The High and the Low: The Weekend's Best and Worst in the Premiership
Denilson: Arsenal’s young defensive (and sometimes attacking) midfielder is slipping nicely into the support role for Cesc Fabregas, in much the same way that Mathieu Flamini did last season. With two goals in his last three Premiership games his offensive return is beginning to solidify his place in the squad. This may just be his year to step up to the Big Gunners, after all.
Mark Hughes: The 6-0 dismantling of Pompey has got to make Sparky feel pretty comfortable. He’s got two talented Brazilians—Jo and Robinho—adding firepower and star quality, he’s got a reborn Shaun Wright-Phillips in support, and he's still got another Brazilian, Elano, to find his steady health. Plus, he’s got an open cheque to strengthen the squad in a major way come January. Mark Hughes may never take over the reins of Manchester United simply because his life across town may be too good.
Michael Chopra: Back from injury and Chopra grabs a brace for Sunderland’s first home win of the season. That’s the way to put pressure on El-Hadji Diouf and Djibril Cisse. If he keeps it up and Kenwyne Jones comes back strong, Roy Keane will have one of the finest stables of attack outside the top four.
Fans of the Premiership: The fact that every team in the Premiership—except Tottenham—has at least one win already this season is cause for celebration. Maybe things are finally balancing out and the league is starting to find some equilibrium (of course, that may all fall apart if Manchester City lives up to expectations). Still, even if it isn’t, the early days have certainly been much more interesting.
Wayne Rooney: The grumbling is beginning. His goal return is not what Manchester United fans were promised. He spends too much time defending when he should be forward. He is too hot tempered. And now he’s being compared to Alan Smith. Yikes. He better find his best form again soon or Tevez is going to take his place in the starting XI.
Tottenham Hotspur: Two draws. And this is the team that, before Berbatov’s departure, was supposed to threaten the top four for the second year running. At this rate Spurs will be lucky to avoid being the worst team in Premiership history. Juande Ramos’ job is, most certainly, on the line.
Mike Riley: Don’t hand out a free kick then blow the whistle for full time, Mike! Just blow the damn whistle or let the free kick be the game’s last action. One or the other. Not both.
Rafa Benitez: An excellent week turns to disaster—again. His biggest mistake was leaving Gerrard on the pitch when Stevie’s attempts for the 100th goal were clearly getting in the way of Liverpool’s attack. And his insistence on sticking with Kuyt’s abject play is as pig-headed as when he stuck with Crouch during the interminable goal slump when the friendly giant first arrived at Anfield. How many times is Benitez’s inconsistent leadership and stubborn nature going to be allowed to derail Liverpool? Endlessly seems to be the answer.
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