Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Race to the Top, Race to the Bottom

Ball Harambee Feb. 13 By Bagga Wilks

Manchester City and Manchester United continue their see-saw battle for the championship of the English Premier League. Manchester City eked out a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa and Manchester United defeated their traditional rivals, Liverpool 2-1. Both games were strangely contested.

Playing at Old Trafford, Manchester United had the majority of possession against a Liverpool team that could not get it going in the first half. Immediately at the outset of the second half, Manchester United scored two goals in rapid succession against a lackluster Liverpool aggregation.

Dalglish made some changes in the second half and rather than having his team laying back, they switched to an attacking mode as Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy added punch to the attack.

Manchester United struggled to keep a clean sheet but the troubled Suarez closed the gap by scoring from a goalmouth melee.

Manchester City playing on Sunday at Aston Villa had to win to overtake their Manchester rivals. Silva was superb, with his exquisite turns and extraordinary ball control. They kept probing the Aston Villa goal but could not break them down. The breakthrough came in the second half from a corner kick and Julian Lescott, the tall central defender scored for the visitors.

Mancini can begin to breathe easily again as Yaya Toure will be back untriumphantly from the Africa Cup “to rev up” the sputtering Manchester City machine.

Chelsea needs more than a “rev up”. They may need a blood transfusion as they lost to Everton convincingly.

The gods smiled on Arsenal as they won 2-1 in overtime against Sunderland to move back into fourth place ahead of Chelsea. Tottenham Spurs is still in the horserace for the EPL championship as they clobbered the stumbling Newcastle 5-0.

Newly promoted Norwich with 33 points and Swansea with 30 points seemed removed from relegation dialectics.

Wigan, Bolton and Wolves are presently confined to the relegation zone with 19, 20 and 21 points respectively. Also in the relegation mix are Blackburn and QPR with 21 and 21 points respectively.

There is still a long way to trod before the end of the season but the dye has already been cast and the season will end with the three thoroughbreds vying for the top place in the League and the five mangy dogs fighting for every point to remain in the most competitive league in world soccer.

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