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Premier League Matchday 33: Key Observations

 Premier League Matchday 33: Key Observations

With so much of the focus in the build up to this Premier League weekend being on Manchester United against Chelsea, it was unfortunate that many of the other big clashes didn’t get as much attention. Especially at this time of the season where every point means so much.

I managed to watch 3.5 games by Saturday afternoon — Man United against Chelsea, the first half of Arsenal versus Wolves (before I took my daughter to play her AYSO game where she scored a goal), then Sunderland against Tottenham and Burnley versus Manchester City. Since the Welsh derby between Cardiff and Swansea occurred at the same time as my kid’s AYSO game, I have that cued up for later.

Here are my observations from the games I’ve watched so far this weekend:

Sunderland 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Bloody hell. What an exciting game at the Stadium of Light in the match between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur today.

The game had everything. A shock early goal by Darren Bent to get the pulse racing. Sunderland going two nil up against the odds with a penalty by Bent. And then Bent had two more penalties but Heurelho Gomes managed to brilliantly save both of them.

Even with Sunderland two-nil up with 30 minutes to go, their lead looked in jeopardy especially as the rain poured down, which made the pitch more slippery and unpredictable. And minutes later Peter Crouch pulled one back for Spurs to make it 2-1 to Sunderland. You could then sense the game turning in Tottenham’s favor, and their supporters felt it too as they began singing “When The Spurs Go Marching In.”

This was a very open game which was very entertaining to watch. Both teams had plenty to play for. But there definitely was a sense that while Heurelho Gomes was doing every he possibly could to keep Spurs in the game by making great saves, Tottenham up front was failing to capitalize on their good fortune.

So when Bolo Zenden had a chance to score from a cross into the box by Sunderland, the way he took the shot and launched it into the top corner was a thing of beauty and definitely the highlight of the game. The 3-1 scoreline to Sunderland put the game out of Tottenham’s reach and has dented Spurs’s chances of finishing in fourth place.

Burnley 1-6 Manchester City

When you’re in front 3-0 within six minutes and Burnley supporters start walking out of Turf Moor, you know things have got to be bad for Burnley manager Brian Laws. Manchester City’s attacks in the first part of the game reminded me of how dominant Barcelona was against Arsenal. But in this case, Manchester City actually found the back of the net with the chances they created.

It’s not often that Tevez, Bellamy, Adebayor and Johnson get to play at the same time for City, but when they do, they’re explosive. The test for Mancini is hoping that all of those players can remain healthy and injury-free.

For Burnley, it’s incredible to see how poor this team is performing now compared to the earlier part of this season. Just to think that this was practically the same side that beat Manchester United at Turf Moor. The biggest part of Burnley’s problem is that they gave City too much time on the ball and failed to pressure them. City had all the time in the world to pick out the perfect pass and their centre forwards had all the space they needed to control and shoot. Burnley just seemed to stand around and weren’t interested in winning the ball back.

When City made it 4-0 on the 20th minute through a header from Patrick Vieira, more supporters streamed out of Turf Moor. It seems like the players and the fans know now that relegation is a probability rather than a possibility especially if the Clarets play the way they did today.

For those Burnley supporters who did stay in the ground, how wonderful it was to see them standing up and twirling their scarves around in support of their club as well as singing “Come On Burnley” and “We Are Burnley” over and over. Most club supporters would be booing their players and hurling obscenities at their club, but not the Burnley supporters who did Lancashire and their town proud.

After Manchester City made it 5-0 when Adebayor was wide open to knock the ball past Jensen, I was hoping that Burnley could at least score one goal in the second half to give something back to the loyal Burnley supporters — those who didn’t leave Turf Moor like the majority of supporters did at half time.

In the second half, the pitch resembled an ice skating rink from the heavy rains at half time. But while it slowed the play down quite a bit, Manchester City managed a sixth goal through Vincent Kompany. It was an almost identical goal to Vieira’s in the first half. And yet again, Burnley defenders didn’t attack the cross.

Joy finally came for Burnley when Steven Fletcher scored a goal in the 71st minute just as the sun was starting to come out on a dark day in Lancashire. Like I mentioned earlier, it was the least that Burnley could do for their rain soaked supporters.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

8 Responses to Premier League Matchday 33: Key Observations

  1. Evan says:

    Manchester City were excellent today. Hope they can continue like that against Birmingham next week. 4th is theirs to lose.

  2. maw4bc says:

    foxsoccer.tv complaint:

    The audio is never in sync with the video during replays. This really angers me. Does everyone else have this problem as well?

  3. The Gaffer says:

    maw4bc, the same thing happened to me today. The biggest game of the season for me — Cardiff against Swansea — but the video on demand was completely out of sync with the audio. The audio was about 10 seconds ahead of the video, which ruined the game for me. I ended up turning the volume off. But then what fun is there in watching a game that feels like a silent movie?

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

    • maw4bc says:

      I emailed foxsoccer.tv about it. I’ll let you know what their response is. This has happened quite often to me. I have had to do the same thing as you (silence game) and it completely ruins the game.

      Here is what I wrote to foxsoccer.tv:
      “When I watch replays of matches on foxsoccer.tv the audio and video are never in sync. This is a major problem as I pay 15+$’s a month for your service. What steps are you making to correct this problem?”

      We will see what their response is, and I will post back here.

      • maw4bc says:

        Here was their response:
        “Dear Customer,

        Thank you for contacting us.

        Can you please install the latest version of Flash from this website: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/
        Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

        Sincerely,

        support”

        Needless to say that was not the problem. I emailed them back to tell them that that did not help one bit. I am guessing they have no clue how to fix the problem as it has been a consistent problem the whole season.

  4. brn442 says:

    Actually, I thought the Burnley Man City game was the most fascinating.

    It’s not too often in this often sterile multi-million pound game that you see it stripped down to its essence. Burnley is on a downward spiral yes, but it was more about everything going Man City’s way in the space of 20 mins. To be fair to Burnley, Barca should’ve had the same score-line after 20 mins against Arsenal – this is truly a game of inches.

    It seemed at one point the entire stadium would walk out but:

    Credit to the “true” fans that stayed, embraced the weather and supported their team with their non-stop singing.

    Credit to Burnley for responding in a dignified and professional fashion by still going forward in spite of the scoreline and to the City players for not stopping their full frontal assault.

    And credit to that downpour and the water-logged pitch that reminded us of our own past “glory days”, whether as school boys or as Sunday league players – how much fun this game can be regardless of the conditions.

    Thankfully no one got injured.

    • The Gaffer says:

      brn442, I agree. It was one of those games which was like a car wreck where you couldn’t look away. I loved it, but was most impressed by the Burnley supporters.

      As for injuries, none happened in that game. But bloody hell, George Boateng looked really hurt in the Stoke v Hull game. It looked like his eyes rolled in to the back of his head and he may have swallowed his tongue. Let’s hope he recovers soon.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  5. brn442 says:

    Oh dear, I just saw a glimpse of that match, hopefully he will make a full recovery as did Terry a couple of years ago when something similar happened to him in that cup final.

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