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It was busy day for fixtures in the Premiership today as no fewer than 7 matches were played on the back of the superb display by the Gunners against Chelsea FC. By the time Manchester United and Birmingham took to the pitch there had already been 16 goals and 3 red cards. The biggest news of the day had to be Manchester City’s 4-0 victory over Aston Villa, which put them top of the table for the first time in their history. Now much has been made of their difficulties in the training ground and back room, but it seems clear that despite the griping of Balotelli and Tevez, they still posses the quality to threaten the true powers of English soccer. The victory against Aston Villa was neither surprising or remarkable when you compare the two teams on paper, and to be honest, it always seemed the stars had aligned to allow them to make it to the top of the table for however brief a time. And lets be honest, their not going to win the league, and lack the consistency and esprit d’corp to challenge their neighbors in red or the lily whites of Spurs.

West Ham also manage to scrape a point away from Everton today assuring Avram Grant, who I have a soft spot for, another week as manager of the Hammers. They are now within sight of clearing the relegation zone and look to stay up as their form will continue to improve over the season. As for Everton, look for another middle of the table finish as they play with their consistent mediocrity, and fulfill their appointed task as the training ground for players for the big 3. The fact they haven’t been able to pass up Liverpool in the table speak to their inability to do anything but hold on to the same place they were in this time last year.

Stoke lost to Fulham 2-0, Blackpool beat Sunderland 2-0, and Blackburn defeated West Brom 3-1 in three matches that have all the significance of a speech by the Queen. However Tottenham’s 2-0 thrashing of Newcastle while expected, may shorten Alan Pardew’s tenure there. It seems clearer and clearer, as if there was ever any doubt among those outside of the club, that the firing of Chris Hughton is a disaster for the club.

The main event of the day, the men from the red side of Manchester versus Birmingham, was a surprisingly exciting and bad tempered affair with some fighting in the first half. Anderson and Craig Gardner were both booked for a row after the whistle had gone, and honestly quite off the ball as an argument turned nasty. What followed was a tit for tat of silly tackles and rough challenges leading to two more yellows before things calmed down. Berbatov put the visitors ahead with a one touch strike in the bottom of the Birmingham net just after halftime and it was an end to end affair after that. There were some particularly theatrical dives from both sides near the end of the match, and I’m sure Darren Gibson will get a talking to after the match for his hesitation i playing the ball into Berbatov that surely would have resulted in a second for the Red Devils. Bowyer the leveled the match with four minutes of injury time remaining. The goal itself will live infamy as the ball certainly touched off Nikola Zigic as Johnson played it in. Also, Bowyer looked to be offside when it hit off his foot and went in mostly by accident, and judging from the reaction of the United backs it won’t soon be forgotten. It ended 1-1, with United back on top of the league on goal difference, not the standings mean much of anything at the moment when some sides have played 20 games, and others only 17, but bragging rights for the Red Devils surely.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com


About the author: Matthew Wall


I've played soccer since I could walk thanks to my father and love keeping up on all the latest gear and gab. I'm in my twenties, and I'm lucky enough to have found work in search marketing for a leading soccer retailer after completing my M.A. at Georgetown in 2008. My team is Liverpool, and national side is Ireland, but I've also got a passion for GAA and a number of sports. Feel free to give me a shout on Google+


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