Most neutrals, including Man United fans who are on a self-imposed exile in the Uefa Champions League, watched with envy a resurgent Arsenal ripping apart Galatasaray mid week, demonstrating to sceptics that unlike United, “the Gunners are a team in England playing soccer on the continent” with ease.
The Gunners’ performance might be a statement of intent that people should not read much into their shambolic Premier League campaign so far and a warning to today’s opponents Newcastle United that they are not going to do a Chelsea with them.
That Newcastle are gradually earning a reputation of giant killers is there for all to see. They have so far condemned Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool and Spurs to shock losses. The Magpies are a wild cat. They can under-perform or over-perform. Fortunately for Arsenal, they seem to produce better results under pressure with their backs facing the wall and who knows, they might just nick this one.
The game to watch this week should be the United versus Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. Man U have climbed steadily from 13th to third position and suddenly United supporters are gradually forgetting the misery that David Moyes era compounded on the team.
If they win this match, they will consolidate that position as they wait for City and Chelsea to crumble. Liverpool are at the lowest ebb of confidence having performed miserably in the league and being dumped in the Champions League. It appears they have not recovered from the departure of Luis Suarez and are now wearing a tag of a ‘team in crisis’.
But United are meeting a wounded Liverpool. If they play the way they did in the second half of their Champions League match in which they scored a beautiful goal playing 10 men, it would be interesting. Considering that such matches are not necessarily decided by form, anything can happen. The only drawback for Liverpool is that they are exhausted from Champions League exertions midweek and might actually walk alone after their woes increase tomorrow afternoon.
On paper, Chelsea versus Hull, Leicester against Man City look like easy games for the blues and City, but these are the games that might shock the most ardent of fans of City and Chelsea.
Remember when Stoke City lined up against Arsenal last week, we all thought it would be an easy game for the Gunners but they lost in bizarre manner. The beauty of the Premier League is that there is no easy game.
Now that the TNM Super League is both won and lost, it is a game of pride for the Blantyre derby at Kamuzu Stadium today in the Mayor’s Shield. The Nomads have an opportunity to salvage some pride, but unfortunately they do not seem to have a squad that can compete with Big Bullets. I hear Thomas Kwanaite and the Supersport crew are in town and might have a look at the Blantyre derby. May the best team win. n