Takeaway: At the Emirates this weekend, Arsenal had the better of the play and far more of the flair. But Jose Mourinho’s teams are awfully good at maintaining their shape and smothering the game, and they came away with the point they needed in Sunday’s 0-0 draw. The game was not a classic, and you could understand why the home fans taunted their rivals with a chant once directed at them: “boring, boring.” But Jose Mourinho’s response -- that “ten years without a title” is boring -- is both true and well-met. Mourinho doesn’t care how the job gets done, only that it does, and that’s why the Blues can plan their parade now.
Getty ImagesPaul Gilham
Oscar’s head injury should prompt changes
Takeaway: There was a nasty scene in the Arsenal-Chelsea match when keeper David Ospina came out and cleaned out Oscar. Replays showed the Chelsea midfielder was senseless after the collision, and he would in fact be taken to the hospital at the half. What’s wrong here is that Oscar never should have returned to the field of play at all. But, in the cut-throat world of the Barclays Premier League, the doctors have little power to protect their players -- and the result is they are doing lasting damage. A sensible change would be to allow teams to make a free substitution if the referee stops the match for a head injury to allow concussion tests to be conducted. Will it happen? Of course not, which means we’re likely to see more ugly scenes.
Getty ImagesPaul Gilham
Leicester City clamber out of relegation zone, for now
Takeaway: It was not a great game, a true six-pointer in the basement that was stifled by the pressure of the occasion. It was also cruel, with Burnley’s Matt Taylor missing a penalty at one end, only to see Jamie Vardy score not a minute later at the other. The Foxes have now won four in a row and amazingly, are out of the drop zone for the first time since November. They are by no means free and clear, but with five games left there is an increasing sense they may pull off a most unlikely escape. Wednesday’s game against Chelsea may put a halt to their momentum, but for now, Leicester City are looking like a Premier League side -- something that has not been said about them often this season.
Getty ImagesJan Kruger
Brad Guzan’s miserable year gets worse
Takeaway: Surely Tim Sherwood will make a change after watching Guzan’s display against Manchester City on Saturday, a contest that was almost ended for good in the third minute when Guzan gave up a horrendous goal. Guzan has been poor this season and he looked devoid of confidence in this game, nearly coughing up a second to Fernandinho 15 minutes later; then making a hash of setting up his wall on Aleksandar Kolarov’s free kick. Indeed, Shay Given was far more impressive and commanding than Guzan has been this season in Villa’s FA Cup win over Liverpool. So why isn’t Given starting? Good question, especially given that Villa are not yet safe from relegation.
AFP/Getty ImagesPAUL ELLIS
Liverpool may need a change at the top
Takeaway: Brendan Rodgers is sounding like an increasingly embattled manager. Last week, he insisted he was the best man for the job; this weekend, after Liverpool’s top-four prospects receded further after a glum 0-0 draw with West Brom, he claimed his players were “outstanding” in the game. There is a school of thought that if no one else will say something nice about your team, then you should do it. The danger is that Rodgers really believes his unbalanced, erratic and underperforming side is outstanding when the reality is far different. If I were Fenway Sports, I’d take a hard look at the past three years -- and then ring up Jurgen Klopp.