Alex’s Premiership Roundup:
A weekend of Premiership fixtures. Just another staging point in a league that is rapidly rivalling Scotland’s for the title of ‘most predictable in Europe’? Or a moment of truth for every one of the teams involved, each locked in a desperate fight to stay and thrive in the cash cow that is our top flight?
It felt like the latter for some of London’s clubs this weekend. For Crystal Palace, facing a derby match against the very team ruminating on a bid for their gifted young winger, it was make or break time. Would they be reconciling themselves to relegation or proving that they’ve got as good a chance as any of beating the drop? Their opponents, Tottenham, have been enjoying life under the direction of genial round Dutchman Martin Jol (pictured) and it was their aim to show everyone that they’ve shaken off age-old bad habits and are ready to embrace consistency and win a place in Europe. No such luck. Spurs folded…again. Wayne Routledge (the subject of the possible bid) shone and with a new formation and the canny recall of Dougie Freedman, manager Ian Dowie added to his burgeoning reputation as a football technician par excellence.
Elsewhere, Fulham showed that they do have the quality to stay up as they edged Birmingham, Charlton hinted at another pop at that elusive UEFA Cup spot and Chelsea marched on towards the title. Can anyone stop them now?
Perhaps Arsenal still might. They faced their own moment of truth on Sunday against Newcastle United, potentially a very tricky fixture indeed. The Gunners came through, winning 1-0 and showed signs that they might be on the verge of reclaiming their flamed fluency. Viera seemed to have a bit of bite back, but more importantly, Mathieu Flamini demonstrated that he just might be the man to fill the gap left by the injuries to Gilberto Silva and Edu. Arsenal ain’t waving the white flag just yet.
Dan’s Round Up – The Iceman Cometh
They say a week’s a long time in football, so two weeks are an absolute age. A fortnight ago everything was looking rosy for Liverpool. In the chase for a Champions (sic) league spot, and with “easy” ties against Division Two opposition in the cups. Since they were rattled by Watford in the First Leg of the League Cup Semi-Final, they’ve since lost three on the trot – the most amusing being their FA Cup exit at Burnley. Now they take their slender one-goal lead back to Vicarage Road to face Heidar Helguson and the rest of the Glory Hornet Boys in the Second Leg. Watford rested seven first team players in an unlikely 2-2 draw away to title-challengers Wigan at the weekend, and will be well up for this one.
QPR were the only London side to win in Division Two this weekend, beating Coventry 2-1 away. Although with doomed Coventry now desperate enough to employ Micky Adams as their boss, any other result would have probably lead to Ian Holloway facing a public execution on his return to West London. Play-off hopefuls Millwall and West Ham both suffered 2-1 home defeats. Millwall surprisingly losing to Glenn Hoddle’s Wolves, and West Ham being defeated by Derby