EPL: Day 22 (Part 1)

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
January 17th, 2004 • 6:08 am

Last week, Arsenal fans were counting on Newcastle to put a stop to Manchester United’s run of 8 consecutive wins in the Premier League. And they did manage to get a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, while Arsenal maintained their unbeaten run with an easy win against Middlesborough.

Few Arsenal fans, however, were counting on relegation favourites Wolverhampton to prevent Manchester United from returning to their winning ways in the EPL. Amazingly enough, they did just that today, not just with a home draw, but with a win!

Granted, they were already quite good against Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier in the season, but still managed to lose 0-1 — and they haven’t exactly been impressive against the big clubs (or against anyone else for that matter) since then… They were also without Henri Camara, who had wasted so many chances in the Old Trafford game. But they fully deserved their win, battling for every ball and effectively restricting Manchester United to only a few chances that they were unable to convert. Good for them, I say :).

This game took place early, but was broadcast later on in the afternoon here in Canada on Sportsnet, after we had already watched the Tottenham – Liverpool game live and had already heard the news from the English match commentator, who obviously couldn’t care less about Canadian viewers. So there was little suspense. But I must admit that it was quite pleasant to watch Manchester United with the intimate knowledge that nothing that they would attempt would get through the opposition’s defense :).

As for the Tottenham – Liverpool game, it was more of the same from Gérard Houillier’s men. One could tell that Tottenham players have been finding some of their confidence back lately, and they deserved their two-goal lead in the second half, even if the penalty given for a foul on Robbie Keane was somewhat generous. (Keane’s fall was slightly delayed and therefore not entirely convincing.)

Liverpool only came to life in the last 20 minutes, after Kewell was rather fortunate to see his tentative shot go through the legs of a defender and beat the Spurs keeper. But it was too late, and they’ve suffered yet another defeat without creating much in front of goal. One wonders how long it will take before Houillier is sacked. It’s quite obvious, looking at the Tottenham team, that confidence plays a big part and the Liverpool players, in spite of their individual qualities, seem to have little of it at the moment. It certainly seems to be a clear indication that a change at the helm is needed.

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