EPL title chase thrill as it approaches homestretch
One piece of news that’s not football related got me excited. On March 26, the English wound their clocks to welcome the British Summer Time. The implication to us is that the time difference between Kenya and England is now two hours from three hours. The reason why this is so exciting is the fact that all European matches will from now on kick off an hour early. I think that’s a cause for great celebration. The Uefa Champions League will now kickoff at 9:45pm Kenyan time, so it will be a smooth transition from the prime time news to the quarter finals ties in European cities. I think this is what some refer to when they say life is good.
The players are back to their respective clubs after representing their countries in the international break and it looks like things are going to get interesting from this weekend. I am not sure if Ancelotti will welcome playing away from home and especially against Stoke City. What the Blues will face is a strong side inclined to play unorthodox football. However, if Chelsea can see off the early pressure and score an early goal, Stoke’s confidence will dip which will guarantee the London club three valuable points. If Chelsea secures a win they will re-energise the players on their quest to do the impossible, to snatch the trophy from its title rivals.
I am predicting that the early kick-off match between West Ham vs Man Utd will be the game of the week. West Ham are playing good football, they are playing with confidence and belief. The performance against Liverpool was mature and resolute and they will need to tap into these qualities if they are to avoid relegation. One positive aspect for West Ham is they finally have a striker who’s prolific in front of goal. Demba Ba has proved his class for the London club and the fans will want him to replicate his form against title favourites Man Utd.
Avram Grant will want his charges to secure maximum points because the relegation fight this time round will be tough. The difference in points between Wigan at the bottom and Newcastle at position eleven is only six points which means that ten teams are in the thick of the relegation fight. Every single game from now on will be played like a final.
Many pundits have already crowned Man Utd as champions and Sir Alex will want to ensure that his team reinforces their position at the top. With Vidic back for selection, the steel and fortitude of Man Utd is assured. What will be interesting to see is whether Berbatov will be rewarded with a start for his goal against Bolton or if Hernandez who’s increasingly building a reputation as a goal poacher will get the nod. Whoever starts, I reckon Sir Alex will see this as a good problem to have.
The news from the Arsenal camp is that Lehmann was given a chance to prove his worth but he gave all indications that he should not be trusted to start in goal. Lehmann played for the Arsenal reserves and his performance made Almunia look world class so I bet Wenger will keep faith on the Spaniard against Blackburn. Arsenal will be under scrutiny again and whether they capitulate further or turn their season around remains to be seen. The injury front has eased and Wenger will have no excuse.
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