Buoyant Blues as Devils despair
OCT 23 — There is an interesting statistic that is unique to Manchester City in this first three months of the English Premier League, which also proves quite an outstanding feat by the club.
As it is, Roberto Mancini’s boys are the team of the season so far and have truly delivered and maintained a high level of consistency.
What many may not also realise is that the Blues have scored at least two goals in each of their eight Premiership matches so far this season.
I cannot think of any team that has recorded such a feat in the top flight of English football in decades past, let alone in the Premiership years.
Actually, the high goal count is also the trend for most matches this season.
In each of the eight weeks of action, there have been at least six matches per week in which no less than three goals were scored.
It bodes well for the EPL in that it has broken free of its own hyped-up reputation and might well deliver on its promise of being the best league in Europe and some say the world too.
There is certainly a lot more attacking play taking place among the 20 Premiership clubs and standing high above them all is Manchester City.
Their closest rival at the top of the Premiership table, in the scoring charts as well as geographically is Manchester United.
So, one would not be wrong to expect a high-scoring, all-exciting and pivotal six-pointer from the action on the pitch at Old Trafford tonight (8.30pm, ESPN, Channel 812).
There’s enough firepower on both sides and both sets of players are also riding high on confidence after returning to Manchester on Wednesday on the back of their first victory in the Uefa Champions League this season.
My personal opinion on this game, however, is in favour of the City boys.
The Red Devils, I believe, suffered a blow last week from their 1-1 draw at Liverpool. It demonstrated a weakness in the side and that is what will set the tone for how Manchester City can take the game to MU tonight.
The talents of Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko in attack (Carlos who?) will just be the icing on the scoring cake, which is already more than capable from midfield with the likes of Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, David Silva, James Milner and Gareth Barry.
It’s going to be a mouth-watering prospect to see all these world-class players really demonstrate their capabilities in front of the Old Trafford faithful and stamp their authority over their long-dominant neighbours.
Arsenal, meanwhile, take on Stoke City in a clear battle of brain-versus-brawn tonight (8.30pm, StarSports, Channel 813). No prize for guessing which team takes which reference here.
With so many games coming hard and fast this season for Stoke City, playing in the Europa League as well as making it to the next round of the Carling Cup (Wed, Oct 26), I believe that the outcome will be that the Potters are unlikely to cope with the demands of all three competitions (including the Premiership).
They may have beaten Fulham (2-0) last Saturday and Maccaibi Haifa (3-0) on Thursday, both at home I might add, but their first real challenge in this 12-day-four-games schedule will be against an Arsenal side which has possibly hit its stride, well at the Emirates at least.
Stoke will play hard and tight, but somehow, this slightly older than previous seasons’ Gunners side have got the tactical nous and physicality to take it all in and dish out some, with class at that.
For the most goals of the night though, one needs to just wait till 11pm, on Astro SuperSport 3 (Channel 817), to watch QPR capitulate meekly at home to Chelsea, who have Fernando Torres on a hot streak and ready to be back to his best goal-scoring form.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.