Premier League wrap: Three lessons as Hazard shines and Spurs stumble
After their Champions League misery, English clubs responded in style with a gluttony of goals, drama and contentious decisions
Hazard should learn from his record-topping colleague
Eden Hazard, a £32m summer signing for Chelsea, is a unique talent. He burst onto the scene at the start of the season but has failed to produce his magic week in week out. For the skills at his disposal, the Belgian should have scored far more goals this campaign. His stunning recent strikes in the Europa League and against Manchester United in the FA Cup were complimented by another fine solo effort against West Ham on Saturday. He’s explosive but his strike on Saturday was only his eighth league goal this season. Hazard should be taking notes from double centurion team-mate Frank Lampard in training – the evergreen midfielder keeps notching up goals for Chelsea. Before the club ferry Lampard out in the summer, Hazard and company must take up the mantle and start firing in the goals.
League needs better structure for retrospective punishment
How Wigan chairman Dave Whelan can defend Callum McManaman’s horrendous high, dangerous and reckless challenge on Massadio Haidara is just incredible. Yes, the young winger was going for the ball but the ferocity of his challenge, along with his studs raised, nullifies any argument defending him. The linesman, who had a perfect view, has a lot to answer to for not flagging up the incident to referee Mark Halsey, who managed to miss it. There isn’t any constructive consistency in the game – if the tackle had broken Haidara’s leg, which it easily could have, then there would be far more outcry. Incidents like this must be retrospectively punished, he simply cannot get away with that. Sadly, the incident overshadows the fantastic resolve by Wigan to grab a vital three points. Once again we have learnt Wigan have the fight to avoid the drop again.
The top four race will go to the wire
Tottenham threw away a 12-point lead over arch rivals Arsenal last year in the race for a Champions League place and only lost out due to Chelsea’s triumph last May, however they appear to be have the jitters again losing to Fulham and Liverpool in consecutive league games. Chelsea seem to have recovered momentum, beating West Ham 2-0 and have their attacking trio behind Fernando Torres back to their best. The decision by Andre Villas-Boas to not sign a striker in January is even more baffling now considering the amount of fixtures they have and the woeful form of Emmanuel Adebayor. Everton cruised past the lacklustre defending champions Manchester City to keep their noses in the hunt, while Arsenal’s win at Swansea signals shoots of recovery, especially as they have a game in hand on Tottenham. A run of results is vital as the season runs to the end. Consequently a third successive defeat for Tottenham at Swansea in two weeks could be disastrous.