EPL: As Chelsea Lead Standings Many Clamor For The Spots Below

illya mclellan@illya mclellan @illbehaviorNZSenior Analyst IOctober 26, 2010

Chelsea have looked in good shape despite a loss to Manchester City
Chelsea have looked in good shape despite a loss to Manchester CityEpsilon/Getty Images

The English premier league, that beautiful bloated competition that remains so magically compelling, brings all manner of emotion to devotees across the globe with its action and vitality.

It brings the glory and devastation that are the consequences of its matches and the folklore of its clubs.

Many of these clubs are more than 100 years old and they count on the loyalty of fans and the ambitions of owners, boards, managers and players as their lifeblood; they are the means by which their momentum can build so that a legend is created.

The arrival of Manchester City as a force has certainly caused results to change this season, and points have gone to a team again that were not beneficent of them for many years previous.

The passing of Malcolm Allison also reminded many in the footballing world that Manchester City were a force in English football in the early 70's and that fate in football is as cyclical as it is in any other human endeavor.  

Several teams that have struggled in moments against bigger clubs in the last few seasons have also found themselves emboldened by the progress of their clubs in securing top talent; Nikola Zigic scoring for Birmingham is certainly evidence of that in action. 

Wigan have proved to be as chameleon-like as they were last term, playing with terrible form at home and excellent away results. Sunderland have managed to look more of a total package at times, despite sometimes being too reliant on Darren Bent, though Asamoah Gyan certainly lends to the talent at the club. The big striker had an excellent World Cup and has scored already for his new team. 

Tottenham Hotspur have continued the excellent resurgence that Harry Redknapp has initiated since he took over the reins not so long ago when Spurs were flirting with relegation. The signing of Rafael Van Der Vaart has proven to be inspired as the Dutchman has been scoring for fun and is already a firm favorite with the fans.

The team is solid enough and talented enough to fight back from four down at the break, at the San Siro, with ten men, and come within a goal of drawing the match. 

Manchester City, of course, have knocked over Chelsea and also looked good on other occasions of play. The weekend was a shock for many who expected City to strangle Arsenals attack and pick the moments in which they could take full advantage of breakdowns.

The game was, of course, completely changed by the sending off of Boyata, which gave Arsenal the extra man that they used to brutal effect in playing City off the park. 

The problem with such a result is that it does not really indicate what the outcome would have been if both sides had their full compliment of players.

Arsenal's passing game was perfect in the circumstances because it created space in an easier fashion, allowing Arsene Wenger's un-fancied charges to take the three points and inflict City's worst defeat of the season so far.

Roberto Mancini was philosophical because it made sense to be: City are a strong side and in contention perhaps for the title itself; Arsenal having inflicted that loss are also in the mix, showing they do have the mental capacity as a team to close out their advantage when the time to do so beckons. 

Manchester United, of course, have had the Wayne Rooney problem to deal with and the form of the team has been patchy, despite the emergence of both Dimitar Berbatov and Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez as capable of taking some of the goal scoring responsibility off the Englishman's shoulders.

Berbatov has began to pay back his managers faith with excellent performances in a similar vein to United legend Eric Cantona and Hernandez has slipped into his new role with a belief and determination that belies his youth. 

The problem of debt hangs over them like a monster everyone is trying to stop believing in, though commercially speaking the club is still within the realms of good business because of its sheer power as an economic entity. 

Speaking of debt, Liverpool seem to have finally brought that problem to bear, with some sterling work from the chairman and the interest of new American owners, who happen also to be the owners of the recent World Series winning Boston Red Sox, which gives the idea that this team could again have the means to challenge for the top honors. 

Roy Hodgson and Liverpool have struggled, to the point of Hodgson saying that the two nil defeat at Everton was "the best game they had played this season," though after the weekend's win over Blackburn, the ghouls are no longer on his back, they are just outside the door again, waiting to see if Hodgson can banish them further.

Fernando Torres scoring will be a massive relief to the player himself, Hodgson and Liverpool as a club, the Spaniard having proved in the past that he is supremely capable of shouldering the goal scoring burden of such an historically prolific goal scoring club. Steven Gerrard also seems to have started to shake off the effects of his national side's disturbingly poor form at the world tournament, and apply himself to the task of making Liverpool great again.

Liverpool may wallow in the treacherous waters of the bottom five, but the squad they have and their recent performances suggest that it will not be long before they power their way up the table. If this is not the case, one would expect Hodgson to lose his job before Christmas.

David Moyes looks to have again shaped up the ship at Goodison, though he should be bitterly disappointed he could not have his team ready for the seasons opening again. 

West Ham look to be struggling, though they again have such an array of talent that sooner or later you would expect them to pull out a run that could worry a few of their fellow cellar dwellers.

Blackpool have torn up the script on a few occasions so far, most notably at Anfield, and also by playing an open attacking game that is a breath of fresh air at times when compared to the defensive set ups some of the 'so-called' elite sides have put out.

Despite Manchester City taking the points from Blackpool the other week, the underdogs did enough to win and with officials who could do their jobs properly would have kept the three points at home. 

Gone are the days of easy matches: Every team in the competition has shown an ability to surprise and shift to the next level at times.

Tuncay Sanli's screamer for Stoke in their loss to a Hernandez inspired Manchester United in the weekend provided telling evidence of that.

Newcastle have shown excellent signs of improvement and Bolton have started to play a bit of football with Owen Coyle at the helm.

West Brom, of course, have embarrassed both Arsenal and Manchester United on their respective home pitches and played some good belief inspired football to shake off the tag of being not good enough for the top flight.

At this stage, it looks to be an extraordinarily difficult season to call with several teams finally pulling themselves together and others having not been properly tested.

It makes for an exciting and enthralling few months of football.

It will then be over and we will have to wait a few months for the next round of competition—whirling through the galaxy on this amazing living rock, fascinated by the pursuit of a small ball on a grass rectangle, chased by men in identical sets of clothing, who intermittently barrel and prance, tumble and float, as billions watch on with sheer delight, forgetting the woes of the world as they are transported to a happy place for a time—before the reality of result either dashes or inflates the feelings of euphoria tapped into during the match.


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