The hectic Christmas period in the Premier League is over. So what have we learned from this busy time?
1. Boxing Day may have landed a crucial blow.
During the epic 4-3 Boxing Day win over Newcastle there was a time when United fan’s would have feared the gap to rivals Manchester City may shrink to just one point as Newcastle took the lead three times. But after 90 minutes, plus some, United had beaten Newcastle 4-3 after Chicharito’s injury time strike and Sunderland had beaten City 1-0, creating a seven point gap at the top of the league, a potentially crucial blow in the title race.
2. Spurs can finish 3rd
Tottenham can be the top team in London and finish ahead of Chelsea for 3rd. Their season has been on an upward curve whereas Chelsea’s has not. Spurs seem to be adapting to Villa-Boas whereas there is a lot of uncertainty over Benitez at Stamford Bridge. In Gareth Bale Spurs have one of the top players in football, his hat trick at Aston Villa showing his quality. Chelsea may buy in January to see them through to the end of the season but from the Christmas period Spurs showed with their three wins that they are the real deal in the Champions League race.
3. Aston Villa are in serious trouble
All seemed good at Villa Park before Christmas, a 3-1 win at Anfield and Paul Lambert’s young team looked like they were clicking into gear. Then, an 8-0 loss at Chelsea, followed by a 4-0 Boxing Day loss at home to Spurs and a 3-0 loss to Wigan in front of the home fans making it a miserable Christmas for the Villains. The loss to Wigan has Villa right in the relegation battle and they face a tough challenge in the second half of the season.
4. QPR may turn it around
Their win at Chelsea may be the spark to ignite a revival. Three losses in a row and it all looked lost but a big win like that could do wonders and may be the game they refer to as being the turning point should they survive. QPR are just 5 points from safety and have not had any sort of run like some of the teams above them so if they can get a good run going then they may avoid the drop. Harry Redknapp is a shrewd Premier League manager and if he can get in some good signings in January then QPR may have a fighting chance.
5. Newcastle are in trouble too
Newcastle have fallen a long way from the heights of last year when they finished 6th. Last season’s success was based on a solid defence as well as the form of Ba and Cisse. This year they have conceded 39 goals after 21 games. This Christmas period they conceded four at Old Trafford and seven at the Emirates, they lost all three Christmas games and sit just two points over the relegation zone. Demba Ba’s move to Chelsea will not help matters. A European campaign may not be ideal in a releagion battle for them either. There should be three worse team than the Geordies but they are stuck in this battle for now.