Now with every team in the Premier League having played 12 games, normally we would begin to see some indication as to what to expect at the end of the season, however all we see right now is parity. Outside of the top 4, which most people would have picked, there are 13 teams separated by no more than 6 points. Newcastle, Sunderland and Bolton all hold positions in top 10 and all have had big results against teams playing in Europe this season. Liverpool and Aston Villa broke into the top 10 on Wednesday night and look set to step up as they grow in confidence. This means that the usual busy Christmas period, which will see most teams play 10 games in the next 7 weeks could be even more important for a team that is playing with confidence or for a club that hits a run of bad form. Even the Premier League top goal scorers chart has an unconventional look about it with Kevin Nolan and Florent Malouda each with 7 goals along with Andy Carroll who seems to be adapting well to life in the Premier league and could be in line for an England call up. Some of the usual suspects in Bent, Berbatov and Drogba all have 6.
Looking forward it is hard to see anyone outside of the top 4 breaking in, as Spurs seem to be struggling with big games midweek and ultimately big letdowns on Saturday afternoon. So if the Champions league spots are almost given to Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal where does that leaves us for Europa League spots. Do Spurs have the squad to hold on to European dreams? Can Liverpool stabilize and make another push? Or could we see Sunderland, Newcastle and Bolton pushing for European football? The later wouldn’t be a bad thing, it would allow some England fringe players to experience some European football, which is England’s ultimate problem but we will get to that next week. Michael Turner, Lee Cattermole, Jordan Henderson, Darren Bent all of Sunderland (ok I might be a little biased here) along with Andy Carroll and Joey Barton at Newcastle and Kevin Davies with his Bolton team mate Gary Cahill could all help the England set up if they were playing European football and getting used to they styles of Italian, Spanish and German teams.
After what seems like the first full set of midweek games in a very long time, there is another weekend full of Premier League soccer with some interesting games. Aston Villa host Manchester United in Saturday’s early game. Manchester United is coming of the back of a good showing against Manchester City and Villa are looking settled and resurgent under Houllier. Newcastle take on Fulham, West Brom travel to Wigan, West Ham are up against Blackpool, Spurs vs Fulham and Liverpool travel to Stoke. All 5 of these games include teams that are all within 3 points of each other, so if we see more wins than ties this weekend the Premier League could begin to separate slightly and provide a slightly clearer picture.
About the Author
Written by Mark Adamson
Growing up in the North-East of England soccer is our religion, it was, is and always will be the main topic of conversation, I can’t think of much else that gets people so passionate. As a Sunderland fan you get used to the ups and downs the joy of playing in the Premier League as opposed to the horror of Championship away games. Now in the US I get to watch more soccer than I ever did at home, we get analysis in ways you would never expect, the only thing missing is some of that little insight that only comes from eating, drinking and breathing the game your entire life, so here it is…….