Thanksgiving is over and Christmas music is at full blast everywhere you go. Thankfully for us footy fans, the Premier League is at full blast as well. This week we got to enjoy some midweek Premier League action and now here on Thursday, we find ourselves only a day and a half from some more.
The story lines unfolding this year continue to get more and more interesting, but year after year we expect that right? Let's start by talking a little Southampton:
Is the fairy tale nearing it's end for The Saints? Well...it is starting to appear that way, as the team who has been mired in second place for quite some time now, finally dropped to 3rd after a 1-0 loss to Arsenal. It wasn't much of a surprise either, as Southampton has been struggling against weaker opposition the past few weeks and has finally started to look like a team holding on. Although Arsenal hasn't been performing to the standards they would like to be, their talent and experience found a way to shut out Southampton and possibly exposed the Cinderella story even further than they already had been.
For those of us (like myself personally), who don't hold any real bias toward any of the top teams, it's a little disappointing, as Southampton has been exciting to follow this season. But who knows? Maybe I am giving the fat lady the go ahead to rock the mic too early. My gut on the other hand tells me otherwise.
Who has cursed Merseyside? Although Liverpool did get a much needed three points this week against an outclassed Leicester City, their 8th place position is still a far cry from where they expected to be right now.
There is another team in Merseyside however who might actually like to be in Liverpool's position....well at least in a relative sense. Everton continued to struggle this week with a draw against Hull City, an opponent that recently lost to Burnley and shouldn't have been much of a struggle for the Blues. That result however barely scratches the surface. Everton's lackluster season so far includes only four wins, only one of them being against opposition currently ranked higher than them on the table (West Ham), as well as a 1-1 draw against Sunderland.
What could the light at the end of the tunnel be for Everton though? When you look at each match they have drawn or lost, they haven't been blown out. In some matches, one might even argue that they were the better team despite losing....that is one of the cruel aspects of this game. I am just not sure they have the firepower to overcome the mediocrity they've been exuding throughout the season so far. Seems crazy with names like Mirallas, Lukaku and Eto'o on your roster, but plain and simple......it's just not working.
Not sure if all of this Merseyside disappointment will prove to be a bonding element for the Red and the Blue (I highly doubt it actually), but I am guessing both sides are at a point where they would do pretty much anything to lift this curse. Maybe Liverpool just needs to send Balotelli packing?
Don't call it a comeback. No really....don't, Manchester United still has a ways to go and their stumble into the top four hasn't been all that pretty, but let's be honest.....you're all thinking it.......the Red Devils just might be gaining steam. Now as I stated earlier, I am not biased to any of the big names in the Premier League, but given the fact that I did predict Man U to have a potential Championship season, I am at least happy that I am starting to look less like an idiot right now, although I am sure someone could find something else to point out that would suggest otherwise.
Van Gaal and the boys squeaked out a win against Stoke City this week which has lined them up for a chance to jump Southampton this weekend for a cozy spot in third place. This would leave them with only their two biggest rivals ahead of them (Man City and Chelsea) and it would give us the potential for an absolutely epic march for the title.
I am not sure if they can keep up their recent spell of good luck, but with Southampton on the way down and discombobulation still alive and well at mid-table, now may be the best time for the Red Devils to get hot.
Alright so time for my three matches of the week and my predictions. I would love for you all to play along and give me your predictions as well. Comment down below with what you think will happen and I will be sure to give you a shout out in my next blog entry.
Match 1: Stoke City v. Arsenal
Stoke is known for hanging in many of their matches and they did give Manchester United a pretty good match this week. Arsenal on the other hand is coming off of a 1-0 win against Southampton which on paper looks really good this year, but for obvious reasons that can be found above, I am not sure it's as big of a win as it appears.
It's hard not to love Arsenal, as well as their amazing fans, but even if I was a betting man, I wouldn't even think of putting any money on them quite yet. My prediction for this game is a 1-1 draw.
Match 2: Man City v. Everton
The bumpy road for Everton doesn't get any easier this week as they take on 2nd place Man City. To make matters worse? The game is in Manchester. "Citeh" has been looking good lately and even this week when they went down 1-0 to Sunderland early, there wasn't any panic as they went about demolishing the "Lads" in a dominating fashion.
Given Everton's struggles this season, I don't see this one being close. My prediction is 3-0 for Man City.
Match 3: Southampton v. Manchester United
My thoughts on this match won't come as much of a surprise after what I said earlier in this entry. My gut tells me Southampton is on it's way down and although it hasn't been pretty, Man U is on their way up.
I don't see this being a match full of goals, but I do see a Red Devil win even if the match is being played in Southampton. My prediction is a 1-0 win for United.
Like I said, I would love for everyone to play along, so hit me with your predictions!