EPL: Day 16, Part 1

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
December 13th, 2003 • 3:31 am

A couple of significant upsets today in the English Premier League, including the first home defeat of the season for Chelsea against… Bolton, of all teams. It was a dreadfully boring game to watch, but, after a fairly bright start, Chelsea just weren’t able to get going again once Bolton had drawn level with a nice French-flavoured goal by N’Gotty from a Djorkaeff free-kick. Three substitutions by the Great Tinkerman (Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri) didn’t help, and Bolton’s second, an unfortunate own goal by John Terry, was simply the result of a lack of bite in defence in particular.

Elsewhere, Manchester United unsurprisingly beat local rivals Manchester City, who are struggling at the moment, but Southampton beat Liverpool on their home turf, which will deepen the worries of many Merseyside fans and increase the pressure on Gerard Houillier. Everton and Birmingham finally got their groove back with away wins at Leicester and Portsmouth respectively. And poor Tottenham got wacked at Newcastle (4 – 0) after wacking Wolves last week themselves (5 – 2). I guess this keeps things somewhat interesting in the rest of the table, but also further ensures that no team will catch up with the three front-runners. Liverpool will be lucky if they qualify for the Champions’ League this season.

Of course, in theory everything is still possible, but I don’t think too many people are betting against the top three being Arsenal, Chelsea and Man U (in whatever order) at the end of the season at this point in time.

Arsenal play Blackburn at home tomorrow, and they’ll be hoping that it will not be a repeat of last season, where they were inflicted their first home defeat of the season by the visitors. A home win would take them back to the top of the EPL.

My home team Strasbourg also play Ligue 1 leaders Monaco in Monaco tomorrow in a game that will be televised here, so there’s lots of potential excitement still to come this week-end.

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