Premier League MANual - 3rd January
A Premier League double bill thanks to the festive fixture pile up saw us see in the new year with a couple of shock results and the league start to take shape ready for the oncoming title race. Chelsea won again and look destined to be Champions whilst United keep winning and sit uncomfortably in sixth. At the bottom, Swansea look as if they’ll be getting a Welsh derby next year and having been stuffed by Burnley, the only way is down for Sunderland.
5. David vs Goliath
David Moyes is in the relegation scrap of his life. Fact. Not since finishing 17th with Everton back in 2004 has he been scraping the bottom of the Premier League and this is about to be the biggest test of his managerial credentials. If Burnley are hammering you 4-1 then you look destined for trouble and whilst Sunderland usually complete the impossible, this season looks to be their last.
4. Pep sees red
Pep, you won! Yes that’s right. He looks a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders and even after a 2-1 win at the weekend thanks to Clichy’s third goal in 311 games. Sitting 3rd in the league, you’d think that he’d have something to smile about but having seen his midfield crumble with Fernandinho off again, you feel for him somewhat. If there’s one thing to take from his reactions over the new year – if things don’t go his way, he doesn’t half spit his dummy out.
3. Defoe’s got to go
How Jermain Defoe hasn’t played for a top-four club we’ll never know. He’s a man that has consistently scored goals wherever he has been and this season is no different. With 11 goals so far this season, he’s gone toe-to-toe with £50m rated Sergio Agüero so it comes as no surprise that he’s being touted for a move. Having bagged another brace against Liverpool he’s showing that he’s still got it so he needs to do himself a favour and get out of Sunderland. West Ham?
2. Barton’s back
Having watched Burnley’s midfield over the first half of the season, you get the feeling that they’ve been missing a little bite for those away games that inevitably result in a loss. In comes Joey Barton, the classic Premier League bad-boy but he delivers just that. With a six month contract in hand, he’ll be raring to go so fingers crossed for some fireworks.
1. Anything you can do, Giroud can do better
Olivier Giroud, the man, the legend. He’s a bit like marmite for Arsenal fans but there’s no doubt that he does it when it matters and sometimes when it’s not. What a goal. Hoe’s not the most technically gifted player so how ludicrous that he’d try something like that. If Mkhitaryan’s was good then that was absolutely perfect. Take a bow son.