Well well well, I’m not sure what bookmaker Paddy Power is thinking at the precise moment, as their decision to pay out on Chelsea as Premier League Champions – http://blog.paddypower.com/2014/11/21/christmas-has-come-early-if-you-backed-chelsea-paddy-power-has-paid-out-on-jose-mourinhos-side-winning-the-premier-league/ – is looking a tad foolish, though you can’t fault the positive publicity angle. Chelsea have seen an eight point lead at the top whittled down to just three, with a rampant Manchester City fully intent on chasing them down. They have fallen into what I call the (DL / LD) trap – ie when a team draws a game then loses one, hence FIVE points dropped!!!!!!! The Premier League may not necessarily be the best league in the world in terms of quality, but in terms of competitiveness, there is no other league comparable in my opinion. Chelsea’s recent trips to the Northeast have been their undoing after a draw at Sunderland, then their defeat at St James’ Park (Jose has never won there) against an inspired Newcastle team last Saturday (6th December). Couple this with the current champions winning their last four league matches it is most definitely NOT a one horse race. It makes me laugh and on occasion angry when so called ‘expert’ pundits and journalists were intimating that they may as well give the trophy to Jose’s men now – they will / have changed their tune. Its ridiculous to say its over when we have not even reached Christmas, let alone the halfway stage of games. The Blues of Stamford Bridge are still in the best position but their margin for error is now much much much smaller. Roll on the festive fixtures I say.
At the start of the season I wrote about Liverpool and Manchester United – www.biggishmouthblog.com/northwest-reds-od-liverpool-manchester-interesting-seasons . Manchester City may well be the best side in the Northwest as we stand (there can be no argument really as they are the Champions of England) but there is also no doubt that the two biggest sides in the Northwest, actually in England as a whole meet this Sunday at Old Trafford in a huge game for both teams, especially as the bun fight for a top four place is as competitive as any other time in Premier League history.
After a season from the gods nearly brought back the league title to Anfield (Slippy Gee the issue ;D) after what would have been a 24 year absence – Brendan Rodgers’ team have not fared so well this season. Despite a 100+ million summer outlay, they seem to still be feeling the effects of the loss of talisman Luis Suarez. They have looked nothing like the marauding and destructive team of 2014 (their draw at home to Sunderland last weekend was symptomatic of their regression) and their recent elimination in the group phase of the Champions League is just another low in a disappointing season so far. However a trip to their historically fiercest rivals down the East Lancs Road guarantees Liverpool will turn up on ‘task’ and they have the quality to cause any team trouble on their day. They will be hoping it will be this coming Sunday.
As for Manchester United, Louis Van Gaal’s philosophy seems to be bearing some fruit (though some would say after spending 150+ million it should). They are now on a run of five wins in a row which has seen them move up to the heady heights of third in the Premier League. However despite getting results, their performances, especially at Arsenal and Southampton, let alone a recent amazing escape at home to Stoke, there is still a vulnerability evident that their opponents will see and think they can exploit. The worry for the reds of Manchester is that their goalkeeper David de Gea is by far their best player this season and despite the fact its his job to keep the ball out of his teams net, its a wonder where they would be without his outstanding performances this season. Some credit must go to the new Dutch manager due to the fact that the spirit within the team seems much better than last season and it has undoubtedly shown during some of their (on occasion) fortunate victories.
Okley dokely my prediction – United on the up (despite some shaky performances), Liverpool not playing anywhere near their capabilities. After last seasons home drubbing against the Merseysiders, surely Manchester United will not allow the same to happen again??????? The manager, the players and the fans who were there to witness the debacle will be expecting much much much better. Manchester United 3 Liverpool 1 for me.
Let me know what you think – you can also tweet me @biggishmouth or go to my facebook page at www.facebook.com/thebiggishmouth