The Manchester Juggernaut
Johnny Evans playing for the injured Vidic, mauled Balotelli outside of the penalty box, and Sir Alex’s Manchester United were forced early in the match to play the juggernaut-like Manchester City with ten men. Manchester United ended being pistol whipped 6-1. One is forced to question Ferguson’s judgment. He could have played Smalling or Phil Jones to partner with Ferdinand. His faith in Johnny Evans has failed to pay any dividend. Even in his substitutions, Ferguson took off Nani and Anderson. Nani can change a game at any time and Anderson runs hard and passes well in mid-field. Ferguson’s moves in recent games have been dubious. Manchester United began the season in a blaze of glory. In the last couple of games, the fire has burnt itself out and there is only smoldering coming from the Manchester United campsite. Manchester City now leads the champions by five points. Balotelli is on fire, literally and metaphorically. Silva is showing this season that he is one of the better playmakers in the EPL. Micah Richards has grown under Mancini and is always a threat. The acquisition of Clichy has meant that City now has two speedy attacking full backs. Tevez is still in the dog-house and will be sold in January. Even without their leading goalkeeper from last season, Mancini strike force appears unstoppable. Manchester United destroyed Arsenal at the beginning of the season. Now they have been pulverized by their cross-town rivals. Suddenly Manchester United looks very ordinary.Arsenal Keeps the Powder Dry
Wenger made a gallant effort to resuscitate Chamakh’s career in the EPL. But Chamakh looks like he is shovel-ready for a post-mortem. Wenger had to produce his remaining trump card, Van Persie, to show that Arsenal is not bereft of artillery. The difficult-to-play Stoke City was completely thrashed by an Arsenal team that has rediscovered the magic of the passing game. Arteta seemed to have caught his second wind and Gervinho scored and had an assist. Coming off the bench, Van Persie scored two goals. Allan Ramsey seems to have gotten back his game. Arsenal could finish in the top four. They are climbing back from the torturous days of August. Wenger is still a couple of players short of being an elite team and the January window will tell us much about Arsenal’s willingness to invest in the present.Chelsea Departs in Pieces
Chelsea played QPR with nine men. They were like a boxer fighting with one hand tied. Bosingwa was given a red card for tugging at the shirt of Sean Wright- Phillips even though it was not a clear breakaway at goal. Drogba made a silly two-footed tackle that earned the Ivorian an early shower. David Luiz plays like he is on steroids. He comes into games with kinetic energy and usually ends up doing something stupid. He failed to play a clearance in the box and having allowed the ball to bounce, with the QPR forward off to the left side of the goal, the erratic Luiz pushed him unceremoniously. That resulted in a penalty that was converted. Chelsea had the opportunity to make up ground on Manchester City but squandered the opportunity as the squad performed like schoolboys.