“Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
Here comes your nine-teenth nervous breakdown.”
As soccer continues it’s “invasion” of American shores, I find it fit to pay tribute to the original British Invasion of the 1960s. Just like the Barclays Premier League, the Rolling Stones are synonymous with English culture. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are household names around the globe and are the original rockstars. 19th Nervous Breakdown was a song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during their 1965 tour of the United States. Although not as popular as other hits of the Stones, its lyrics are relevant to many Premier League supporters.
The power rankings are consistently being shuffled as clubs jockey for their final positions in the table. Liverpool remain at the top and can breathe a little easier as rivals Chelsea and Manchester City dropped points when the Black Cats crossed their paths. Arsenal have regained control of the race for the final Champions League spot. The bottom is arguably more exciting than the top as Sunderland, Cardiff City, and Fulham have come alive in their fight for survival. This is all without mentioning the great run of form occurring at Crystal Palace.
As the Premier League moves towards its final three weeks of the season, nervous breakdowns are sure to be abundant. Lets just hope unlike Jagger and the Stones, we all can get some satisfaction at seasons end.
“Start Me Up”
1. Liverpool – The Reds could not have scripted a better couple of weeks themselves. Victories over Manchester City and Norwich City, along with their top competitors slipping up. A victory over Chelsea this weekend and the title celebrations can start up at Anfield.
2. Manchester City - Vincent Kompany may rue his error at Anfield for a long time. Not only did it give Liverpool the winning goal, but effectively took the wind out of City’s sails. The Citizens need to be perfect the rest of the way to have any shot of winning the title.
3. Chelsea – Is Jose Mourinho losing his mystique the second time around at Chelsea? The Blues controlled their own destiny, only to squander it at home to Sunderland. In order to get back into the title hunt, three points is a must at Liverpool.
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
(Champions League Contention)
4. Arsenal - The Gunners are making their annual last season push for the final Champions League spot. The doom and gloom has subsided around the Emirates as Arsenal have taken care of both West Ham and Hull. Arsene Wenger must be smiling looking at the final fixtures of the season, well knowing his coveted “trophy” is nearly in his grasp. Up next for Arsenal is a local pub team using the name Newcastle United.
5. Everton - Although they defeated Manchester United in the David Moyes Derby over the weekend. I can’t help but think they blew their chance at the final Champions League spot. That home loss to Crystal Palace might sting for awhile.
6. Tottenham Hotspur - Spurs got back to their winning ways with a 3-1 victory over relegation candidate Fulham. In other news, time is apparently running out on Tim Sherwood as Tottenham manager. Massimiliano Allegri is rumored to be the next man in charge at White Hart Lane.
“Sympathy for the Devil”
7. Manchester United - The Red Devils have consistently been in some sort of limbo, struggling between mid table and Champions League contention all season. The past weekends performance at Everton, effectively summarized their failed campaign. Rumors are swirling that embattled manager David Moyes will be relieved of his duties shortly.
8. Crystal Palace – Palace is on five game winning streak that includes wins against Chelsea and Everton. Manager of the year candidate Tony Pulis and his men might have the final say in the title race. Their next two fixtures are at home to Manchester City and Liverpool. Get your popcorn ready!
9. Stoke City - Although their run of form came to an end against Chelsea. The Potters responded with 4 points in their past two fixtures. It should be an interesting game this weekend at the Britannia with Spurs coming to town.
10. Southampton - Its hard to really look into what is going on at Southampton. Their recent form has been dodgy at best, but with 49 points who can fault them with safety assured.
11. Hull City - Good news is that the Tigers are in the FA Cup Final and are nearly out of the relegation scrap. Bad news is that points are still needed to assure survival. A win at the weekend against Fulham would assure them safety.
12. Swansea City – The Swans got back to their winning ways against Newcastle this weekend, then again who doesn’t win against Newcastle now days. The Swans are at 36 points and appear to be just one more win away from safety.
13. West Ham United – The Hammers are the safest of the bunch at 37 points. Unfortunately they have remained there due to a three game slide. Survival can be guaranteed with points against West Brom.
14. Sunderland - Where do you rank a side that surely looks to be going down, then nearly defeats Manchester City at the Etihad, and follows it with defeating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Emotions will be on a knifes edge during this weekends match against Cardiff City. The loser will surely have their fate sealed.
15. West Bromwich Albion - The Baggies are in an awkward position, teetering at the edge of relegation with a game in hand. Drawing Tottenham was a good result for West Brom, but more points are desperately needed.
16. Aston Villa – The Villans are without star striker Christian Benteke and have only gotten 1 point in their last five fixtures. Points must be achieved in the next two fixtures, before they close the season at Manchester City and Tottenham.
17. Fulham – Fulham’s escape route consists of Hull City, Stoke City, and Crystal Palace. A win at Craven Cottage against Hull, must be seen as the kick starter to possibly save their Premier League aspirations.
“Doom and Gloom”
18. Cardiff City -.Winning against Southampton and drawing to Stoke have gave Cardiff a glimmer of hope in the race for survival. It surely will be do or die for them at Sunderland this weekend.
19. Norwich City – The Canaries dropped their fourth straight and relegation looks to be an inevitability. Although they currently sit at 32 points and 17th in the table, the final three fixtures are brutal. Manchester United and Chelsea away, only to say goodbye to the Premier League at home to Arsenal.
“Paint It Black”
20. Newcastle United – The Toon’s streak of ineptitude has seen them capitulate to the bottom of my rankings. They are a guaranteed three points to all who play them, just as they are unfortunately guaranteed to be in the Premier League next year. An overhaul is desperately needed in the summer, or else they might be here in the actual table this time next year.