And Then There Were 3…

An eventful Wednesday evening saw Manchester United’s four closest rivals all drop points as the Red Devils remained top of the 2010/11 Premier League.

Having beat Stoke City 2-1 on Tuesday, Manchester United saw second place Manchester City hold Arsenal to a goalless draw at the Emirates. United are now 2 points ahead of their local neighbours with 2 games in hand. Arsenal trail the league leaders by 4 points but have played 1 game more. Manchester United are now odds-on favourites to lift a record 19th domestic league title.

While Manchester City fans may be applauding Roberto Mancini’s side for staying in their own half, outnumbering and frustrating the Gunners. But from a neutral point of view the negative tactics were nothing but an annoyance to watch on TV. Manchester City simply play dire football, something that the Premier League was not about at the start of this millennium.

Arsenal were unfortunate not to win this game, hitting the post on more than one occasion, while Robin van Persie drew a top save from Joe Hart in the Manchester City goal. City never looked like they wanted to take 3 points home with them. Red cards to both Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta will see them suspended for upcoming matches.

After the FA Cup this weekend and then the first leg of their Carling Cup semi final tie, Arsenal’s next league fixture is at West Ham on January 15th. On that same day, Manchester City host Wolves.

Wolverhampton caused one of the biggest shocks of the night as they beat Chelsea 1-0 at Molineux. An own goal on 5 minutes from Jose Bosingwa separated the two sides as the defending champions failed to score for the fifth time this season. It’s just 1 win in 9 now for the Blues who have suffered 4 defeats during that spell. This result further backs up my blog on Monday stating Chelsea will not win this season’s Premier League.

Tottenham failed to capitalise on Chelsea’s loss and extend their lead over the 5th place side as they went down 2-1 at Everton. Having laid Chelsea, and Liverpool who went down 3-1 at Blackburn, Tottenham let me down as I had them to avoid defeat at Goodison Park. This result moves David Moyes’ side into 11th, one place above local neighbours Liverpool. Harry Redknapp must now admit his team’s title race is over, with Spurs 8 points behind Manchester United having played 1 game more.

A 5-0 thumping for West Ham at Newcastle which included a Leon Best hattrick to take his goal tally past Wayne Rooney on the season saw the Hammers drop back to the foot of the table. Is it just a matter of time now before Carlo Ancelotti, Roy Hodgson and Avram Grant lose their jobs?

Another manager in the hot seat is Aston Villa’s Gerard Houllier after his side dropped into the bottom 3 also following a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Sunderland. This being a correct tip for me in what turned out to be a midweek of surprises saw me win on both backing Sunderland at 11/4 and laying Aston Villa at close to evens. I hope you had time to take that tip.

It’s the FA Cup this weekend, one that I tend to stay away from with the unpredictable nature of the competition that continues to flourish season after season. Be sure to catch me in a week’s time from tonight when I return with more Premier League Tips for the weekend of the 15th.