Having a game in hand can be a huge advantage for clubs fighting relegation, chasing the title or attempting a top four finish. Being where you want to be in the table and having another chance to improve your standing can be a positive way to approach a match. That said, most would agree that already having secured the points on offer is a better situation to find oneself in than to have to play an extra midweek match in an already crowded portion of the season. Such it is though that with European and Cup commitments, ten Premier League clubs found themselves having to play catch up this week.
The race for L4 continues to heat up as Manchester City lost at home to Everton. What a massive chance this was for City to jump into 4th spot now having played an equal number of matches as Tottenham. A potential flash point occurred in stoppage time when City boss Roberto Mancini shoved Everton boss David Moyes to knock the ball from Moyes and return it to play. The two bosses had to be separated and were both sent to the stands for the remaining moments. Regardless of the shove, City missed a great chance to prove to the rest of the league how desperate they are for fourth.
Honorable Mentions –
Chelsea FC, Starting Eleven – I normally don’t mention entire teams in this section of the post, but Chelsea impressed Wednesday night with a 5-0 thrashing away to Portsmouth. After the week or so they’ve had in the league and crashing out of Europe, Chelsea proved they’re serious about staying in this title race by jumping back into second and now sit 1 point from leaders Manchester United.
Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba (who were both recently featured on this post) both grabbed a brace while Frank Lampard headed home a late goal as Chelsea ran rampant on Pompey pretty much all night. We all keep saying it, but the end of this Premier League season is sure to be one of the better finishes in recent memory.
Premier League Footballer of the Week –
Scott Parker, West Ham United– The Hammers really have hit a bad run of form in recent weeks having now lost five Premier League matches in a row. Their 3-0 drubbing of Hull City in February seems like last year as West Ham slip further and further down the table only to stop in 17th, just three points clear of the drop. Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola has to be odds on favorite for the next sacking or new owners Gold & Sullivan face an enormous financial mountain to climb from the base of the Coca-Cola Championship next season.
If there was a bright spot in losing 3-1 at home to Wolves, it was certainly Scott Parker. I’ve been wanting to mention him on this post in some capacity for a few weeks now only for his efforts to be beaten out by more worthy participants. Parker’s first half surge forward that saw his right-footed shot curl post Marcus Hahnemann only to hit the post and spiral across the goal line was a game changing moment that could have led to a better result for West Ham had the ball somehow found the net. Parker didn’t give up though, he tracked down his rebound and flicked the ball towards goal only to see Hahnemann stop the shot and watched in anguish as a Wolves defender cleared the ball off the line. The potential opening goal for West Ham was so close, but just wasn’t to be.
Throughout the season, Parker has displayed what the majority of the West Ham team has lacked. A sense of pride and a bit of passion. When I watch Parker, I get the feeling that he genuenly wants to play at Upton Park and lead his team to do the same. He’s a hard tackling player who likes to get forward in attack, strong on the ball and links up play well from central midfield. It’s unclear whether West Ham have the bottle to stay up, but if Parker’s team mates pay attention to his example on the field, they’ll clearly have a better shot.