6 talking points from the St Stephens Day Premier League action

first_img6. ‘Boring’ Chelsea a worry for the rest of the leagueChelsea don’t currently look like a team still in the Champions League and just two points off the league leaders,  having beaten Swansea 1-0 earlier.Each positive result they secure, however, seems to be punctuated by a ‘but…’For example, Jose Mourinho was last week forced to defend his side against the accusation that they were boring, even after they had achieved a relatively encouraging point at the Emirates.And while the football they play may not always be pretty, there are few better managers than Mourinho capable of setting up a side likely to grind out a result.Moreover, Chelsea were also accused of being ‘boring’ during Mourinho’s previous tenure in charge, which was the most successful era in their history. So perhaps they should, in fact, take these quips as compliments.Like football? Follow TheScore.ie’s dedicated Twitter account @football_ie>Ex-Liverpool player Harrison, once world’s most expensive teenager, dies at 46>Chelsea scrape past Swans thanks to Hazard winner> Updated at 23.341. Referees need to be braverFor the umpteenth time this season, players on both sides in the Man City-Liverpool game tugged each other’s jerseys ad nauseam while waiting for corners to be played into the box.Referees’ willful ignorance of these infringements is inexplicable and lowers the credibility of the game in fans’ eyes.Moreover, when or if an official does eventually penalise a player for engaging in this risky practice, the culprits will rightfully complain of a lack of consistency.Few people want jersey-tugging to become as endemic as it seems, for instance, in Italian football, so the referees’ association need to address their officials’ ineptitude in this regard and start punishing them if they continue to neglect their duties.2. United benefit from Rafael misfortuneWhat looked a moment of misfortune for United today actually benefited them considerably.The visitors’ predicament at the KC Stadium appeared to be getting even worse when, as they found themselves 2-0 down to Hull, Rafael was forced to leave the field injured.Yet this ostensible setback allowed United to revert to a more attacking style, with Antonio Valencia switching to full back and Adnan Januzaj being introduced into the action.The youngster had a near-immediate impact, winning the free kick that led to Chris Smalling’s goal and generally having a positive impact on the game.It was evidence perhaps of both Januzaj’s and David Moyes’ growing experience at United, with the Scot’s bold move at this difficult stage in the game ultimately paying off handsomely.3. New look but same problems for Tottenham(Tottenham Hotspur’s Emmanuel Adebayor looks up during their English Premier League soccer match against West Bromwich Albion – Bogdan Maran/AP/Press Association Images)Not for the first time this season, Tottenham looked anything but a potential Champions League side this afternoon.New manager Tim Sherwood picked an attacking 4-4-2 formation, just as he had in their recent 3-2 victory over Southampton.Yet this time, the move didn’t exactly pay off.Under AVB, Spurs’ chief problem was their difficulty in breaking teams down, and this issue arose again today, as they laboured to a 1-1 draw with West Brom at White Hart Lane.Consequently, it is no big surprise that their away record is superior to their home form — weaker teams are more willing to shut up shop in the latter instances, and Tottenham often have no answer to such pragmatism.4. Everton’s home record destroyed from the unlikeliest of sourcesUntil today, Everton had gone unbeaten at home in the league for the duration of 2013.The loss of this prestigious accolade so close to the final hurdle will be even more difficult to take considering that it came against bottom-placed Sunderland, who now have four wins against top-six sides this season.Yet the 1-0 result only tells half the story.The Toffees were substantially disadvantaged by the loss of their goalkeeper, Tim Howard, after he was sent off early in the game.And even playing against 10 men, Sunderland were fortunate to come away with a win, as goalkeeper Vito Mannone produced an exceptional performance.Therefore, for Sunderland, the victory is further confirmation that they have the ability to hold their own in the league, while Everton at least can console themselves amid the realisation that fortune eluded them this afternoon.5. Cazorla inspires Arsenal fightback While Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski got the goals that earned Arsenal a hard-fought 3-1 victory over West Ham today, there is arguably one other player who did more than anyone else to win them the three points.Santi Cazorla, perhaps peeved at being left on the bench for their recent encounter with Chelsea, produced the type of vintage performance that has long been his trademark.As they do with so many of their opponents, the Gunners passed West Ham into submission, until the Hammers were barely able to run and could hardly help but concede three late goals in the space of 11 minutes.Cazorla typified his side’s class and ran the game, allowing others to grab the headlines in the process. Consequently, maybe Arsene Wenger will think twice the next time he contemplates leaving out the Spaniard for a big game.last_img

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