Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Morning Keeper – EPL Week 6

Chelsea had been undefeated in their first five matches this season, allowing only one goal and running up a massive goal differential of +19. However, the Blues had to realize when the schedule was announced that here first real test would come in week 6 when they traveled 200 miles north to play at Manchester City. Chelsea lost only 5 matches last season on their way to capturing the title, two of those losses came at the hands of Man City. The match was primarily played in the middle third of the field as each team tried to feel out the others defensive lines. Chelsea has been racking up goals on set pieces and clearly Man City was doing everything in their power to prevent corners and free kicks. A few bursts of offensive brilliance from each side were quickly met but equally tactful tackles and clearances by the defense. At half time it seemed that this match could easily go to a draw, which both teams would happily accept, but apparently no one informed Carlos Tevez. The Argentinean decided to take matters into his own hands with a breakaway head to head against Ashley Cole. As Tevez looked to pass to David Silva on the left wing, he instead switched to his right foot and shot the ball between the legs of Cole and to the left of Petr Cech, off the post and into the net for the only goal of the match. Carlos ran to the corner and peeled up his shirt to reveal the message, “feliz ciumple Mami”, wishing his mother a happy birthday. Oddly enough, I bought my mom a spa gift certificate for her birthday so I guess that is why I write about the EPL and don’t compete in it. Tevez now has 6 goals in the last 5 matches against Chelsea, a statistic that cannot be matched by anyone else in the EPL. The rest of the match played out with a few gut-wrenching saves by Joe Hart leading right up to the final whistle.

With Chelsea going down in first match of the weekend on Saturday, the door was left wide open for the other top teams to make up some ground. However it seemed that the only team to capitalize on Manchester City’s victory was, well, Man City. Arsenal went down at home in stunning fashion to West Brom who led the match 3-0 in the 74th minute only to give up 2 goals by Nasri in the final 15 minutes while holding on for the victory. Manchester United nearly went down to a middle-of-the-pack Bolton side if it hadn’t been for Michael Owens equalizing goal in the 74th minute to secure the 1 point for a draw. West Ham displayed poise and determination in gaining a 1-0 victory against their cross-town rivals Tottenham. Perhaps the only team to take advantage of the Chelsea lost in addition to Man City were Aston Villa and West Brom who moved within sight of the top 4 positions. When the weekend was all said and done, Chelsea was still 3 point clear of second place Manchester United. The catch is that Chelsea hosts Arsenal this coming weekend and if the outcome is a draw, the door will open once again for the likes of Man U, Man City, and others to narrow the gap with the Blues.

After 6 weeks only two teams remain undefeated, 2nd place Manchester United and shockingly 7th place Fulham who travel to West Ham next weekend and could move into the top 5 with a victory against the Hammers. Here is a breakdown of the top and bottom owners:

1. Chelsea – 15 pts, +19 GD (5-0-1)
2. Manchester United – 12 pts, +7 GD (3-3-0)
3. Arsenal – 11 pts, +9 GD (3-2-1)
4. Manchester City – 11 pts, +5 GD (3-2-1)
17. Wolverhampton – 5 pts, -3 GD (1-2-3)
18. Wigan Athletic – 5 pts, -11 GD (1-2-3)
19. West Ham United – 4 pts, -9 GD (1-1-4)
20. Everton – 3 pts, -3 GD (0-3-3)

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