Four things we’ve learnt from another fantastic weekend of football…
1. Liverpool are on their way back
Whilst they may have started shakily under Brendan Rodgers, and even been sat in the relegation zone for a few weeks, Liverpool finally appear to have found their swagger. Their comeback against West Ham saw them scoring 3 goals, and showing a relaxed confidence in their own abilities to get back into the match. If you look at the stats you can see that in the last 10 league matches, only Manchester City and Manchester United have won more points, which all points to a bright future for the Reds. With Suarez set to return from suspension (and an enforced rest), and the club looking likely to buy a new striker in the January transfer window, their chances of Champions League football next season don’t look quite so slim.
2. Messi is the greatest
It must be galling for Cristiano Ronaldo, having helped Real Madrid to their first league title in recent years with his goals and all round game, but there is only one player who deserves the Ballon D’Or as the FIFA World Player of the Year, and that is Lionel Messi. How can you not give it to a player who has broken all the records?! On Saturday he scored twice to net hit 85th and 86th goals of the calendar year, smashing Gerd Muller’s long-standing record in the process. Ronaldo would have won the Ballon for the last 6 years if it hadn’t been for Messi, but this year the trophy surely HAS to go the diminutive Argentinean.
3. Robin van Persie is the buy of the season
It’s rare for a big money move between the top Premier League clubs to pay dividends for the buying club. Seba Veron was hideous at Chelsea, as is Fernando Torres, whilst Andy Carroll also flattered to deceive. Unvariably it ends up with the player having to work hard to prove that he is worth his price-tag, and having to cope with being just another cog in the team machine rather than the one man whom the whole team was built around. Downing, Henderson, Young and Nasri have all done ok but not brilliant, which makes the case of Robin van Persie all the more exceptional. He has settled in quickly, started scoring important goals, and looks every bit a Manchester United player. He links the play neatly, defends when he has to (unlike Berbatov before him), and only needs a half-chance to get himself on the scoresheet. For all the talk about Michu, RVP has to be the best signing of the summer, even at the countless twenty-odd million.
4. Everton must spend
This season Everton have a better chance than ever of getting into the top 4, and jumping into the virtuous cycle of Champions League football. Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have all had spells where they haven’t been able to bring home the points, which has made the competition for the places behind the Manchester two more competitive than ever. Everton have been fast out of the blocks this year, in stark contrast to previous seasons, and in Fellaini and Jelavic they have a pair of absolutely top-class footballers. Whilst they are sitting pretty at the moment, they mustn’t rest on their laurels – after all, they are too dependent on just a few players. What they need to do is take a calculated gamble that if they make it to the top four they will make an extra £25m from CL revenues, and buy another striker and central-midfielder in the January transfer window. Then they could really compete.
Tell us what you think – @ftbllr