Chelsea Loses, Arsenal Chokes, Man. United and City Gain Ground

| by Ian Palmer

The English Premier League just got a lot tighter after this weekend’s set of games and that’s great for any neutral fans out there. The big news was Chelsea losing 1-0 away to Birmingham with Lee Bowyer scoring on his team’s only shot on net in the 17th minute. Chelsea poured it on, but the goalkeeping of Ben Foster and the woodwork kept them off the board and sent them to their third loss in the last four games.

But Give Birmingham credit. They actually attempted two more shots on target during over 90 minutes of action for a grand total of three. Chelsea pumped 32 towards Foster and hit the net nine times. Screw the fans, who needs to entertain them when you beat the league leaders?

Arsene Wenger and his band of merry men lived up to their deserved reputation as chokers after coughing up a 2-0 lead at home against Tottenham and came out on the wrong end of a 3-2 score. I’m sure Arsenal fans are delighted to hear the club’s top ticket prices will be rising to 100 pounds soon, with an increase in tax being blamed for the blatant rip off. After winning nothing at all for over five years it’s definitely a kick in the vas deferens for all loyal Gunners fans.

While the top-two London teams were busy blowing points, the Manchester clubs each picked up three on them with United winning 2-0 at home against Wigan, and City pasting Fulham away 4-1 in front of Argentina’s most famous cheater Diego Maradona. It’s unclear what Maradona was doing in London, but he might have just been shopping for a new pair of earrings after the Italian taxman confiscated his favorite pair last year for income tax evasion.

Liverpool, who were without captain Steven Gerrard after he was injured in England’s 2-1 surrender to France at Wembley in midweek, beat a sleepwalking West Ham team 3-0. West Ham manager Avram Grant should have been left at Anfield when the team bus took off after the game since he contributes absolutely nothing to the club. What’s worse is he’s still in the first year of a ridiculous four-year deal.

In fact, I think Grant has been rooted at the bottom of the EPL for the best part of two seasons now, first with Portsmouth and now with the Hammers. His team has one win to its name this season and it’s about time the league started charging him rent for the cellar. Grant may then be able to sublet it out to Wolves manager Mick McCarthy who’s sharing it with him. Whoever hired Grant and gave him a multi-year contract should resign immediately.

Bolton thumped an inconsistent Newcastle side 5-1 at home, Stoke beat West Brom 3-0 away and the attack-minded Blackpool beat Wolves 2-1 at home. Blackburn shut out a sinking Aston Villa side 2-0 at home. Sunderland and Everton played to a 2-2 draw in Sunderland on Monday.

This all means Chelsea hangs onto first place for the time being, albeit on goal difference, as they have 28 points and a +19 mark. Man United is level on points with a +13 goal difference followed by Arsenal with 26 points, Man City (25), Bolton and Tottenham (22), Sunderland (20), Stoke and Liverpool (19), Newcastle, Blackburn, and Blackpool (18), Aston Villa (17), Everton, Birmingham, and West Brom (16), Fulham and Wigan (14), and Wolverhampton and West Ham (9) bring up the rear and will likely be relegated back to where they belong by the time the season’s over. Supporters of those teams can thank McCarthy and Grant for that.

The Premier League continues next weekend and and betjamaica take wagers on the games.