Monday, May 23, 2011

Five Things We Learned From Weekend's EPL Action

1. Liverpool are maybe not as good as we thought they were- In the latter periods of the 10/11 Premier League season, the club on the lips of nearly everyone was Liverpool FC. After a horrid opening phase to the campaign, Liverpool and new manager Kenny Dalglish managed to pull themselves up off the ground and mount a serious challenge for a Europa League spot. As the goals flowed, Liverpool were lauded from all corners, Lucas suddenly looked worthy of his passport, and Maxi actually scored a few goals. Next year everyone said, Liverpool would be up there challenging for the Barclays Premier League title. However, the season has ended on a sour note for the Reds, to straight losses to Tottenham and then Aston Villa stopped the Anfield team from claiming fifth spot, and that precious European place. Against Tottenham in particular, Liverpool were horrid, overrun in midfield, totally dominated by a Spurs side low on form and confidence. Maybe King Kenny has a little more work to do in the summer than he bargained for.

2. Arsenal have had a useless season- If we hadn't come to that conclusion already, we certainly have now. After periods of so much hope and excitement at the Emirates, Arsenal have disappointed again but this time so much so that they have dropped down into the dicey Champions League play offs. Only one place ahead of their City rivals, Arsenal's late season collapse was pounced upon by City,who are now confirmed a place in the Champions League group stages, a level of the competition that they will expect to progress from. Meanwhile, Arsenal will face a hazardous journey to the group phase, Bayern Munich, Villareal and Udinese all lay in wait, all more than capable of sending the Gunners packing.

3. Complacency kills- For Birmingham FC,this most beautiful of seasons has turned terribly sour. After toppling Arsenal in the Carling Cup final, it seemed impossible that a side like the Blues would ever even come close to relegation. However, a combination of complacency and Wolves' upturn in form have seen the Midlands club relegated to the Championship. With six or seven games to go, Birmingham looked very comfortable, however, a late run of defeats saw them pulled right back into the mire, and they now face a season in the Championship.

4. The Premier League will miss Holloway and Blackpool- It is fitting, that to mark their final match in the Premier League, Blackpool played out a 4-2 game at the home of the champions. Filled with gust and spirit, Blackpool looked likely to grab something for long periods of that match, only for poor defending to prove their downfall once again. The loss at Old Trafford was quintessential Blackpool, alive upfront, a shambles at the back. Certainly, the Premier League will be a much duller place without the charisma of Holloway, and the naivety of his Blackpool team. Some of their better known players will no doubt be retained though, Charlie Adam, David Vaughan and DJ Campbell are all likely to get shots elsewhere, but it simply won't be the same without the Tangerines.

5. Chelsea have a crucial summer in prospect- Once again, Roman Abramovich's trigger happy finger has sent a manager flying. After two years, yielding two major trophies, Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked by Chelsea FC. Candidates for the now vacant post have already been tossed around, Andre Villas Boas the Porto manager among a whole plethora of others. However, Chelsea's most comprehensive changes will need to occur within the playing department, experienced men like Drogba, Lampard and Terry could be on their way out, while finding a partner for Fernando Torres will be imperative. Chelsea is a team in need of a major injection of youth, especially in the wing departments, an area which cost them against Everton, as the Blues were unable to spread play and tire out a ten man Everton team.

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