Monday, 3 December 2012

Premier League: how things change...!

We are now twelve weeks through the 2012-13 football season.  For me, so far, this has been a tale of two teams, and their changing fortunes...

Yesterday, Norwich City beat Sunderland in the Premier League - extending an unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions.

Impressive as this is in itself, a glance at the League Table shows just how much of an achievement this is:

Premier League Table as of 3rd December, 2012

Norwich City are currently 12th in the Table (the same position in which we finished last season).  We haven't lost in eight Premier League games, and that includes victories of heavyweight clubs Manchester United and Arsenal.  What really stands out for me, though, is that we suffered some pretty heavy defeats at the beginning of the season - 5-0 to Fulham, and 5-2 to Liverpool - but that now, we are ahead of Fulham in the Table, and level on points with Liverpool.

At the start of the season, I had to read, and listen to, a lot of people telling me how badly Norwich were playing, and how we were almost certain candidates for relegation this year.  OK, we had a shaky start to the season, but I don't think it was ever as bad as some people tried to make out, when they were piling on the Norwich-slating bandwagon - and there were some pretty close results, even early on (like the 1-1 draw with Spurs, which could so easily have been a City win).

I think it just took a while to settle into the new season, following a turbulent summer with a change of manager, new players coming into the squad and doubts over the futures of other players - but we've got there now, and we're in good form; the fact that we're able to keep pace with the likes of Liverpool, even after the 5-2 thrashing they gave us, just shows how competitive we can be.

It has been just the reverse for poor old Chelsea, of course.

After such a bright start to the season, Chelsea hit a slight wobble, panicked, and sacked their manager Roberto Di Matteo - in my opinion, a very poor decision.  Bringing in Rafael Benítez instead was an unpopular choice with the fans, but I can hardly believe that there is already talk of Benítez' being replaced by formed Chelsea boss Avram Grant!  Admittedly, a 0-0 draw with Fulham, and a 3-1 defeat at West Ham (I swear more Premier League matches are London Derbies than are not London Derbies?!) is an inauspicious start to Benitez' reign, but surely even [famously tempestuous Chelsea owner] Roman Abramovich can see that you need to give a new manager more than just two matches in which to make an impact?!

The managerial merry-go-round at Chelsea brings nothing but instability and a lack of direction, and until Abramovich starts putting the club's needs ahead of his own whims and fancies - instead of sacking a manager who is the current holder of the Champions' League and the FA Cup, whose team is firmly ensconced in the Top Four of the Premier League, and who is adored by the fans - I can't really see things improving for them.


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Unknown said...
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