Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Liverpool may surprise us

Chelsea top the Backlays English Premier League after a second hat trick in weeks from yet another midfielder. Edin Hazard his last time around and this week was Andre Schurle. The Blues are enjoying a purple patch and coach, Jose Mourinho still want us to believe that his team are a work in the process, a cake in the oven, a baby racing horse still suckling and being prepared for the race. He admits they will receive the league if handed to them in a platter. If you believe that, lucky you. I am not buying that one. If that is to be taken seriously, then Chelsea would win the next league title by Christmas.

That 3 goal salvo at Fulham was stained by conceding. The comfort on the summit of the table was made sweet courtesy of the flop by the fragile Arsenal's loss to Stoke City. Not that Stoke are easy taking and not that the Gunners are pushovers. Other teams will have their turn to throw away points like confetti too. The absence of Manchester City's league match left them three points and two matches adrift and have a superior goal difference. Until the outstanding matches are played and won, they count for nought.

It must be said that the Citizens enjoyed that league break with the League Cup victory over Sunderland who threatened to upset the tycoons. I was just commenting about ruing the lost chances and explain to a friend how City can turn a single goal deficit and pounce in quick succession. In no time, he was telling me of a 'couch potato' curse.

The story that has been doing rounds for seasons now, has been Liverpool. For the first time since around 2005, the story is a good one to tell. Earlier this season, they topped the table and many thought they were flattering to deceive. I think they are now second to stay. The Reds came to the party in the new 2013/2014 with basically a 'kidsnet'. Their line-up included few veterans of note Skrtl and Toure Kolo, a reject in Dan Sturridge and a 'rehabitatee' in Luis Suarez. A relatively unknown Bredan Rogers did not make it any predictable even though he had turned Swansea's play into an enviable carpet football many teams dream of, and having worked as an assistant to Jose Mourinho.

There is about 30 points to fight for this season, 36 for City. That means a potential finish of 93 for both. City's current surplus of 42 goals compared to Chelsea's 30 puts them a notch ahead. The recent form of both is a little of a contrast. Chelsea have been consistent and quite sharp in finishing while the blue side of Manchester flopped against mediocre opposition including that loss to the Blues.

How we come this far without factoring Arsenal in a league they dominated at the beginning of the season for the first time in years is very surprising. Their season might be inverted. They looked very strong and solid when they scored and kept clean sheets. They were championship contenders until Aaron Ramsey got injured. He is one man who was winning the tile for the Gunners. With him went a resurgent Theo Walcott. Somehow, they seem to be ending the season the way they begin it. They could win it but I would not put a dime on them. All I can see in them is their duel with Spurs and Everton for fourth. In that one, they can prevail.

Liverpool may actually surprise us. They have some steel to steal it, especially as the duel of City and Chelsea gets dirty. Tightening a screw or two at the back, they are in the mix with the other two expensively assembled giants.