Premier League Review (Feb 11th and 12th)

Published: Feb 13, 2014 10:38am EST
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Feb 13, 2014 @ 11:31am EST

 

The weather affected some of the fixtures this week and so you will not be able to see a review of either the Manchester City against Sunderland or the Everton game against Crystal Palace. The cancelation of these games may not, and in fact was not primarily due to playing conditions but more so for safety concerns of the supporters traveling to and from the venue. 


For Manchester City in particular the Greater Manchester Police and the clubs safety steward made the decision based on the bad weather and the predicted escalation of the bad weather. Manchester City center was battered by 100 mph plus winds causing tractor trailers to overturn, trees to blow down and other structures compromised. At the time of this going to press there was no word as to when the fixture would be made up.


There were eight games however which took place so lets have a look at what impact they have made on the Premier League. 

Cardiff City played host to Aston Villa with neither side currently safe from relegation. Cardiff City were two points away from relegation safety as they went into this game. New Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not had the desired effect on the team since he replaced a reasonably successful Malky Mackay. Again here both teams showed exactly why they are in the position they are with a goal less draw. 


The visitors will possibly be happier with the point, being away to a rival but for Cardiff the pressure and seriousness of the situation is becoming very clear.

Southampton continued their good run on Tuesday night against another side doing quite well. Hull City are not safe yet, with their current total points leaving them only three points above the relegation zone, but you feel that the Tigers, under Steve Bruce, will have enough come the end of the season. 


For Southampton the win saw them leapfrog Newcastle into eighth position, although the Newcastle side could restore their position 24 hours later when they hosted Tottenham. The win for Southampton means their disappointing blip toward the end of last year is now behind them and they could be eyeing a potential Europa League spot. 

Another two relegation rivals met on Tuesday in London when Norwich City traveled down to West Ham. It wasn’t that long ago that calls were being made from the West Ham faithful to remove and replace their boss, Sam Allardyce. At the time my point against this was who would you get? Allardyce has a history of getting teams unstuck from this position and therefore I would argue they already had the right man. 


Another win on Tuesday, like Saturday with two quick goals have now seen the Hammers move up to 11th in the League, although that is still far from safe. 


Norwich, on the other hand, are still not scoring goals and falling like a stone. They played well to get a draw against Manchester City at the weekend but all that work was undone here in the last six minutes. After spending a lot of money on attacking players I think Hughton would be pulling his hair out that they have now scored less than last season. Their last four games will be a big test against four top clubs and hopefully the League is somewhat sorted out at the top half of the table then Norwich might be able to get a few results from those games, but they need to start scoring.

The last game on Tuesday saw current League leaders, Chelsea, travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Brom. The hosts were more than matching their opponents for most of the half until a strike from Branoslav Ivanovic put the visitors a goal up right before half time. Credit to the Baggies and coach Pepe Mel though and positive, attacking substitutions saw them get their reward minutes from the end of the game. Victor Anichebe rose above David Luis and gently guided his header into the far post. 


Make no mistake, this is points dropped for Chelsea and with both Manchester City (at this time) and Arsenal to play on Wednesday the Special One could actually drop to third position. 

So now to Wednesday and the match between Arsenal and Manchester United. Early on there were some good attacking moves from both sides as they probed the others defense but in truth it just seemed that both sides were just determined not to lose. Arsenal, of course, wanted to put the Liverpool hammering behind them and Manchester United conceded that last goal to drop two points against Fulham on Sunday. A total of seven shots on target is nowhere near enough for the game to be considered an attacking master class. 


Although it was enough to see Arsenal reduce the gap on Chelsea it must now surely mean that Manchester United will not be taking place in the Champions League next season. 

It was another disaster for Alan Pardew and Newcastle United on Wednesday night with the home side shipping four goals on the way to their defeat. Joe Kinnear recently left his role at Newcastle in which he was responsible for the signing of players. He signed no one in his two years there and let Yohan Cabaye, one of their best players, leave without a replacement coming in. He has now left Alan Pardew to try to salvage what was looking like a good season only a month ago.


Tottenham are on completely the other trajectory under their manager, Tim Sherwood. Just before Christmas Tottenham were level on points with their hosts but behind on goal difference. Now they find themselves 13 points ahead with a much better goal difference. So good is the Tottenham push that they now find themselves only 7 points behind the current leaders, and Champions League spots just ahead of them.

The other 2:45 ET kick off on Wednesday saw Fulham host Liverpool as they tried to build on that important point at Old Trafford at the weekend. They almost did it too with A Kolo Toure own goal putting the hosts a goal up early on. Liverpool equalized just before the half through Daniel Sturridge before Kieron Richardson restored the hosts lead. Less than nine minutes later Liverpool were level again and when Daniel Sturridge was brought down in the area in the final moments by Sascha Riether, Captain Steven Gerrard stepped up. The coolest man on the pitch converted and despite late pressure from Fulham the Merseyside club held on. 

One final game, and later kick off of 3pm ET had two more struggling sides struggle. Peter Crouch scored the opener for Stoke after quarter of an hour only to be canceled out by Chico Flores of Swansea less than ten minutes in to the second half. It would be the Stoke manager who would be most disappointed with the result, not least because they had the lead but also in the ease of the goal and the fact that you always need to be vigilant in the opening ten or so minutes after taking the lead or restarting the game. The result leave Stoke three points above relegation and Swansea four, neither side is safe and certainly both will have to make these kinds of games count.       


 

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Jason Bardwell
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