BigDub’s EPL Match/Team of the Week and Top 4 Predictions!

EPL Weekend Update: Jan. 22-23

Match of the Week

Manchester United 5 – Birmingham City 0

Last week we discussed the possibility of a shift in power in the city of Manchester as well as in the whole of the English Premier League. This week it couldn’t be further from the case. Manchester United showed the entire league why they remain unbeaten, in great form, and sitting atop the table. Birmingham City could do nothing to control the overwhelming United attack, Dimitar Berbatov in particular. The Bulgarian continued his blistering form, logging his third hat-trick of the season. Berbatov continues to lead the Premier League in scoring, and his record is showing no signs of slowing. He was joined this week on the score sheet by Nani and the incredible Ryan Giggs. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum is Berbatov’s strike partner, Wayne Rooney. Rooney still has not scored in open play in front of the Old Trafford crowd this season. You have to go back to last march against Liverpool to find his last home strike. However, Rooney’s form has clearly not rubbed off on his teammates. United remain atop the league, two points ahead of Arsenal with a game in hand. The woes continue for Birmingham City. The Blues remain squarely in the battle for relegation. They are only a point ahead of Wigan, who occupy the final relegation spot. The search for a striker continues for manager Alex McLeish. Robbie Keane and Manchester City’s Jo have been linked with Brum, though neither move has materialized. With the transfer window closing soon, McLeish will have to move quickly if he is to secure the signature of a new striker, especially with Cameron Jerome being linked with a move to Stoke City.

EPL Weekend Scoreboard

Monday, 24 January 2011

Bolton 0-4 Chelsea
Sunday, 23 January 2011

Blackburn 2-0 W.B.A.
Saturday, 22 January 2011
Aston Villa 1-0 Man. City
Arsenal 3-0 Wigan
Blackpool 1-2 Sunderland
Everton 2-2 West Ham
Fulham 2-0 Stoke
Man. Utd. 5-0 Birmingham
Newcastle 1-1 Tottenham
Wolves 0-3 Liverpool


Team of the Week

GK: Robinson (Blackburn)

DEF: Neville (Everton)

DEF: Collins (Aston Villa)

DEF: Coloccini (Newcastle)

DEF: Bardsley (Sunderland)

MID: Dempsey (Fulham)

MID: Modric (Tottenham)

MID: Parker (West Ham)

MID: Richardson (Sunderland)

ST: Berbatov (Manchester United)

ST: Van Persie (Arsenal)


How They Stand

Teams P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 23 30 51
2 Arsenal 23 26 46
3 Man City 24 17 45
4 Chelsea 23 23 41
5 Tottenham 23 6 38
6 Sunderland 24 4 37
7 Blackburn 24 -6 31
8 Newcastle 23 3 30
9 Stoke City 23 0 30
10 Bolton 24 -1 30
11 Liverpool 23 -1 29
12 Blackpool 23 -7 28
13 Aston Villa 24 -13 28
14 Everton 23 -2 27
15 Fulham 23 0 26
16 West Brom 23 -14 25
17 Birmingham 22 -10 23
18 Wigan 24 -19 22
19 Wolves 23 -17 21
20 West Ham 24 -19 2\



EPL Spotlight: The Race for the Top 4

In recent years a debate as to who will finish in the top 4 places in the English Premier League is not one worth having. The traditional “Top 4” (Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea) are always expected to occupy those spots year in, year out. Last year, though, the pattern was broken as Tottenham Hotspur capitalized on Liverpool’s poor season and snatched the final Champions League spot. This season the competition is just as compelling. Manchester City join Spurs as the newcomers to the race. Manchester United and Arsenal appear to be locks at this point, leaving Chelsea, City, and Spurs to fight it out for the final two spots. Who will emerge at the end?

Manchester City: New owner Sheikh Mansour has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the club over the last few seasons. The massive investment is finally starting to pay off. City currently sit 3rd in the table, only one point astray of Arsenal. They boast a wealth of attacking talent highlighted by goal monster Carlos Tevez. The Argentina international boasts 14 league goals, only bested by Dimitar Berbatov. City can also rely on the likes of Mario Balotelli, Adam Johnson, Yaya Toure, James Milner, and new signing Edin Dzeko (pictured) to support Tevez in that category. Huge fixtures still remain for City, none bigger than Feb. 12th against rivals United at Old Trafford. If City can continue their current form they appear to be a lock for a top 4 place. However, Roberto Mancini’s side have shown at times this season that they may lack the chemistry necessary to rise to the top. If the side’s more vocal players like Kolo Toure and Pablo Zabaleta step up and lead the sky’s the limit for the Blues.

Projected Finish: 3rd

Chelsea: Form has been a serious issue for Carlo Ancelloti’s side. Key injuries to players such as Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard haven’t helped either. More significant, though, has been the lack of a consistent goal scorer. Drogba (pictured) has not been his normal self and support from the likes of Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou has been limited. At the back injuries have again been the story with Branislav Ivanovic and Alex both experiencing significant bouts on the sideline. That said, this is still Chelsea. They possess the skill and experience necessary to not only finish in the top 4, but to get back in the title race. The key for the Blues is getting healthy. If they can come together and rally down the stretch 4th should be theirs.

Projected Finish: 4th

Tottenham: Spurs have experienced a bad run of form at the worst time possible. A recent loss at Everton and an away draw at Newcastle have seen the Lilywhites drop to fifth in the table, 3 points behind 4th place Chelsea. Spurs finished in wonderful fashion last season, qualifying for the Champions League for the first time. This season they have been just as good with players like Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, and Rafael van der Vaart leading the way. The midfielders have provided balance and pace as well as goal scoring. The issue has been up front for Tottenham. Jermain Defoe has not scored in his last 12 matches and Peter Crouch (pictured) has only managed one league goal this season. Spurs are desperate for a striker before the January transfer window ends. Luis Suarez from Ajax and Sevilla’s Luis Fabiano have been the top two targets for manager Harry Redknapp. They are still right in it, but if they fail to capture a new goal scorer Tottenham might be the odd team out in the race for the final Champions League spot.

Projected Finish: 5th


Posted on January 25, 2011, in BigDub's BIG Soccer Reports. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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