Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back to Domestic Chores

This weekend sees the return of domestic football after the 'high drama and nail biting don't miss' last round of Euro qualifiers. Kicking off the Premiership is no less than Liverpool versus ManYoo.

For such an intense rivalry it's been an amazingly lopsided one over the past thirty or forty years. First came a period of Liverpool dominance with United left trailing far in their wake only for the converse to occur since the beginning of the nineties. Despite this mismatch the ferocity of the rivalry is as extreme as anywhere on the globe with the highest of stakes for both teams.

For Liverpool, a promising start has threatened to be derailed in recent weeks and a further home defeat would further widen the gap to those they wish to emulate above them. The return of captain and talisman Steven Gerrard will add further impetus to a team that will need little motivating.

Domestically, United have been irresistible sweeping all before them in true swashbuckling style. There is however a suspicion (amongst the press at least) that they are more open than last season and vulnerable defensively against quality teams. Certainly few have been able to test that theory out but had Torres been less wasteful (cows backsides and banjos spring to mind) then the result at Old Trafford could have been very different.

Dalglish has been attempting to make Liverpool much harder to beat and to a degree has achieved that aim. There is still however a quality gap to the likes of United and how they rise to the occasion may dictate whether they can achieve the victory that the Kop so craves.

Aston Villa's unbeaten start will be put hard to the test at Eastlands and QPR will be hoping to push relegation fears to one side by dispatching Steven Kean's Blackburn at home.

Fulham so impressive against the Rs last time out have a tough fixture at Stoke whilst Wigan versus Bolton will surely be attended by the grim reaper of relegation.

Chelsea will be hoping for a straightforward home win against an Everton side feeling so wronged by events in the Merseyside derby. Newly promoted Norwich and Swansea will play out what could be an entertaining fixture at Carrow Road.

West Brom and Wolves play out an interesting fixture on Sunday with the Baggies desperate to pick up some points. Early season mid table predictions have been confounded by an early run of tough fixtures and for Wolves, the optimism of the first few games has evaporated with a run of defeats that has left them bereft of confidence.

Arsenal badly need to get their season back on track with a home win against Sunderland who in turn have their manager Steve Bruce under huge pressure. A convincing home win would do much possibly to clarify matters for both managers.

The weekend's final fixture is definitely one of the most intriguing. Newcastle have had a sensational start to their season after much predictions (including here) of doom and gloom for their season ahead. After seven matches they occupy the lofty heights of fourth place, the exact position that Spurs so covet.

For both sides it is an opportunity to demonstrate that they are the real deal this season. Spurs have recovered since their absolute hiding from City at White Hart Lane and they must be seen as serious contenders for fourth place if they can win fixtures such as this - No Nonsense.