Blog by: Mihir
As the dust settles on a breathtaking fifth week of the 2013 Barclay’s Premier league season, the points table makes for interesting reading. The London clubs have a formidable representation in the top four with Merseyside staking a strong claim for stiff competition. Five games is not ample enough time to predict the season, however the early bird has a lot of fascinating facts.
The Gunners are in a rampant mood and a certain Aaron Ramsey is one of the reasons behind it. The #WengerOut brigade threatened to start early as Christian Benteke put the Gunners to the sword in the first game at the Emirates. Wenger kept his calm and shipped in this wizard of ‘OZ(IL)’.
Oliver Giroud narrowly missed his chance to make it 5 from 5 as Arsenal buried Stoke City with the most unexpected players writing their names on the score sheet. Arsenal are sitting pretty at the top of the table with 12 points from 5 games, some respite after having drawn into a very tough Champions League group with Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.
Another high flying London club have been Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. By far the most active club in the transfer window, they bought as many as eight new players and sold a similar number. Among their marquee signings were Ajax’s Christian Eriksen, Roma starlet Erik Lamela, Valencia hitman Roberto Soldado and the man who scored in the FIFA Club World Cup final Paulinho.
They no more look the one man Welsh Army and with the help of a tidy defence and an innovative midfield are safely second. They also said sayonara to Gareth Bale, who completed his 85 million pound move to Real Madrid earlier this month, trying out his Spanish at the unveiling, sending the Madrid supporters into a frenzy.
Manuel Pallegrini is enjoying the better cup of tea as far as managers in Manchester are concerned. The noisy neighbors were at their noisy best and handed a lesson in footballing masterclass to a lacklustre ‘van Persie – less’ Manchester United. The new boys Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas are enjoying life at the Ethiad.
Stevan Jovetic however, has hardly got any playing time and now finds him self as a fourth string striker behind Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Negredo. City looked menacing even without the little Spanish magician – David Silva. The signs seem more than ominous and one can only imagine the havoc that could be caused when he makes it back from injury.
The Red Devils had a lacklustre transfer window, however managing to retain the services of Wayne Rooney can be considered as an event of immense significance. Marouane Fellaini is another very versatile player and his aerial ability will provide United with an added dimension, with the likes of Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashley Young on the wings. A must mention is Adnan Januzaj, who just seems to be the breath of fresh air United need.
The return of the Special One to Stamford Bridge was surely the headline of this transfer window and expectations of an immediate impact were evident among Chelsea fans.
Mourinho’s tansfer window tactics have been pretty unexpected to say the least. The signing of André Schürrle for 20 odd million pounds from Bayer Leverkusen was Mourinho’s first act at the Bridge. Samuel Eto’o was a last minute replacement for Wayne Rooney, however the faith shown in the 32-year-old was puzzling.
A heartbreaking loss to Bayern Munich in the Super Cup in which Romelu Lukaku missed the penalty which sent the Super Cup to Germany seemed to trigger an indifferent Chelsea form with an almost shocking repercussion of loaning Lukaku out. The recent triumph in the London Derby seems to have had a calming effect and all is not as bad as it seems.
The Merseyside clubs are thriving and the 12 million ‘Bargain Buy’ from Chelsea just cant stop scoring. The prophecy of every Liverpool fan saying ‘that this is going to be our year’ comes with a points table justification this time. Roberto Martinez is having a better time at Everton than Moyes is having at Manchester. He has managed to keep Leighton Baines at Everton and add the services of Lukaku, Arouna Kone and James McCarthy.
Another player that has impressed this season is Ross Barkley, providing a perfect balance of youth, exuberance and skill. The battle for Merseyside supremacy will be a rather tight affair this year.
The mid-table is not full of surprises, but the absence of Sunderland is pretty noticeable, a testimony to the sacking of Paolo Di Canio after less than half a dozen games played. Sunderland are in dire need of points and change in playing style.
The new boys are finding life difficult in the Premier League, Crystal Palace more than others. Ian Holloway might be the next contender to face the axe. A recent run of good games has seen Hull City ‘ The Tigers’ climb up the ladder. Cardiff city were involved in the most entertaining game of the season as they beat City 3-2 with Fraizer Campbell putting in a more than memorable performance.
As always the Premier League promises a more than feisty battle for glory and a cut throat entry into the Champions League. The relegation battle is morphing into a sizzling one and the smart money would be on Sunderland to make the drop.