1. Chelsea build on tilt for title charge
If it wasn’t clear enough till now, it might now well be. With another win against the resurgent West Ham, Jose Mourinho’s men built on their winning momentum for the Premier League push. Goals from John Terry and the everpresent Diego Costa saw The Blues make light work of Sam Allardyce’s men. In fact, Big Sam’s men were unable to foist any sort of pressure on the league leaders, and Thibaut Courtois in particular, goes to show the vigour of Chelsea’s dominance. Running three and ten points clear of City and United respectively, the Blues look anything but allow either of the Manchester clubs leapfrog them.
2. Wayne Rooney is Manchester United’s “go to man”
Two more goals and just 26 behind Sir Bobby Charlton’s all time top score of 249 goals for The Red Devils, Wayne Rooney looks just unstoppable. Leading from the front, United’s captain bagged a brace against Newcastle United from a deeper midfield role. For a player whose future was touted to be under scrutiny with new management at the helm, the former Everton man looks anything but that. After being handed the captain’s armband to the England striker over compatriot Robin van Persie by Louis van Gaal, the England striker has led his side from the front each time he has stepped out, hardly letting his team down. Take his eight goals out of the equation, and United look like struggling analogous to the previous season, but its not been just his goals. Rooney’s ability to play in different positions and putting in performances of same intensity in all of them has made him look the standout player in a rejuvenated Manchester United side. The peach of an assist the Englishman delivered for van Persie’s goal and United’s third reflects the fine run of form he is in. If the Red Devils are to expect anything from this season, they can look at thei captain for the time being.
3. Manchester City’s persistent pressure on Chelsea continues.
No Agüero? No problem. Manchester City recorded a 1-3 victory over West Brom under severe conditions at The Hawthrons. By doing so, The Citizens managed to be three points adrift of table toppers Chelsea. Despite playing without their star marksman, the reigning champions never looked like missing their top scorer. While much is being talked about Chelsea’s sublime season, and the revival of Manchester United under Louis van Gaal, Manuel Pellegrini’s men have been relatively been away from the microscope. Make no mistake, the Chilean’s side won the title last season and are not far behind from the top. The Eastlands side last season were in a position remiscient of the current one, and came back to win the title. Chelsea look hard to conquer, but City can capitalize on their slip ups, if any.
4. Liverpool need to contemplate before its too late
Roll a year back, and Liverpool were amongst the elite challenging for the title. Fast forward a year, and the Reds look like a shadow of what they were a year ago. With a busy summer that saw several new faces arrive at The Anfield at the expense of talisman Luis Suarez, Brendan Rodgers somehow still hasn’t managed to find the right formula with his new set. Knocked out of the Champions League group stages and lying 9th in the Premier League, this season has been similar to the past few seasons bar the last. While Rodgers’ men did manage a win 0-1 against Burnley, the win was far from convincing. Had the upright not come in between Danny Ings and the goal, things could have been worse for them. With Arsenal struggling and city rivals Everton also looking out of sorts, Liverpool can still conjure up for the first half of the season and try to push for the top four spots.
5. Leicester City in danger of dropping down
When Leicester started the season in brilliant fashion, one would have hardly imagined them to be rock bottom after 18 games. Draws against Everton & Arsenal, a win away at Stoke and the 5-3 dismantling of Manchester United had the Foxes faithful in wonderland. Things haven’t gone according to plan for Nigel Pearson’s charges of late. Another defeat; their 6th on the trot, this time at the hands of Tottenham sees the Foxes rooted at the bottom. One might argue that they were lucky not to win after Leo Ulloa and Riyad Mahrez both were denied by the woodwork, Leicester haven’t been upto the mark for them to deserve anything. Infact their last victory was the same 5-3 win over Manchester United, and have managed just 2 points out of a possible 39. While The Foxes’ survival in the Premier League looks increasingly difficult, the magical figure of 40 points looks like a mammoth task
Sunil A Markal
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