Week of Premier League drama: title race still on as Wigan throw championship wide open with victory over United
This double-game week proved to be a roller coaster of emotions for the entire Premier League, adding spice to an already flavoursome season.
Let’s start at the top. Man City looked down and out on Sunday evening, a fierce match against Arsenal was lost in the 87th minute and Mario Ballotelli, who was sent off, became the media scapegoat once again.
It’s undeniable that Ballotelli had a poor game, his tracking back was shoddy and he put in several reckless challenges. However, the game was not lost because one player had a poor game; how many times have we seen great teams carry teammates having off-games?
On a larger scale, let’s not forget that his 13 goals have been crucial in getting City to where they are. Moreover, Ballotelli had a bicycle kick which he narrowly missed, had he powered that into the net he would’ve been the temperamental saviour of City’s season.
It’s also worth mentioning that Arsenal won the game on their own merit, they outplayed City for the majority of the match in every department.
City’s woes were quickly eradicated with a tidy 4-0 win over West Brom whilst Man Utd, who had cruised past QPR on the weekend, succumbed to an excellent Wigan performance, losing 1-0.
Currently, City are five points behind United, exactly where they were before this set of double fixtures. The big problem for them is that they’re running out of games. The phrase “a real six-pointer” is overused but it’s very reasonable when describing their upcoming fixture with United on 30th April.
Elsewhere, the race for Champions League football has become more exciting than ever; Newcastle are now level on points with Spurs at 4th after two impressive wins against Swansea and Bolton.
Chelsea managed a late win to edge past Wigan but could only draw against Fulham which sees them two points behind in 6th.
Arsenal continues to prosper: the aforementioned win against City combined with a 3-0 win away at Wolves seeing them five points clear in 3rd.
The race for 4th is arguably far more enthralling than the race for the title. There are four genuine contenders, all of whom, in particular the London clubs, would be left devastated without Europe’s elite gracing their stadiums next season. It’s almost scary to think that two of those clubs won’t get the places. Their managers, especially Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea, need Champions League football to satisfy the black suits of the boardroom.
At the bottom, Bolton and Blackburn sunk into the relegation places while Wolves seem destined for the drop. How stupid must Jez Moxey, the Wolves CEO, feel about his decision to sack Mick McCarthy?
McCarthy was convinced that they would survive yet Moxey was foolish enough not to give him a chance after a poor spell. Look at Wigan; a club who has flirted with relegation every season since it has been in the Premier League, yet Dave Whelan does not opt to fire Roberto Martinez as he knows that it will totally undermine the stability of the club.
As French philosopher Voltaire once said: “it seems that common sense is not so common.” Terry Connor is in an untenable situation as he witnesses his side plummet; Moxey would be wise to admit his mistake and try and get McCarthy back as soon as possible.
However, it’ll probably be too little too late; no side has ever recovered from Wolves’ current situation at this stage of the season.