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25 aprile 2009

Premier League: Latest News

After all the hype about Liverpool getting back into the title race it looks as if Manchester United have all but sealed the title now. Manchester United saw off Portsmouth 2-0 in midweek while Liverpool played out an unreal 4-4 draw with Arsenal.

That draw with Arsenal all but ended Liverpool’s title hopes and their odds have rocketed, so if you do still fancy betting on them to do it you’ll get a good price! The game did demonstrate one thing in particular though – the explosive talent of Andrey Arshavin. I’d seen the Russian maestro play for Zenit St Petersburg and Russia before and I always knew he was a top-talent. He has been playing well for Arsenal but up until that game questions had been asked about his fitness – he answered those and then some by popping up with four goals. It really was a classic game of football, with Liverpool pressing and Arsenal sublime on the counter-attack, both sides needed to win but unfortunately the game didn’t produce a winning goal.

For all their good work Liverpool could, and probably will, end the season without a trophy. The FA Cup final will see Everton take on Chelsea and the betting odds will be firmly in Chelsea’s favour. However, if anyone outside the ‘big four’ is capable of beating Hiddink’s Chelsea it is Everton. They have hugely impressed me this season and if boss David Moyes can keep his side together and perhaps add a bit more quality they could well gate crash the top four and qualify for the Champions League next season.

At the other end of the table Newcastle look to be in real trouble and will need to pick up maximum points in their remaining three home games. They face Portsmouth, Fulham and Middlesbrough at home but their away ties are at Liverpool and Aston Villa – where I don’t fancy their chances much. West Brom look well out of it at the bottom now, they’re nine points adrift with five games left and, despite manager Tony Mowbray’s insistence they can get out of it, I think they’re gone. Middlesbrough have picked up four points in two games but they face Arsenal and Manchester United in their next two games and I can’t see them getting anything out of those fixtures. If a team is going to get out of it someone else has to drop and that could well be Hull City. Hull have been in a shocking run of form lately and if they don’t pick up results soon they could be heading back to the Championship after just one year in the Premier League. Wolverhampton Wanderers are the first team to win promotion to the Premier League this season, they’ve stormed the Championship and are under the guidance of former Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy. McCarthy is a fairly decent manager and it will be interesting to see how the Wolves do in the Premier League next season.

I’ll round off my Premier League update with some bizarre news. Bolton chairman Phil Gartside wants to submit plans to split the league into two, with a two-tier system with 18 teams in each league. It would be a dramatic overhaul of British football and the plans include Scottish sides Celtic and Rangers joining the English league. If the plans are to go ahead he would need the backing of 14 out of the 20 Premier League chairmen, so it seems fairly unlikely. I don’t like the plans myself, I quite like the system the way it is, but to be honest I doubt that he’ll get the backing he needs to pursue this weird idea.

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