Premier League wrap: Chelsea leapfrog Liverpool as Arsenal win
Premier League wrap: Trevor Murray reflects on the weekend's action as the Blues leapfrogged the Reds into second place
Spurs rue missed chances as Roo takes his
On Sunday afternoon, Spurs and Manchester United played out a riveting 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane with neither side capable of edging the tie despite a host of good chances on offer. The Red Devils once again were forced to rely on Wayne Rooney who enjoyed a splendid afternoon against the Spurs back-four by netting a brace – one of which was gifted to him by hero-turned-villain Kyle Walker. And as for the home side, it was two long-range efforts that helped them to a share of the spoils as Sandro and the aforementioned Walker both popped up to score a pair of memorable goals. In the grand scheme of things, it’s unlikely that this match will help either side too much in terms of trying to break into the top-four, but as a spectacle in itself it was a delight to watch with a great deal of passion and energy on display. Granted, Andre Villa-Boas will be happy that his side recovered well from their 6-0 drubbing away to City and David Moyes wil be glad to see his side showing constant signs of improvement – the result means that they are unbeaten in all competitions in their last 12 matches.
Ramsey steals the show at Cardiff
In their Saturday afternoon kick-off at the Cardiff City Stadium, Arsenal safely navigated their way past Malky Mackay’s Cardiff on a score-line of 3-0 thanks largely to Aaron Ramsey’s man-of-the-match display. The former Cardiff youngster proved to be the ultimate difference between the sides as he scored a memorable brace against his former club, and the scenes on show of mutual respect between the 22-year-old and the Bluebirds supporters was a nice added touch to proceedings. In truth, the Gunners did very well to get out of this away trip, especially considering just how capable Cardiff have been at throwing up upsets. They already drew against Manchester United towards the end of November so it’s easy to see just how much of a potential banana skin they can be, but one has to give credit to Arsene Wenger’s troops for how they performed with Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and of course, Ramsey all putting in excellent shift right across the park. However, a word or two must be said of Wojciech Szczesny’s part in the victory as he helped keep Frazier Campbell and others quiet whenever they threatened his goal – no doubt, having the right custodian between the sticks will be just as vital to Arsenal’s title bid as their tiki-taka midfield play.
Hull City throw up yet another shock
Already, this season has had more than its fair share of upsets and coups, but for Hull City to defeat Liverpool 3-1 at home, it might just be time to throw out the form book altogether. Steve Bruce’s men ensured that this week it was the Reds’ turn to stumble while the rest of the top four all recorded potentially crucial wins in the run-up to the Christmas. And it was clear for all to see exactly whose side Lady Luck was on in the early stages of the affair after the Tigers opened the scoring through a Jake Livermore deflected shot off Martin Skrtel. Even the best efforts of Liverpool talisman Steven Gerrard couldn’t fend off Hull’s advances as Irish man David Meyler popped up to swing the momentum back in his team’s favour with a well-placed, low-driven strike. But their good fortune was to prove long-lasting as it was Martin Skrtel who once again had the misfortune of directing the ball into the back of his own net late on to seal the win for the struggling side. As a result of their surprise loss, Brendan Rodgers finds his side in fourth place, level on points with Merseyside rivals Everton, and with a flurry of big games to come, he’ll need his brightest stars back to their best, particularly now that their leading goalscorer Daniel Sturridge will be missing until the New Year.
Chelsea climb to second
No doubt Jose Mourinho will have his sights firmly set on 23 December meeting with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium as well as an end-of-year encounter with Liverpool, as the Portuguese boss looks to steal into top spot ahead of the New Year. Of course, there’s still a few weeks left until then, but the Blues have already starting building up ahead of steam by overcoming Mauricio Pochettino’s Southampton at Stamford Bridge on a score-line of 3-1. Chelsea haven’t had everything their own way so far this season with two losses and three draws in the league to date, but they look to have steadied the ship somewhat ever since they were downed 2-0 by Newcastle at the beginning of November. Sure enough, getting all three points against this season’s surprise package Southampton hasn’t proven easy for many clubs as the Saints have proven very well-organised and confident, but last season’s Europa League champions did well to come back from a goal down inside the first minute. Until the results of their two big clashes this month are known, however, Chelsea will have to contend themselves with playing catch-up.