Weekly Report: Title Talk, Super Scots and Europa Evasion

by Luke Bradshaw

Thursday, May 5th, 2011
 

So when pundits say the title race isn’t over till it’s over, it looks like it might actually not be. Although it probably is. Well done to United and Chelsea, and Arsenal for that matter, and almost certainly the officials at Stamford Bridge who have kept the race alive, although having not lost a single game at Old Trafford this season, United are still very much in the driving seat; Hernandez is probably riding shotgun.

Sir Alex couldn’t resist another dig at referees and their decision-making this week, and considering Chelsea got an entire season’s worth of good luck against Spurs, that may be their quota done. Good luck Howard Webb, scrutiny doesn’t even begin to describe what you will face this Sunday.

The Premier League aside, Man United made it three CL finals in four years – an incredible achievement, especially as this is a weaker side than the last two final-reaching squads. While their domestic away form has been pretty dire (just four wins), on the continent they have a 100% record and are yet to concede a single goal.

Arsenal fans will be pleased with a pretty faultless performance last Sunday, but will also be hoping it doesn’t convince Wenger that things are actually alright after all. Down the Seven Sisters Road, Spurs can all but wave the Champions League goodbye, but really don’t want to say hello to its bloated little brother, Redknapp has said as much. And I don’t think Liverpool do either. That Europa League re-vamp really has worked wonders.

Further down the table Blackburn managed a very important win. Even more impressive was the fact that Blackpool managed a clean sheet considering the 70 Prem goals they’ve conceded this term. Only Stockport (92nd out the country’s 92 league sides) have conceded more goals than the Tangerines this season across the four divisions.

Despite the credible point – and first goalless draw at Bloomfield Road this season – a gap has emerged and the bottom four are ever so slightly adrift. Accompanying Blackpool are the Ws; not West Brom of course, they have Woy Hodgson and more importantly, wins. It’s Wolves, West Ham and Wigan who must work wonders.

Somewhere in the middle, Sunderland could do with a fit striker, Villa could do with a fit manager, and Fulham could have done with having Bobby Zamora fit all season.

While Scotland struggle to produce footballers of real ability these days, they certainly know how to breed a manager. Step forward Paul Lambert, who has steered Norwich through back-to-back promotions to the Prem. He joins Ferguson, Moyes, Coyle, McLeish, Keane and Dalglish at the tartan-drenched top table. No Souness though, funny that.

Previous sides who have managed the same feat (Watford spring to mind, I’m sure there was another relatively recently) have gone straight back down, so good luck to the Canaries this time around. Congratulations to QPR as well, although legal matters still, well, matter.

Favourite thing this week: Its not this monstrosity, but this terrible goalkeeping getting punished.

You follow me on twitter here while I try to take that Europa League spot for myself, I mean if no one else wants it I may as well.

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