The State of the EPL
Missed out on catching your favourite team’s latest matches? Here’s our fortnightly round-up of the English Premier League.
Guest Writer – NKG
Football is a contagious sport to follow. You can never get hooked off a season once it’s reached the halfway stage. It gets even more enthralling when it’s the EPL or the La Liga. With only ten more fixtures lined for the next two months, the heat, action and adrenaline are piping up, set to climax in a jaw-cracking finale.
The scurry for the title has been truncated to just two teams: derby-neighbours Manchester United and Manchester City. City have had a relaxed ride all the way up till now, having slumped just four times in 28 games. Downing Bolton at home, they kicked-off March on a dominant note. Mario Balotelli has been a force to reckon with in this season and he didn’t disappoint, when he nailed in a close range shot off Adam Johnson. That was way after Bolton’s Steinsson unfortunately headed home an own goal, giving City the edge right in the first half. In a flip of the luck coin, City took a blow from Swansea at their home just seven minutes before the final whistle. At this crucial stage of the tournament, City’s loosened grip over the top rank left Manchester United with a thin shaft of hope to clinch the spoils. Right after the City (vs.) Bolton match, United leapfrogged over City by mincing a hapless WBA at Old Trafford. Though they’ve continually been at a neck and neck distance from City throughout the competition, this was United’s opportune break to prove to City why they’re worth 19 titles. Rooney was in his element again, piercing through Ben Foster in the first half with a chip-in from Hernandez. They finished with 2-0 over WBA to perch themselves sweetly at the top of latest ranking table.
United’s spirited show was probably because of the home humiliation they braced from Athletic Bilbao a few days back in the Europa League match. Though they sported a strong line-up, Man United were beaten all ends out 2-3, leaving them with a lot to salvage for in their trip to Spain for the away leg. United have been acing it when they played away, an evidence of which was their recent win against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. United’s four-pronged midfield with Ashley Young, Patrice Evra, Danny Welbeck and the evergreen Scholes has been the nexus of their success. The assists for every scored goal for the past few matches have come from them.
Even more juicy in hype and action has been the contention for the next Champion’s League and Europa League. With only four points separating them, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham have their work cut out if they’re to book a birth in the big draw. Speaking form-wise, Arsenal are making easy work of their opponents in the last few matches. In fact, to take down Liverpool at Anfield and coming back home to cleanly sweep Tottenham 5-2, both top teams, they need a hats-off. Everyone keeps talking about how “Robin van Persie sealed the game off” when Arsenal score and win. But it has been an show of exceptional play-making by Alex Song and Bacary Sagna who both provided most of van Persie’s assists. They’ve been in his shadow, but they are to get all credit for Arsenal’s victories. Chelsea have had a mixed two weeks; losing first against relegation-threatened WBA and bouncing back to beat Stoke City 1-0 at Stamford. They stand lowest in the top 5 and need quick wins to get themselves back into the groove after the untimely sacking of Andre Villas-Boas.
The Premier League is as high-octane as ever. Catch the fever of the start of penultimate part of the contest as:
Wolves (vs.) Man United (18th)
Man City (vs.) Chelsea! (21st)
Tottenham (vs.) Stoke City (21st)
Everton (vs.) Arsenal (21st)
– By Uth Mag United