriksen has not even done that, but he remains our most potent goal threat and takes fantastic free-kick), then please, let me know.
Still, enough ranting about Tottenham from me, it is late on Friday evening and the games will be kicking off in less than 12 hours, so let’s get on with rounding up last weekend’s action. Arsenal lost at Stoke once again last weekend, as they found themselves 3-0 down at the break and fell 4-0 behind at one point in the second half, before that goal was ruled out and they struck back twice in the next five minutes. However, the Gunners had a good 3-1 away win against Galatasary in midweek in a meaningless Champions League game with their progress already assured, will end up getting Monaco – the weakest of the group winners – in the next round, and will finish fourth in the table, so keep booing Arsene Wenger Arsenal supporters.
Elsewhere, Manchester United overcame their own poor performance to win 2-1 at faltering Southampton; Queens Park Rangers boosted their survival hopes with a 2-0 home victory over fellow strugglers, Burnley; there were no goals in the matches between Hull and West Brom, and Liverpool vs Sunderland; West Ham kept up their title challenge with a 3-1 come-from-behind win over Swansea; and Aston Villa won the battle of the Midlands, beating Leicester City 2-1.
This weekend, Manchester United host Liverpool in a fixture that ended up 3-0 to Brendan Rodgers’ side last year, when Steven Gerrard scored two penalties and missed a third. Arsenal host Newcastle, which will end up with a comfortable 4-0 victory to the Gunners, meaning their supporters will have to keep their passive aggressive banners, suggesting that Wenger should take his leave, under their seats, next to the empty wrapper from their fennel and quinoa wraps. Elsewhere, West Ham have a trip to the North East to face Sunderland; Chelsea host Hull; Southampton travel to Burnley; and Leicester entertain Manchester City. There is a match for the purists at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace face Stoke; and two teams that progressed in the Europa League despite losses on Thursday, Tottenham and Everton, face Swansea and QPR respectively.
Last week, 1-9; Season, 64-86
ONE AND NINE?!?! Okay I’m just picking the opposite of what I want to happen in every game and hoping my curse of bad predictions continues…
Home teams listed first
Burnley vs Southampton – Away win (because I want the Saints to lose points, as they are one of many teams above Spurs.)
Chelsea vs Hull – Home win (no need to explain that.)
Crystal Palace vs Stoke – Draw (Because I couldn’t care less.)
Leicester vs Manchester City – Home win (Little explanation needed here – I end up rooting for City to win every game they aren’t playing Spurs in, because I’d rather they won the league than Chelsea, or Arsenal, or Manchester United, or Liverpool.)
Sunderland vs West Ham – Away win (Obviously.)
West Brom vs Aston Villa – Draw (See Crystal Palace vs Stoke,)
Arsenal vs Newcastle – Convincing home victory that leads to the supporters building a statue of Sir Arsene Wenger.
Manchester United vs Liverpool – Away win (This is pure dislike for Brendan “If you spend £100m, you should be winning the league…unless you’re Liverpool” Rodgers.)
Swansea vs Tottenham – Home win (which will actually happen.)
Everton vs QPR – Away win (No beef with Everton, they’re just closer in the table to us than Queens Park Rangers are.)