February 4, 2015

Chelsea-City fails to live up to its billing.

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It should’ve been a title match, but it failed to live up to its billing.

And really, we should’ve known better.

With the top two teams in the Premier League, Chelsea and Manchester City, we were really just getting our hopes up for an epic.

Instead, we got a stalemate with the emphasis on the word “stale.”

Neither team decided to press on in the second half, seemingly fine with getting the single point.

A big reason why neither team looked especially great was the noticeable lack of severals stars on both sides. Yaya Toure is still at the African Cup of Nations, Diego Costa is suspended and Cesc Fabregas picked up a knock last week. That’s arguably three of the top five players from those two teams.

With this result, the Blues maintained its five-point leader over the defending champs.

This puts City firmly on its back foot. A win here would’ve put them in striking distance, but will now have to rely on Jose Mourinho’s men to falter – which is not something that happens often.

It also allowed cross-town rivals Manchester United to move within five points of second place. While it’s still a bit of a reach for the Red Devils to catch the Citizens, we have seen weirder things happen.


Don’t look now, but Liverpool is starting to piece things together.

Raheem Sterling is in form, Daniel Sturridge is back on the field and even the defence is holding the line.

Could a run to the Champions League actually be possible? Well, the Reds are currently four points out of fourth place, but are also severely lacking in the goal differential department.

If Brendan Rodgers can keep the defence tight, get Sturridge back into the attack at full form and maybe even get something – anything – out of Mario Balotelli, this team could certainly barge its way into the top four.

And with this being Steven Gerrard’s last run with the team, it would only be fitting for it to go out with a bang, rather than a whimper.


The biggest move in the transfer window was actually a somewhat lateral one – Chelsea sold Andre Schurrle to pay for Juan Cuadrado.

While the World Cup winner wasn’t getting much playing time at Stamford Bridge, it is assumed that the Colombian international will now step into a starting role on the right wing.

Sure, he’ll have to beat out Willian, but that shouldn’t be hard as the incumbent has been fairly hit or miss – and mostly miss – during his time at Chelsea.

As for Schurrle, he’ll undoubtedly be happier actually playing. And doing so in his homeland at Wolfsburg is nothing to shake your stick at either.

Whether this move pays off for Chelsea will really hinge on Cuadrado’s ability to assimilate to Mourinho’s style and also adapt to the physical play of the Premier League.


FantasyPL’s obsession of the week: Jonathan Walters. The Stoke striker scored twice and has owners flocking to the wire for a cheap pickup. With Bojan out for the season with a knee injury, Walters will certainly feature more from here on out … There goes Burnley’s run of form. After several weeks of potting the goals, the Clarets were shutout by Sunderland. I guess the rumours of a Liverpool move went to Danny Ings’ head … Harry Kane scored two more goals and was rewarded with a huge new deal. All signs are pointing to him becoming one of England’s top goal-scoring options for Euro 2016 and beyond … Two big losses for Southampton on the weekend, with Ryan Bertrand getting suspended until the end of the month for a red card and then losing 1-0 to Swansea. At least the Saints were able to lock down the defender on a permanent transfer from Chelsea … Arsenal is getting really good, guys. Even without Alexis Sanchez in the lineup, the Gunners were able to crush Aston Villa 5-0. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – if this squad is ever 100% healthy, some really good players are going to be left on the bench.


We all knew it was a matter of time before Harry Redknapp was out at QPR, but I didn’t think it would happen this way.

‘Arry as resigned from the club, citing health issues – specifically the need for a knee replacement.

The time is incredibly curious, considering the transfer window just closed and QPR failed to bring the type of help his team needs, all while sitting second from the bottom of the table.

The optics don’t look great around Redknapp’s decision and it seems like he was simply pulling the cord before things got worse.

Yes, something certainly smells fishy at Loftus Road.

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