Random Thoughts From Premier League Gameweek 26

1. Arsenal fans can exhale and begin chanting, “All is well”. Yes, the Gunners played much better Sunday, but this is still the same club that was routed at the San Siro recently so it is difficult to get a firm grasp on just how good Arsene Wenger’s men are.  It will be interesting to see what Arsenal squad shows up next week when they travel to Anfield.

2. Manchester United continues to play down to its competition. Norwich City is a plucky club, but United should have won by a couple of goals at a minimum.  After United went up early in the match, they shut down and lost focus for about sixty minutes.  It took a late miraculous goal from the ageless Ryan Giggs to save them.  This indifferent approach already cost them three points in an earlier match against Blackburn and it is a troubling trend for a squad vying for the league title.

3. The Carling Cup final was everything that is great about English football. I am sure that Cardiff fans are disappointed with the final outcome.  But they should be proud in the way that their club pushed one of the giants of English football for well over a hundred minutes.  The final touch to the match was the sportsmanship displayed by Steven Gerrard consoling his cousin Anthony after his missed penalty kick ensured a Liverpool victory.

4. March may become the make or break month for Tottenham. Coming off a loss at Arsenal, Spurs play against Manchester United, at Everton, and at Chelsea in the upcoming month. The next four weeks could decide whether Totten entrench themselves in the third spot in the league or if they will be forced to try and stay within a Champions League place once that calendar turns to April.

5. Up 2-0 heading into halftime, it was almost assured that Newcastle would come away with the full three points against Wolves. But under the stewardship of new manager Terry Connor, Wolverhampton continued to attack and came away with a 2-2 draw at St. James’ Park.  A disappointing result for Newcastle as they still have hopes for a Champions League spot, but it was a breath of fresh air for Wolves fans.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @thehackreport

12 thoughts on “Random Thoughts From Premier League Gameweek 26”

  1. I think United played similarly last year as well. They know they don’t have to play at insane pace to beat teams and they grind out the win.

    1. I don’t really agree. During the first 20 minutes of this game they played like a league winning team but then it just goes away. No “real” Man Utd fan that I speak to can understand it.

  2. “The Carling Cup final was everything that is great about English football”

    Don’t tell that to Cardiff LOL (since they are Welsh, you know :))

  3. Some random thoughts after comparing team standings at the same point last season. After 26 games played here is this season standings:

    1. Manchester City 63
    2. Manchester United 61
    3. Tottenham 53
    4. Arsenal 46
    5. Chelsea 46

    After 26 games last season:

    1. Manchester United 57
    2. Arsenal 53
    3. Manchester City 49
    4. Tottenham 47
    5. Chelsea 45

    1. Contrary to common sentiment Manchester United are performing better this season. Last season they had strong finish with 23 points to capture EPL title with 80 points total. I expect them to have similar strong finish this year.

    2. Manchester City are the most improved team – no surprise here. Last season they had strong finish as well (22 points) to finish 3rd with 71 points. If they can repeat the same feat this season the EPL title race will go to the wire. Even City vs United game late in April may not settle it.

    3. As amazing as it sounds last season Chelsea were in the same 5th spot with just one point difference. They had the best finish (26 points) but still fell well short to catch United at 71 points.

    4. Interestingly Spurs and Arsenal are in exactly opposite spots compared to the last season. Now as we all know Arsenal’s season fell apart: they only managed 15 points and barely held to the 4th spot. Spurs had equally abysmal finish with 15 points and ended up in the 5th place. It will be interesting to see if either of these teams can avoid their traditional season end woes.

  4. Andrei, I liked that so much I thought I’d look at the other end. After 26 games this season:

    16. Wolves 22
    17. QPR 21
    18. Rovers 21
    19. Bolton 20
    20. Wigan 20

    After 26 games last season:

    16. Blackpool 29 (finished with 39)
    17. WBA 27 (finished with 47)
    18. Wigan 26 (finished with 42)
    19. West Ham 24 (finished with 33)
    20. Wolves 24 (finished with 40)

    What jumped out at me right away is how much better the bottom teams were doing last year. I think you could have won a bet on that. This year’s teams are taking a drubbing. 34 points or so may be enough to keep you up.

  5. Very nice comparisons. My memory failed me and I had to look up that Birmingham were the outsider who went down. I can’t really see that this year because I can’t see 3 of those bottom 5 doing enough to catch up, the gap is wider and even a poor and very weak team like Swansea (just kidding) will not be caught at this point.

    1. Aww, Tony, you should have left out the “just kidding”……just to get a rise out of The Gaffer. It would have been, dare I say, “Epic”? 😀

        1. I have been somewhat concerned about the Swans’ chances of staying up (thinking about Blackpool last year). However, looking at my own stats it now appears that a few more points should do it for them. I agree with Tony. I don’t see any of the current bottom teams pulling off what WBA did last year. Hoping Cardiff move up…..just because. :-)

          1. The way Swansea play, the two teams that would be the toughest opponents are Norwich and Stoke City. And we were “blessed” to face them one after another. Norwich and Stoke have shown the way to beat Swansea, but not every team is going to adopt those tactics. It’ll be a different situation this weekend when Swansea plays Wigan at the DW Stadium. And even against Manchester City, as tough as it may sound, Swansea will have a little more time on the ball than against Norwich and Stoke.

            I think it’s just a blip in an otherwise great season. The Swans will march on, and get the needed points to find safety.

            The Gaffer

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