Can Aston Villa catch Arsenal? Can Manchester United catch Chelsea and Liverpool?

Today’s news roundup is brought to you by Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) and her please-bend-me-over skirt. Sorry for the lack of a roundup yesterday, we were a bit busy trying to get our hands (ok, minds) off Megan Fox (who doesn’t like wearing any skirts):

    • Daniel Taylor waxes lyrical about the Brazilian Nevilles. It’s too much to expect them to supplant Neville / Brown / Evra in an year, but like Danny Simpson last season they give United an added depth to the squad and allow Ferguson the luxury of resting players during a tough season (especially Evra).


    • Soccerlens forum member bobotonto explains the intricacies of mainstream English journalism:

      …Brit journos are trained in the egg/omelette methodology. When you don’t know more than 10% of something (Tevez hasn’t signed his contract yet), start throwing eggs at the wall.

      Take a problem elsewhere (RVN is old and out for a year) and throw an egg (Real have told Tevez’s agent they’ll pay more than United are offering), then, another egg (Barcelona have also approached Joorabchian because they hate Real)and then the real mischievous fun and games begins (Barca must want to sell Eto’o; Mascharano wants his best friend to join him at Liverpool; Manchester City will buy anybody to piss off United).

      Finally, there’s the really desperate lowlife at the Star or News of the World who, upon finding out that Mrs. Tevez is ethnically Italian, creates a fiction that Tevez wants to play for Napoli because he can play next to his protegé, Ezekiel Lavezzi, follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Armando Diego Maradona, and,of course, so his wife can be with her long lost family.

      This is how the egg/omelette theory works. Now and again, of course, like Gary Neville taking a shot at goal, the ball goes in the net. Ha!

      When we’re all afflicted to some degree or the other by footballitis, it’s quite easy for fans to be sucked in and lose perspective on what is real and what is not in football.


    • Staying on topic, I have to wonder whether Tim Vickery bothers with reading English football media at all. His account of Peruvian football and especially their tabloid press can easily be taken as a damning verdict on football in England.Take this quote:

      One of the most striking aspects of contemporary Peruvian football is the cloying culture of negativity. Alone in South America, Peru has over the last 25 years developed a seedy tabloid press which specialises in grubby and falsely moralistic stories about footballers drinking and womanising.

      Replace Peru / Peruvian with England / English and South America with Europe and you could swear that this was the British tabloids that he was talking about.

      And while we’re on the BBC, they’re not above ‘false morality’ either (read about BBC’s coverage of Nigerian football).


    • The Carling Cup quarterfinal draw sees Chelsea-beaters Burnley play host Arsenal’s kids. If they can knock out Arsenal, it will be quite some story (and leave Wenger with just 2 trophies to play for with over half a season still to go).



Can Aston Villa catch Arsenal?

The Spoiler has some interesting stats on whether Arsenal will win the Premier League, or even qualify for the Champions League. In short, Premier League history dictates that the best Arsenal can hope for is third, and according to Arsenal’s own history of the last 30 years, they’ve never finished in the top four after losing 4 of the first 13 games of the season. Not fun.

But perhaps just as important is considering whether Aston Villa, victors at the Emirates yesterday and now equal with Arsenal at 23 points after 13 games, can keep pace with the Gunners and even overtake them. Somehow I doubt it – Chelsea and Liverpool may have pulled away early but Manchester United and Arsenal will take some beating this season and Villa are not consistent enough.

Aston Villa’s points totals in the last 5 seasons goes something like this: 56 (6th), 47 (10th), 42 (16th), 50 (11th), 60 (6th). During the same period, Arsenal’s points totals are: 90 (1st), 83 (2nd), 67 (4th), 68 (4th), 83 (3rd). I don’t see Arsenal getting 80 points but I don’t see Aston Villa getting the 70 points they’ll need to truly threaten Arsenal’s position in the top 4.

Can Manchester United catch Liverpool and Chelsea?

The most significant aspect of the seasons of these three sides has been their away form – Chelsea and Liverpool have been great while Manchester United’s away form has suffered. Of course, Chelsea still have to visit Old Trafford, Emirates and Anfield while Liverpool must visit Emirates and Old Trafford.

On one hand it’s difficult to expect both sides to slip up – on the other hand Manchester have a game in hand and winning that will put them within 5 points of the leaders, hardly a unsurmountable lead but still a very difficult challenge.

As things stand, it’s much harder for Villa to catch Arsenal than it is for Manchester United to catch Chelsea and Liverpool – and with Manchester United expected to travel to Japan for the Club World Championship and the burden will surely add to United’s problems with more games to play in a congested fixture list in the second half of the season.

Can Aston Villa catch Arsenal? Can Manchester United catch Chelsea and Liverpool? Share your thoughts.

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