Anyone that might have been foolish enough to write off Manchester United’s title credentials were given the rudest of awakenings this weekend.
Wayne Rooney has faced criticism from all angles so far this season. Even after a 14-minute second half hat trick turned the fixture with West Ham on its head he was still courting controversy this morning.
It’s at times like this when you can tell that most Premier League soccer players didn’t receive a University education. Granted, shouting as many expletives as you can down the lens of a Sky TV camera is relatively immature. The man did just score a quick fire three goals to drag his team back from the depths of despair though.
The result, which was given added gloss by way of a fourth from Chicharito, means that Sir Alex Ferguson’s side has opened up a seven-point lead on second-placed Arsenal. Basically it translates to the need for a ridiculous turn of events for United not to win the title.
Bookmaker William Hill has their title odds at 1/5, which is shorter than an iGaming party midget. Spokesperson Graham Sharpe said, “United’s title odds are now restrictive – they went 1/5 after winning at West Ham – but punters can still speculate on the number of points United will win by.”
Fergie’s side are overwhelmingly favored for the title as Arsenal and Chelsea could only gain a single point in their games this weekend.
Chelsea’s trip to Stoke could have been a great deal worse had it not been for the frame of the goal and the play of ‘keeper Petr Cech. Oh and the amusing side plot that is Fernando Torres’ barren run in a Chelsea shirt continued.
Arsenal meanwhile was, in a word, shocking. No side deserves to win a title if they are failing to beat relegation threatened sides like Blackburn at home. That’s even before you consider that their opponents were a man down for part of the game.
You can imagine that if Man Utd or Chelsea had been in this position the score might even have approached double figures. Arsene Wenger’s side simply doesn’t have the bottle to win a trophy. Simples.
The other side in the top four, Manchester City, had one of those days when everything went right. Their 5-0 result at home to Sunderland didn’t flatter Roberto Mancini’s side and saw the emergence of Mario Balotelli’s immense talent. Whether he can harness it more than once every seven or eight games remains to be seen.