Gameweek 15 of the Barclays Premier League was a brilliant example of just how exciting and intriguing the league can be. There were plenty of goals scored, a few standout performances and some entertaining matches both at the top and bottom of the table. Heading into the weekend, I had high hopes for Bolton v Blackpool which ended up a fantastically open match that ended 2-2. It was a good advert for positive, attacking football and my hope is that both sides continue to play in such a manner and that wins will come to them.
Spurs beat Liverpool 2-1 at home in a game that seems to be defining their kind of season: a little shaky at times, quite brilliant at times, and quite unabashedly Tottenham throughout. Manchester United decided to get out of second gear and into third, and who better to make that transition against than Blackburn at home? The Reds 7-1 thrashing was a case study in efficient, attacking football, while who would have guessed United could score seven without Rooney appearing even once on the score sheet?
Chelsea continue to trudge through November with another result not equaling three points. Having earned a point in their away match at Newcastle, the Champions have now earned four out of a possible 15 points in their last five matches. Definitely not the form of Champs while much uncertainty continues to surround that of the future of current boss Carlo Ancelotti.
While December now approaches, the top five teams in the standings are separated by only five points. With so many fixtures yet to be played and quite a few to come in just the next few weeks, how many of the five title contenders will be left with a realistic shot of winning the league come the new year?
Honorable Mentions –
Luka Modric, Tottenham – Spurs first goal was credited as an own goal to Martin Skrtel, but it was Modric’s fantastic run past Liverpool’s back line at pace and his cross into the box which forced Skrtel into the error. In a match that ebbed and flowed and witnessed both sides enjoy good spells, it was Modric for Spurs who pulled the strings going forward and who remained a threat throughout.
Modric’s qualities are no secret to Premier League fans. He’s a quick, nimble and smart midfield play-maker who can play central or on the left side. He’s an exceptional passer of the ball and is good getting forward. Spurs inability to keep clean sheets this season has only been matched by their ability to get forward, create and essentially outscore their opponents. Modric, along with Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart, has been key in that strength for Spurs.
Chris Brunt, West Brom– In a match mostly overshadowed by the traditionally bigger clubs in the Premier League, West Brom’s 1-4 victory over Everton at Goodison Park remains one of the most impressive of the weekend. Having secured only one point from their last five matches, the Baggies were in desperate need of a positive result after such a fine start to the season.
On Saturday, Brunt scored one and assisted on another as West Brom got the exact result they so desperately needed. Brunt’s assist came when his well placed corner found the head of Paul Scharner who opened up the scoring in the 15th minute. Ten minutes later, Brunt scored one himself when his stunning free kick beat a flailing Tim Howard in goal.
Scott Parker, West Ham – The incredibly influential Scott Parker was back for West Ham this weekend and scored the Hammers’ third and final goal of the day. Important for West Ham not only because of his abilities as a footballer, but also because of his leadership, Parker embodies the kind of gusto West Ham needs if they’ve any realistic ambition of staying up this season.
Strong in midfield, good in the tackle, a good passer and with the ability to get forward to score, Parker, who was all of these things on Saturday, led West Ham to see off Wigan at home 3-1. The win keeps West Ham bottom but supporters won’t be complaining too much about only their second win this season.
Premier League Footballer of the Week –
Dimitar Berbatov, Manchester United– Was there ever going to be a suprise here? Unlikely. United were able to put seven past Blackburn while Berbatov had a staggering five to lead the Reds back to the top of the Premier League. So what do you say about a player who was able to score five times in league play?
Berbatov was at his best on Saturday and was able to set a new standard as it pertains to finishing. Widely the beneficiary of quite the impressive team performance, Berbatov was killer in front of goal in actually taking his chances but must give a portion of the credit to his teammates. Wayne Rooney, Nani, Anderson and Michael Carrick were all superb for United in setting up Berbatov.
While the service he received was excellent, Berbatov was quite the striker on Saturday. Finishing from a myriad of angles and making the best of his opportunities, Berbatov enters into the Premier League history books as one of only four players to ever score five goals in the Premier League.