All the limelight this round was on another “Super Sunday”. Thankfully, the heavy snow throughout the weekend didn’t cause the games to be delayed. Chelsea hosted Arsenal in a game neither side could really afford to lose, and the Blues took the lead within fifteen minutes through Juan Mata’s early goal and Frank Lampard’s penalty. The Gunners showed their determination to push for a top-four finish with an improved second half performance. Theo Walcott pulled one back for the visitors, but Chelsea held on to win. The result means the Blues secured a double over the Gunners this season, casting serious doubt over the top-four credentials of Arsène Wenger’s men.
Another crucial game was held at White Hart Lane between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. Manchester City had done their job on Saturday by beating Fulham 2-0, and they could afford to sit comfortably and watch how their neighbors fared at the Lane. Robin Van Persie scored his 18th league goal, but it was no routine win for United. A resilient Hotspur secured a 1-1 draw through Clint Dempsey’s late goal, narrowing the gap between the top two to five points. The fight for the throne is still on.
Liverpool restored their confidence after losing the North West Derby by slaughtering Norwich 5-0 at home. The winter purchase Daniel Sturridge has netted three times in his first three outings, the first Liverpool player to do so since Ray Kennedy in 1974. Given the limited amount of time they have played together, it seems that Sturridge is developing a good understanding with Luis Suárez. The Reds have two difficult league fixtures coming up, which will see them visit Arsenal and Manchester City respectively, and “SAS” (Sturridge and Suárez) might be the key for Brendan Rodgers.
One manager that is desperate for a new striker is Alan Pardew. Queens Park Rangers hijacked Newcastle United’s prime target Loïc Rémy, and Pardew failed to secure another forward to replace Chelsea-bound Demba Ba. The Magpies lost to relegation threated Reading 1-2 at home last weekend – no wonder the usually patient and loyal Geordie fans jeered the team off the pitch. Alan Pardew, who signed a lazy eight-year contract last summer, certainly feels the heat now.