A perfect gameweek for the Big 4 it could be said, if we count Liverpool’s draw as a fair one in the end 😉 , with Chelsea hitting the seventh sky, Arsenal closing in on the first place, Man United, although somewhat in a financial crisis, managed to see off Burnley, while Liverpool, who also have a crisis of their own, were held to a draw by Stoke.
Chelsea are confirming their menace to deny Man Utd another title, and this time they did it with style, as even with Drogba, Kalou, Essien and Mikel out playing for the African Cup of Nations, Chelsea humiliated Sunderland, a team which beat Liverpool and Arsenal, and went for a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford, but the Blues displayed may be their best attacking football for the season (or is it yet to come when Drogba & co return??) , and they saw off the Black Cats by a 7-2 scoreline.
Anelka scored a double (8th & 65th), same for Lampard(34th & 90th), while Malouda, Ballack and Ashley Cole had a goal a-piece, on the 17th, 42nd and 22nd minutes respectively, while for Sunderland, Zenden and Bent scored for consolation on 56th and 90th minutes respectively. With such a brilliant display, it would be hard for teams to face the Blues in the coming days, and may be Ancelotti has finally found the formation to make others squirm in fear.
Manchester United were up against Burnley at Old Trafford, and amidst the financial crisis going on at the club, United had to make a good result to end their poor performances in recent games. Burnley managed to keep off the Red Devils at bay for around 64 minutes and had missed some opportunities themselves, before eventually Berbatov found the way to the net, via a deflected shot, and five minutes later Rooney doubled the lead to give the team some breathing space. Mame Diouf wrapped up the points in the dying minutes for his first United goal in 2 appearances, but Van Der Sar still had to be vigilant to keep off Burnley when a free-kick was awarded, which he managed to save brilliantly. The plus-point for United is that the great Dutchman is back in goal, which will somewhat reassure the defense, with both Rio and Vidic still out.
Arsenal for their part are missing players through injuries, but still this did not deter the Gunners from closing the gap on the top 2, with still a game in hand. They were up against Bolton, which has signed former Burnley manager Owen Coyle, but the Wanderers could not find a way through the Arsenal backline, while on the other end the Spanish Connection, Fabregas and Merida scored 2 goals on the 28th and 78th minutes respectively to seal the vital 3pts for the Gunners, which according to reports have signed Sol Campbell for 6 months as well. Amazingly, the Gunners will play their late game, again against Bolton in midweek, this time at the Emirates Stadium, and by the looks of things, it could well rain goals as a win will lift Arsenal above Man Utd, currently in 2nd place, and level them on points with Chelsea, so Arsenal’s title bid is still going on strong.
Liverpool were yet again disappointing against Stoke City, but with Gerrard,Torres and Benayoun out injured. However, the Kops were the ones to score first via Kyrgiakos on 57th minute, but as they say bad habits never die, and Liverpool tried to defend their 1-goal lead, inviting pressure from Stoke, which eventually capitalized through Huth on the 90th minute to draw level and earn a point for Stoke, a match which Liverpool needed to win to get closer to the 4th spot they are coveting.
Meanwhile, Mancini tasted his first defeat with Man City, as Everton duely outplayed a rather dull looking City side, and scored 2 goals through Pienaar and Saha (penalty), on the 36th and 45th minutes respectively. The addition could have been worse for Tevez & co, had it not been Given to deny the Toffees, and when he was beaten, it was the woodwork which came to his rescue to limit the damage which could have been inflicted to them. The talk-of-the-town however could be the substitution of Robinho, who himself came on as a substitute to replace the injured Santa Cruz, but was then taken out by his manager during the second half in an attempt to rescue the game.
Other fourth place contenders could not do better, as both Aston Villa and Tottenham drew their games, 0-0, for both teams which faced West Ham and Hull City respectively. Portsmouth had their game with Birmingham postponed, while Wigan went for a 2-0 win at Wolves, same scoreline in the favor of Blackburn at home against Fulham.