Saturday, April 23, 2011

Five Things We Learned From Saturday's EPL Action

1. Fernando Torres is capable of scoring goals- Much maligned for virtually the entirety of his Chelsea career, Fernando Torres finally has scored his first goal. The expression of joy on his face as he slid across the wet Stamford Bridge turf in celebration only served to underline the relief felt by all involved at Chelsea Football Club at the moment of Torres' first goal. Mobbed by teammates, a smiling Torres was able to enjoy his first strike for the Blues in the fairly low key atmosphere of an easy home win over West Ham, and Ancelotti will hope that more important goals are still yet to come from the Spaniard. Next up for Chelsea is a London derby against Tottenham, a match that Torres' team must win if they are stay in the Premier League title race. Hopefully for Ancelotti, Torres will carry over his goal scoring form to that one.

2. Joe Cole is out of hibernation- Pre-season, Joe Cole's move to Liverpool was dubbed one of the signings of the summer, and Reds captain Steven Gerrard even went as far as to suggest that Cole was an early front runner for the Player of the Year award. However, things have not gone to plan for Cole, first he was sent off in his Premier League debut, before a combination of a lack of form and an inability to stay fit conspired to stop him from making a mark under Roy Hodgson. When Dalglish took over in January, Cole found himself in a state of limbo, the marquee signing of a failed reign, that had yet to prove himself at Anfield. With only a few minutes of football under Dalglish, Joe Cole came on as a second half substitute earlier today, and went on to score the fifth goal of a Liverpool rout. The question mark following the name of the goal scorer on the BBC's live text feed further illustrated the troubles that Cole has faced in his Liverpool career thus far, but maybe, just maybe, he is ready for a new beginning.

3. Chicharito is United's true Player of the Year- Mexicans never do well in the Premiership. The weather in England is just too cold for them, and the speed and aggression doesn't mesh well with their style of play. To say that Javier Hernandez has proved pundits wrong would be a gross understatement. Chicharito has eviscerated the arguments mentioned above, and may well have steered United to a nineteenth league title in the process. In today's early game, Chicharito scored what is just the latest edition of a series of monumentally important goals against the likes of Stoke, Chelsea, West Brom and now Everton. The sight to Hernandez's leap to meet a back post Valencia cross will bring joy to the hearts of United supporters everywhere who have seen their little Mexican propel them to the verge of number 19.

4. Sunderland have rediscovered the winning habit- To call Sunderland's late season winless run a disaster would be putting it mildly. The Black Cats have fallen to losses against all sorts, from the Premier League's richest, to its most struggling entities. Unsurprisingly, a lack of goals has been the main reason for the team's strugges, with Gyan and Sessegnon failing to hit the heights expected of them. However, on Saturday, Steve Bruce's side finally found their goal scoring touch, finding the net four times in a twenty-two minute spell, which broke the hearts of relegation candidates Wigan Athletic. Gyan, Sessegnon and Henderson all found the net, helping Sunderland to a 4-2 win, their first at home since New Year's Day.

5. Spurs' Champions League hopes are hanging on a thread- Throughout this most historic Tottenham Hotspur season, the one enduring message has been of a need to reclaim Champions League football. Despite a fabulous European run, Spurs have struggled to hit last season's heights in the league, something which has led to their fourth place berth being usurped by Manchester City. On Saturday, Jermain Defoe's goal was not enough to see Tottenham through to a much needed victory, a late WBA fight back put pay to that. Currently, Spurs rest just one point of Manchester City in fourth, but the Citizens have a game in hand, away at Blackburn on Monday. To make matters worse, Spurs have an incredibly difficult sequence of matches ahead of them, they must travel to Stamford Bridge and Anfield before facing off with City in a potentially crucial match at Eastlands. With all their star players back in form, it would be foolhardy to write off Redknapp's men, but certainly, the road to the 2012 Champions League looks rocky.

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