Five Talking Points from the Premier League week 7Posted: October 7, 2013
Yet another week in the Premier League that left us with a lot to ponder heading into the upcoming international break. Liverpool are now level with Arsenal at the top, Sunderland remain rooted to the bottom but without doubt the shock of the weekend came at White Hart Lane. The league’s biggest spenders Tottenham and their star-studded line up were expected to dispose of West Ham with relative ease, but as we know, football isn’t played on paper.
The Hammers hadn’t scored a league goal away from home all season and still hadn’t won since the opening day. They didn’t just throw the form book out the window, they shredded it up. Goals from Winston Reid, Ricardo Vaz Te, and Ravel Morrison gave them their first win at White Hart Lane since 1999. Morrison had been tipped to break into the Manchester United first team at one stage but personal problems held him back and he is beginning to show his potential now. He is certainly one to watch.
Where does this leave Tottenham though? Summer signings such as Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela were left on the bench. Their spending of the Gareth Bale money was widely praised as they captured some of Europe’s finest talents, but is it a case of ‘too many cooks’ for Andre Villas Boas? The Portuguese native will struggle to play everybody at once as evidenced by the weekend’s selection and will that lead to disharmony in the dressing room? Certainly one to keep an eye on.
The Saints keep marching on
Let me take you back to January last year. Southampton were condemned for sacking the manager who gave them back-to-back promotions for Mauricio Pochettino. Is the decision still seen as the wrong one now? After another win, this time 2-0 against Swansea City, the Saints sit 4th in the table level on goal difference with 3rd placed Chelsea. Signings such Dejan Lovren, Victor Wanyama, and Daniel Osvaldo have proven to be excellent business so far this season who have all had a hand in some important triumphs to date this year.
Pochettino has stated that his long term aim is Champions League qualification. While that target will not be reached in the foreseeable future, it’s evident that there’s something special brewing on the south coast. The players mentioned above alongside talismanic frontman Ricky Lambert means they can have a really good season when they get in their stride. Something similar to Swansea’s success over the past couple of seasons is definitely an attainable goal for this team.
Palace’s future isn’t so Crystal Clear
A popular debate amongst football fans is who is the worst team to grace the Premier League since its inception. Popular choices are Mick McCarthy’s Sunderland side in 05/06, or more recently Derby County in 07/08 who only mustered one win all season. Could the latest addition to that be Ian Holloway’s Crystal Palace? Holloway has already suffered one relegation in his career and before the beginning of this season his side were favourites to be condemned to the same fate.
Their form this season hasn’t helped make people change their minds. One win in seven games (a 3-1 win against bottom-placed Sunderland) has left the Eagles second bottom with 3 points. Their latest defeat came at Anfield, against high-flyers Liverpool. For large parts of the first half Liverpool exposed the frailties in the Palace side by cutting through the defence time and time again.
Although they did improve to win the second half, there are worrying signs for Palace and surely if they put in more performances like this, they will be cut adrift at the bottom, facing a bigger uphill task than they already do.
Steve Clarke continues to defy the odds
It wasn’t too long ago that Steve Clarke was being written off as a one season wonder at West Brom. A tough start to the season left the Baggies rooted to the bottom of the table. Nicolas Anelka had apparently stunned the club by retiring and everything seemed to be falling apart in the Black Country.
One month later and that’s all changed. Morgan Amalfitano and Stephane Sessegnon have been key in gaining 4 points against Manchester United and Arsenal. The win against Manchester United could have been brushed off as a fluke because of United seemingly being in crisis, but the draw against Arsenal proved this not to be the case. They could have easily won the game.
A tough run of fixtures is coming up, including a trip to Anfield. Another steady season could be on the cards for the Baggies.