Could Spurs pip Arsenal for the title?
Pundits are now quite rightly calling all the teams in the Premier League top 4 title contenders. There's only a five-point gap between Leicester at the top and Spurs in 4th but the north London side are only a very catchable 2 points behind both City and Arsenal. City and Spurs have a much better goal difference to the other two and so that gives Spurs an even better chance of finishing higher than Arsenal - something they have never, ever done for the last 20 years including all of 19 years of the Wenger era going back to 1996.
And Spurs are this morning sitting pretty on top of the Premier League form table with City one below them and Leicester and Arsenal 9th and 10th respectably.
What about cup and European distractions? Well Leicester don’t have any at all having been dumped out of the Capital One Cup by Hull and from the FA Cup by Spurs themselves. But does everyone’s second team Leicester have the squad to actually win it? If they get injuries they’ve no chance. Arsenal, whilst still in the FA Cup and Champions League were dumped out of the Capital One by Liverpool but they traditionally fall apart in the second half of the season.
City are still fighting on all four fronts which, given their meagre resources both up front and at centre back, could be a couple of competitions too far this season.
Spurs have got it almost easy. A superb FA Cup game against Colchester followed by a February where they only have to play City away in any decent Premier League clash. They do have a couple of Europa league clashes against high flying Fiorentina, but with there being no games on the weekend of 20th February, they get away with the dreaded Premier League clash following the European away game on the previous Thursday.
But if Spurs did win the league, could they hang onto the manager? Pochettino will be hot property and although Jose is the favourite to take over at Old Trafford, there are obviously some doubts about him in the thoughts of the United owners or he would have been appointed already. The next two in the betting – Giggs and Fergie himself are even worth considering as long term appointments beyond the rest of this season – and with Pep going to City, that leaves Potty in prime position at 14-1. At that price he’s definitely worth a punt whether he wins the Prem or not.
In our league, we have a new leader. Bauhaus’s Ben Wilcox has raced to the top from 5th place with an excellent 72 points on the week. Ben, like the others with the top scores, chose 24 point Aguero as his captain whereas most of those managers whose scores started with a 3 chose Lukaku. As we said last week, it’s down to the choice of captain over the next month until we get to Chip Alley in the March double gameweeks.
The Top 10 are as follows:
Ben Wilcox, Bauhaus
Luis Cruz, ConSol Partners
Jonathan, PDA Search and Selection
Manager of the Week
Rob Smith .......
In 48th place with a huge 80 points we find Liverpool fan Rob Smith. Rob was last featured in these pages last season when he won the Page 2 Pacesetter award in week 27. We’re glad that Rob’s now back with a vengeance and putting his choice of captain firmly in the team he supports. 36 points for Firmino won Rob nearly half of his points this week and he must be one of the few FL managers in the whole league to chose the £29m Brazilian. Add Ighalo and Aguero’s 24 points and you’re at 60 already from those three alone. But what about Firmino? Would you captain him again? He’s never actually been prolific as an out and out striker apart from one half-decent season in Germany, but with Kloppo firmly believing in him, who knows what he might achieve?
What a great week Rob.
Page 2 Pacesetter
Tim Allen has never had so much as a mention in these pages before today, but all that’s now changed with his excellent performance this week earning him 80 points and a 61st place in our league. Aguero (c), Ayew, Mahrez, Antonio and van Aanholt all chipped in but so did Tim’s Bench Boost chip. We’re not sure if this did him much good in the long term though with only 2 of his bench actually playing and one of them only scoring a single point.
Chips for March and April, Tim!
The Best of the Rest
Darren West .........
With 72 points in 137th place we find Chelsea fan, Darren West. Darren is yet another manager who foresaw the delights of Firmino as his captain and he isn’t even a Liverpool fan. Darren played his Wildcard this week bringing in both Firmino and Aguero in place of Dele Alli who’d only been in his team for a week.
Perhaps that could have been a tad premature Darren?
Palace’s troubles aren’t just at the sharp end. Goalie, Wayne Hennessey’s form has dropped off a cliff and although he scored 25 points in the last 4 games of the year, he’s let in 11 in the past 4 games with some notable mistakes in there. Pardew has already put him under public pressure and he probably won’t retain his place. Even if he does, he won’t win you that many points. The problem is replacing him at the price but if you want a reserve goalie who doesn’t play you can always buy cheaper and Hennessey will be joining their ranks very shortly.
Get him binned!
One to watch..........
Charlie’s back! He’s already at the top of the strikers’ form table and he’s only played a couple of minutes. Last season he scored 18 goals and got 8 assists in a very poor QPR side. What on Earth the other managers who are struggling to score a goal were doing letting Southampton pick him up for just £4m is beyond belief. Didn’t Villa, WBA, Swansea, Stoke or Palace need a striker or something? Pardew certainly needed someone who could actually shoot on target this weekend especially after he’d dissed Charlie earlier in the month when Neil Warnock had suggested he might be a good fit for the Premier League side who at the time had only scored 4 goals in their last 6 games.
“Neil Warnock was the manager here and he didn’t do very well so I am not really interested in his opinion,” said Pardew. “Charlie Austin is of no interest to us.”
He might be to the rest of us though depending on his gametime but at £7m with a 1% ownership he’s got to be in the mix.
Team names please
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