5 Things We Learned from EPL Weekend

Neri Stein@neristeinFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2012

5 Things We Learned from EPL Weekend

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    The overbooked holiday schedule is past us, and the English Premier League is back in its regular stride.

    This past weekend, two legends returned to their former clubs, top clubs were left frustrated again, two MLS teammates faced off against each other and Blackburn proved that 11 is too many men for them.

    Here's what else we learned from the Premier League weekend.  

Got Goals?

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    If you like plenty of goals in your football, the EPL isn't always the place to go.

    On Saturday, all but two games were scoreless at halftime, and the two that weren't were each 1-0. 

    Fortunately, the back of the net did start to ripple once the second halves started. 

    But the 1-0 scoreline is a popular one in England, and the danger of just a one-goal lead does add something to the contest. 

    So, does this mean the EPL has the best defenses in world football? Or does the EPL just have plenty of misfiring strikers?

    And which do you prefer? Goals galore, or fingertip saves and goal-line clearances? 

Glorious Returns

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    Thierry Henry returned to Arsenal last week on a two-month loan, and he came off the bench against Leeds to score the winner in an FA Cup match last week. 

    On Saturday, Paul Scholes marked his return to Manchester United—just months after retiring—by scoring the opening goal for United and leading his side to a 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. 

    Henry couldn't repeat his heroics against Swansea Sunday as Arsenal lost 3-2, but these two players could play a huge part in the rest of the season. 

    United are level on points with Manchester City—who play Wigan Monday evening. Meanwhile, Arsenal are four behind Chelsea in fifth place, but they are certainly in the mix for a Champions League spot. 

    Scholes will bolster United's midfield, and Henry is one of the best strikers in EPL history. But neither of them are defenders, which is exactly what has been plaguing United and Arsenal all season long. 

    We'll get to see just which legend's return has the bigger impact next weekend when Arsenal look to avenge their humiliating 8-2 loss at Old Trafford from August. 

Tottenham Really Can Do It... Maybe

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    Tottenham scored an impressive and important victory last Wednesday when they beat Everton 2-0.

    The win brought them level on points with Manchester United in second place and showed that Harry Redknapp's side might be able to a lot more than secure a Champions League spot.

    Then came the weekend. 

    Spurs were frustrated to a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane and now sit two points behind both Manchester clubs—with City still to play—ahead of next Sunday's clash at Manchester City. 

    So, are Tottenham for real? 

    Sort of.

    Tottenham would need to take a pretty big dive to drop bellow Arsenal into fifth place—10 points behind—but they proved this weekend that they certainly aren't ready to do battle at the top. 

Kenny Dalglish Says Liverpool Need to Be More Creative

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    Steven Gerrard has returned from injury, but his spark isn't enough for Liverpool anymore.

    Without Luis Suarez for six more games, the Reds are clearly struggling to create many chances. After another 0-0 draw with Stoke, Kenny Dalglish said in a post-game interview with BBC that his side needs to be more creative.

    As a Liverpool fan, it pains me to question King Kenny. But, if this is the first time he's realized that we lack creativity, it's a problem. 

    Liverpool have struggled to create chances all season long. The new signings have, in large part, failed to make an impact, and the club has been in the news more for negative reasons than positive for football. 

    Change has to come. 

    Players like Stewart Downing and Glen Johnson, who make their living on the wings, can't make the same impact as before because Liverpool doesn't seem to like width very much. 

    Will Dalglish bring in more players in the next couple weeks? Will he change his side's style of play?

    He certainly needs to change something. 

David Moyes Is One Heck of a Manager

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    What David Moyes has managed to do with Everton in the last few years is really incredible.

    The Toffees always have injury issues, and they never have any money. Yet somehow, Everton have managed to finish near the top of the table each season, after horrendous first halves.

    That might not be the case this season. 

    Everton are currently 11th in the table, and they have problems are all over the pitch. Will they be able to pick it up for another late-season surge up the table?

    Not likely.

    Still, if you watched Everton play, you may have thought they were fighting off relegation.

    Just imagine what Moyes could do with some funds at his disposal.