Sunday, 25 December 2011

Three Things We Learned This Week

The annual crazy christmas football period is upon us.  Added to the usual agony of watching your team play what seems like 10 games in 5 days, this season we've also had to cope with racism cases and refereeing blunders.  In terms of actual football, last week saw some great games and great goals and once again proved why winter breaks will not be coming into the Premier League any time soon.  

Steve Kean Could Go Down as the Most Hated Manager....Ever

No one really gave Steve Kean a chance when he succeeded Sam Allardyce as Blackburn Manager.  Our pessimism was less a result of the likability of the guy and more of the fact that he had no experience or established reputation to take on a big club like Blackburn Rovers.  And Kean is a likable guy.  But if there is one thing football fans can be sure of it's that the team that is bottom of the table at Christmas is more or less going to go down.  

Which makes it hard to see how Blackburn's owners can justify keeping Kean in charge.  Even if he conjures up a miracle and keeps them up, he'll have no chance of winning their fans over now if the hostile scenes at Ewood Park on Tuesday night are anything to go by.  Losing to a Bolton team that has lost more games than anyone else this season at home is bad and, despite Kean's rugged determination, two games away to Liverpool and Man United means he may have to fear for his safety in the new year. 

Wigan May Yet Prove That The Recipe For Survival Rests on Keeping Faith With Your Manager 

On the flipside to Blackburn's woes, it seems like Santa paid a visit to Wigan this Christmas and allowed Roberto Martinez to show everyone that Wigan may not be down and out after all.  Two points out of a possible six is not necessarily top form material, but the fact that this came out of games to Chelsea and Liverpool means that the Wigan boss has something to smile about over his turkey.  

Along with the valuable two points, the Spaniard would also be pleased with how his team have played. Victor Moses is establishing himself as a regular threat on the flanks and in Ali al Habsi the club have a keeper in the form of his life.  His penalty save on Wednesday night was not his first this season and his fine form will be vital to keeping the team up come May.  They could have even registered wins against both teams.  Wigan's revival begins now.  

Congratulations, Man City

And so the pleasure of being top of the league at Christmas goes to Roberto Mancini and Manchester City.  And there isn't a football fan out there that would argue that they do not deserve to be sitting on that perch on the 25th of December.  

Scoring 53 goals in 17 games is an amazing achievement and that is not even considering the 6 that were scored at Old Trafford and the five that were scored at White Hart Lane.  City have blown away teams this season and have ended the year as they started the season, wiping away a Stoke City team that hardly even touched the ball on Wednesday night.  Joe Hart could have been replaced with Mario Ballotelli and no-one in the stadium would have noticed such was City's dominance.  

There won't be many games that will be as easy as that in the second half of the season, and with the Europa league to contend with, their squad will be stretched.  But on form like this it looks like the Premier League will be going to Manchester, but the blue half will be laughing for the first time in a very, very long time.  

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