Well we're not quite half way through the Premier League season, but after week 15 certain scenarios are starting to take shape that could just have a good chance of holding on. It was another dramatic week of footy, but hey....that's what we all hope for and expect right?
Arsenal gets STOKE'd:
So many people would love to see Arsenal have a break out season and these past few years we've seen glimpses of that sort of potential out of Wenger's squad. However, the Gunners continue to be that team who shoots themselves in the foot (pun maybe intended?) when it comes down to crunch time. Hanging out around the bottom of the Top 5 in a season that has been a little bit scatterbrained should give Arsenal the perfect opportunity to jockey themselves into a position to make a run for it come Spring of 2015. This week against Stoke City should have been the perfect chance to make up a little ground.
As most of you know though...that didn't happen. Arsenal didn't just have a disappointing draw with Stoke City, they lost to Stoke City. Not to mention they gave up three FIRST HALF goals to Stoke City, a team who has really had it's offensive struggles.
The Gunners have the goods, but their lack of consistency just keeps bringing them down. Some people are worried about their defense, but I just don't see that really being a huge issue. In the games they've won (including Champion's League), they have shut down potent offenses quite nicely. The problem is the fact that we don't know if they are going to come to play each game or not.
The Merseyside Whirlpool:
Both Liverpool and Everton continued to struggle this week and yes...I know it is starting to make me sound like a broken record. I had both of these teams rounding out the Top 5 in my preseason predictions and I have to admit, I am still a little stunned by their constant stumbles.
Liverpool only managed a 0-0 draw against an abysmal Sunderland side and Everton lost a 1-0 game to Man City. It's hard to decide which team showed more promise, since Liverpool does continue to at least pick up points, but then again....it was against Sunderland. Everton didn't manage to take any points from their match, but hey, Man City is a Top 3 team right now. Neither team could find the back of the net though which kind of speaks volumes for how their respective seasons have gone so far.
Still plenty of soccer to be played, but this has to be one of the more frustrating seasons for Merseyside fans from either side.
The Red Devils Join The Party:
There were plenty of great jokes about Manchester United at the start of the season when they couldn't seem to buy a win, even against weak competition, but all that has seemed to change as Man U now finds themselves at the grownups table with their two biggest Premier League Rivals.
After an exciting start for Southampton, a recent run that has seemingly brought them back down to earth put Man U in a position to leapfrog the Saints for third place. They would have to do it on the road at St. Mary's stadium and do it....they would. It was a hard fought match, but a brace from the recently criticized Robin Van Persie would be enough for the Red Devils to beat Southampton and take three points back to Old Trafford.
If this trend continues, it makes for a pretty exciting Top 3. As I mentioned earlier, just above Man U are their two biggest rivals, Chelsea and Man City. It's the sort of Championship run that TV stations dream about.
Alright, time for my three matches of the week. As always, please do play along and give me your predictions as well!
Burnley v. Southampton
After a recent trip back from the clouds, this should be the perfect match for Southampton to get back on track. Burnley is still getting used to the competition level in the Premier League and Southampton has the better team if they haven't let their last few matches bring them down mentally. My prediction is a 2-0 win for Southampton.
Arsenal v. Newcastle
Newcastle kind of has something in common with Arsenal and that's a lack of consistency. Their last two games include a draw with Burnley and a win over previously unbeaten Chelsea. I am not sure if Arsenal's loss to Stoke City will ignite a fire under them or bring them down, but I am pretty sure that Newcastle will be feeling pretty cocky after handing Chelsea their first loss of the season. Since the game is in Emirates Stadium though? My prediction is a 2-2 draw.
Manchester United v. Liverpool
This match is very interesting because it will show us if Man U has just been a pretender these past few weeks or if they really are in the hunt for a title. Liverpool is struggling, but they have the talent if they figure out how to use it and a win against Man U would be great for team morale. If Liverpool wants to take three points though, they would have to do it at Old Trafford and I am not sure they have the ability to do so. There is a good chance this match ends in a scoreless draw, but I am feeling like gambling a bit, so with that said.... My prediction is 2-0 Manchester United
So there are my thoughts on Week 15 and my predictions for Week 16. Time to chime in with yours now!