Category: Archive

Devils are dancing as Gunners, Pool go under

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Thus message No. 2: there is no such thing as an easy game at this point in the season.
It was Southampton who upset table-topping Arsenal in a 3-2 win at Friends Provident St. Mary’s Stadium. The Saints came from a goal down after Dennis Bergkamp opened the score for Arsenal in the 36th minute. Southampton’s manager, Gordon Strachan, had warned his players that not finishing chances would come back to haunt them, so James Beattie responded with a brace for his boss. Many a happy face there were at St. Mary’s, while for Arsenal it was a belt of EPL reality. To add to Arsenal’s wows, Sol Campbell was sent off in the 57th minute. A highly annoyed Arsene Wenger said: “I have been in England a long time now and still don’t know what makes a sending off. We had enough chances to have won it, even with all the decisions that went against us.” Not only did Arsenal’s loss let Man. U. back into the top mix, now central defender Campbell will miss the Dec. 7 league game at Old Trafford.
Liverpool was also presenting early Christmas gifts to Alex Ferguson’s United after they lost 3-2 to Jean Tigana’s Fulham. Liverpool’s manager, Gerard Houllier, knows for sure there are no easy games as his side has won only two of their last seven games. This loss to Fulham follows a 0-0 draw with Sunderland and a 1-nil loss to Middlesbrough. Houllier believes his team is going through a bad patch and he points the finger at his team defense. All eyes must naturally turn to Pool’s goalkeeper, Jerzy Dudek. Nonetheless, credit must also be given to Fulham’s Facundo Sava, who pounced on Liverpool with goals in the 5th and 68th minutes. Even though Fulham had Alain Goma sent off in the 70th minute, the Pool just could not put their chances away and still they looked shaky and disorganized defensively.
Arsenal and Liverpool were not the only ones giving United a break. Chelsea barely managed to salvage a draw with relegation battlers Bolton. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink saved the day for the Blues when he came off the bench and scored in the 90th minute.
United, meanwhile, can thank their lucky stars that their big-time rivals are slipping up. That lucky star for the Devils is back in the form of Ruud van Nistelrooy, who scored a hat trick against Newcastle. The Flying Dutchman looks like he has shaken off some rust as he brought his tally to 50 goals in just 67 appearances. Manager Ferguson is, not surprisingly, sounding a lot more upbeat now than Wenger, Houllier and Chelsea’s Claudio Ranieri. “It was our most effective performance of the season, and, finally, we have taken our chances,” he said. While Newcastle were extremely disappointed with their defending, they looked tired after their sensational qualification for Champions League.
What’s becoming even clearer at the top of the table is the arrival of Everton in third place after their win over West Brom. While manager David Moyes will not get carried away, his side have now won six games on the trot, with the last five being 1-nil wins. It has also become a regular occurrence that Tomasz Radzinski is on the scoresheet for Everton. Another prominent player at Everton recently is Chinese player of the year Li Tie, who seems to get better with every game. Despite his teams consistent form, Moyes will remind his players that games will get a lot more difficult than their recent Blackburn, Charlton, Leeds and West Ham.
Games are certainly not getting easier for Leeds United and Terry Venables after losing 2-nil to Tottenham Hotspur. There to rub in a little salt were ex-Venable players Teddy Sheringham and Robbie Keane, who sunk Elland Road further down the table. Matters are very unsure on and off the field for Leeds as chairman Peter Ridsdale faces his financiers this Friday. Ridsdale may have to explain his reasons for sacking David O’Leary, selling Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United and why the club is

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