An interesting final round of festive fixtures took place this week and there was plenty of entertainment on show right across the board.
For many the game of the week was expected to be at the Etihad, but in fact it turned out to be at a windswept Sports Direct Arena as it played host to a cracker.
I will start with Monday’s action and the game of the day was the evening encounter at Craven Cottage, where Arsenal imploded in a disastrous final twenty minutes and Arsene Wenger blamed everyone but his team.
There were crucial away wins for both
and Swansea and a Peter Crouch inspired Stoke stalled the Norwich Blackburn charge. Elsewhere Frank Lampard scored a crucial winner for as they look to keep up with the chase for fourth. Chelsea
As we moved on to Tuesday’s action and to the home of the league leaders, despite having much of the possession once Stewart Downing missed his early chance Liverpool looked flat and unimpressive.
City were not easy on the eye but after the hammer blow they received on Sunday, the performance and their lethal touch when it mattered was impressive. Vincent Kompany was immense and he is going to be crucial in the run in, as there are not too many quality centre half’s around at the minute.
Despite the ineffectiveness of Edin Dzeko yet again his team mates rallied and ensured that Roberto Mancini’s men came through their toughest test of their mental strength so far this season.
Tottenham’s impressive form continued as they finally broke down a stubborn
West Brom at the Lane in a tight win. Martin O’Neil’s Midas touch continued as the smashed a poor Wigan with Stephane Sessegnon again running havoc.
Perhaps the most entertaining set of games were saved for Wednesday as Wayne Rooney returned to a United team looking to go back level on top at
. Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabeye dominated a woeful United midfield and the irresistible Demba Ba was unplayable all night. Newcastle
Rio Ferdinand looked exposed and behind the pace well before Ba’s wonderful opener, who is for me, the signing of the season and plenty of sides will be kicking themselves for missing out on him. I believe United will have to strengthen in the transfer window, but can they really challenge with the big boys in the market any more?
|Demba Ba and Alan Pardew|
Finally to round up a great start to 2012, a weird, yet wonderful goal from Everton’s goalkeeper Tim Howard was not enough to deny
Bolton as they picked up a crucial three points after a great second half fight back.
The league now takes a break to make way for the FA Cup and on Wednesday Tottenham entertain Everton as they finally play their delayed game from the opening weekend of the season due to the