Although Chelsea won at the weekend and remained top of the Premier League by a clear 5 points, there were lots of changes behind them. After Saturdays games West Bromwich Albion were in the top four and there was talk of them challenging for the title. Sunday’s games brought things back to a more familiar format, with both Arsenal and Manchester United winning to take up their more recognizable second and third positions. But things are very tight in the following group with both those sides and Manchester City on 17 points, separated only by goal difference. Spurs and West Brom are just 2 points behind them.
Chelsea had a 2-0 home win over relegation threatened Wolves on Saturday. Manchester United beat Stoke 2-1 away, with their goals coming from Javier Hernandez in the absence of their loyalty challenged striker Wayne Rooney. But I believe the match of the round for many people was the “6 point game” between Manchester City and Arsenal. Things went Arsenal‘s way early doors, as they say, with Dedryck Boyata being sent off inside 5 minutes for a last man foul on Marouane Chamakh. Samir Nasri scored Arsenal’s opening goal on 20 minutes after a neat exchange with Andrei Arshavin. Fabregas had a penalty well saved by Hart and City believed they were still in the game after half time, when they were only 1-0 down.
After sustained pressure from Arsenal, Alex Song scored his second goal of the week. This one a little more spectacular than his tap in during the week, shooting high into top corner of the net. The wind was taken from the sails of City and their fans, most of them leaving before the final whistle. Arsenal fans would have been pleased to see Adebayor come on for the injured Tevez and gave him a warm round of jeers. Rumour has it that Adebayor and Rooney are forming loyalty club.
Arsenals defence deserve a mention for seeing off a number challenges from Man City, with Lukasz Fabianski making several good saves. It looks like he will need a new nickname. When he secures the first choice goalkeeping role no one should call him Flappy Handski.
Having put in the hard work all afternoon Chamakh was substituted in the 84th minute for Nicklas Bendtner. In the 88th minute Bendtner hooked on to the type of opportunity Chamakh had been waiting for all day. This put the result beyond any question and the remaining City fans heading for the exits.
Let’s not forget City spent over 100 million pounds on new players in the summer, not mention the cost of their Italian coach Roberto Mancini. It just goes to prove that spending obscene amounts of money is not the answer to everything. In Wenger we trust.
Next up, a round of the Carling Cup mid-week. It will be interesting to see how Arsenal’s kids deal with Newcastle, who put out Chelsea in the last round.