Over the festive season, goals came like presents under a rich couple’s Christmas tree with a multitude of children grateful for the generosity of Santa Clause. Arsenal against Newcastle produced ten goals. At one point, it appeared that Arsenal’s defensive four were incapable of defending against a Newcastle cross into the box. Theo Walcott, Arsenal’s unsigned striker opened the scoring with a beauty but Newcastle led by Demba Ba kept coming back.
Newcastle is going through an horrendous spell and they find themselves not too far from the relegation zone, plagued with injuries to starters who would make a difference. Arsenal scored seven goals against a wobbly Newcastle defense. Walcott was at his best, with nabbing a hat-trick, Giroud coming on as a late substitute scored two, Chamberlain netted and Podolski also scored.
Wenger must have been pleased with the result but if they are to challenge for one of the top four positions they will have to tighten their defensive posture.
The Tottenham speed merchants, Bale and Lennon are not easy to contain. Bale in the open field is unstoppable. Adebayor is off to a slow start this season but Defoe is back to his old opportunistic self. Sandro is an improved player in midfield and should have a long and productive career at Tottenham. Dembele, the new acquisition from Fulham, is still struggling to fit in to Tottenham’s pace. Dempsey, also a new acquisition from Fulham, whenever he plays, shows his uncanny sense of where his teammates are situate on the field.
Tottenham showed they were in a different weight class from Sunderland and kept rolling with three more points, securing a position in the top four.
Manchester City began against Norwich as if they had come to demolish them at home. Not long after the referee’s whistle, Manchester City was up by two goals from striker, Dzeko. But Norwich is a team of eleven tenacious players and they fought their way back into the game. Nasri’s petulance earned him a red card and Mancini’s men were down to ten men. Every time Manchester City would score, Norwich found a way to fight back. Manchester City managed to stay in front at the final whistle, keeping close to Manchester United with a 4-3 victory.
Everton this season has been the over-achievers in the E.P.L. thus far for this year. No team had beaten Everton at home since March of this year and in the 63 seconds of the first half Everton put Chelsea on the back foot.
It was a hard-fought game like two heavyweights pounding at each other for ninety minutes. The aging Frank Lampard showed that he is not yet a toothless lion as he scored both goals to give Chelsea a grinding 2-1 victory.
Chelsea has performed well with Rafael Benitez at the helm. The experiment with David Luiz in mid-field has produced mixed results. Against Everton, Luiz was inaccurate with his passing and was involved with senseless infractions. He has not played that well to impress the new Brazilian coach, Scolari.
Chelsea is still struggling up front. Fernando Torres has shown some of his old magic but not sufficient to prevent Chelsea from plunging into the January market for a striker like Demba Ba or Falcao. There is still more sorting out to do with the Chelsea team. Hazard is immensely tricky but the wear and tear of the E.P.L seems to be taking a toll on him. He starts over Oscar but Oscar’s work rate is much higher and is more in the rough and tumble of the English game.
Chelsea is now perched in third place, behind the two Manchesters. The January hunt should produce some fresh meat.