Another Super Sunday is upon us. The last one was spellbinding and thought provoking; simply irresistible stuff from all the teams involved. Although the 2nd match was blighted by an inexplicable defensive howler by Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny, it was still a great game. Well, that is the past now. On to the next one.
Today’s DOUBLE HEADER pitches two London rivals (West and North) against each other and another London team against the red army of Manchester.
The first match is to be staged at Stamford Bridge where the Landlords haven’t found it all smooth sailing in recent weeks. Chelsea and Rafael Benitez dropped 2 points v the relentless Saints who have a new manager now in 20-cap retired Argie CB, Mauricio Pochettino (famously nicknamed the Sheriff in Spain) and that is just one of a string of poor results they have had.
Visitors, Arsenal, have been on a rough ride lately, with the last League match leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the Gunners’ faithful. Defeat to Manchester City and the manner in which it was inflicted upon left Arsene Wenger embittered and stunned.
Despite beating Swansea in midweek (F.A CUP Replay) and getting Theo Walcott to sign a new contract, the Frenchman will be looking for a swift response when his wards travel to West London- a ground they are well familiar with and had success there last season when a certain Robin Van Persie struck a hat-trick on the way to a 5-3 win.
Rafa Benitez is under immense pressure at CFC. He would do everything humanly possible to win over the Blues’ faithful as they have no ounce of love/loyalty/support for him. It is even made worse by the 16th minute (every match) rapturous applause by the fans for Champions League and F.A Cup winning Roberto Di Matteo who, in their eyes, was wrongly dismissed by owner Roman Abramovich.
Results haven’t exactly gone his way either. Save for some awe-inspiring performances v Aston Villa et al, there have been some dampeners…worst of all, the World Club Cup Final defeat to TITE’s Corinthians in Japan.
Juan Mata has been phenomenal this season, and alongside Steven Gerrard, has assisted the most goals in the League this season (8). He has also weighed in with 7 League goals and he is the main threat to the Arsenal team come tomorrow.
Senegalese power-packed striker, Demba Ba scored his 1st League goal on Wednesday v Southampton and will be looking to continue in that fashion. He has already faced Arsenal this season for Newcastle and knows very well how to put goals past them.
Fernando Torres is misfiring after everyone thought he had found his best form with the coming of the man who lured him to ENGLAND. In truth, he has been a disappointment. Inspirational captain, John Terry, could return to the starting 11 after sitting out the Southampton game.
Arsene’s Arsenal will be fuming at the loss of vice captain and midfield lynch pin, Mikael Arteta to injury just before the Manchester City game amid further bad news after the loss that he will be out for three weeks.
He will however be buoyed by the return of Abou Diaby and the breathtaking form of Jack Wilshere, whose brilliant goal knocked the Swans out of the F.A CUP in midweek. Santi Cazorla has relaxed a little bit, but you never discount a WORLD CLASS footballer’s contribution…do that at your own peril.
Olivier Giroud will hope to be back among the goals tomorrow and Theo Walcott will expect to celebrate his new contract with a fine performance. The defensive pairing of Per and Vermaelen can snuff out any attacking threat CFC will pose if they are at the peak of their powers.
CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Ramires, Lmapard, Oscar, Mata, Hazard, Torres,
ARSENAL: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby, Wilshere, Cazorla, Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
PREDICTION- A 1-1 draw or 2-1 Arsenal.
The second match of the day kicks off at White Hart Lane between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. The reverse fixture at Old Trafford saw the Lilywhites claim their first win in 23 years in that stadium and they are confident that they can secure an unlikely double over the League leaders.
In Gareth Bale, they possess one of the best players in the League and he has shown this season that he can even be as good as the best players in the World. His hat-trick at Villa Park in addition to other superb showings at various times are testament to that fact. Jermain Defoe is on fire as well and the form of Aaron Lennon is even scarier.
The diminutive winger has expressed himself in the most spectacular manner as the season has worn on. Bale and Lennon are easily the best wingers in the EPL at the moment and will definitely give Rafael Da Silva and Patrice Evra one hell of a game today.
The back line of Vertonghen and Dawson is water tight and have to be at their extreme best to keep out the returning Wazza and RVP from scoring.
Andre Villas-Boas was in one of his happiest ever moods when his boys left Old Trafford with all 3 points the last time they met. His managerial acumen will be called upon to ensure Spurs do all they can to defeat the red devils again.
The Red Army of Manchester United are in such excellent form. 9 VICTORIES out of 10 and 26 goals scored is astonishingly exquisite. It is the goal concession rate that is a thing of concern. The return of Nemanja Vidic has helped shore up the defence in the last few games and Sir Alex will be glad that his Captain is in contention to feature in this crucial match.
With Manchester City closing the gap earlier in the day after putting 2 past a hapless Fulham, the RED DEVILS cannot afford to slack in their own assignment. It is win or nothing for the 19-time English Champions. West Ham were sent out of the cup on Wednesday in a replay that saw the return of many 1st teamers including Wayne Rooney and Luis Nani who has missed the last 16 games.
SAF was angered by the way Rooney fluffed his lines when taking a 2nd half penalty in midweek and suggested that he took a cue from S’ampton’s Rickie Lambert who has converted 31 out of 31 spot kicks. That was the 10th penalty Wazza had lost since he started taking them. Not one to reckon with at all.
Spurs must pay special attention to former player, Michael Carrick who has been MUFC’s best player this season. Of course, the likes of Van Persie and Rooney who between them boast of 24 Premier League goals and 13 assists need no introduction and the Whites of North London have it all to do in their attempts to curtail them.
Another threat, unlikely before this season, is Patrice Evra, who, together with Jonny Evans, have managed to get on the scoresheet on 7 occasions. His forays into the opposition area this term has yielded the right results and if not keenly and properly watched, can inflict untold damage as the match progresses.
Sir Alex is an old campaigner. He knows how to defeat any team in the Premier League and hasn’t lost at the Lane in 11 meetings. He is very aware of the threat the Lilywhites pose and has everything at his disposal to match them player for player, talent for talent.
Another victory will be expected…whether comprehensive or hard fought.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Dawson, Naughton, Parker, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Lennon, Bale, Defoe.
MANCHESTER UNITED: DDG, Rafa, Rio, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Nani/Valencia, Wazza, RVP
PREDICTION: An outright Manchester United win. I am probably a bit biased. Just a bit.
Written by Ohireime Eboreime
Follow him on Twitter @ohiskaka1990
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