Another weekend, another step closer to the end of the Barclays Premier League season. The latest round of matches has the title race hotter than ever.
Liverpool’s performance against Tottenham was an impressive one. We can’t say for certain they’re favorites to win it all, but the Reds certainly have a great chance. With Liverpool’s result, Chelsea and Manchester City have added pressure as they come down the final stretch. It’s not just a two horse race anymore — it’s a three horse race now. In every area, Liverpool are full of confidence, and they’re need that as they have some very important games at home coming up. Brendan Rodgers has been sensational in charge of the Reds — his man management and tactics have been nothing short of fantastic.
Also, this is the year Luis Suarez will get player of the year. He didn’t last year for reason aside from his goal scoring, but this year no one can take it away from him. He’s been phenomenal.
At the Emirates, Arsenal managed a gutsy performance against Manchester City. The Citizens seem to have this nasty habit of having the lead and taking their foot off the pedal. They let other teams back in matches, and are just not ruthless enough. They get the lead and then try to cruise, but that doesn’t always work — especially against stronger opponents. It was a brave showing by Arsenal with all their injuries, and much-needed after the disaster against Chelsea.
What will define City’s season now is their run of matches against lesser teams — you would expect them to get maximum points. Big players will step up in big games, but it’s those lesser games that concern you. How you perform in those clutch situations is what makes champions. The ones that win the league are the ones that are able to beat the teams fighting for their lives.
Most things surrounding Manchester United have been very negative this season. It was good for them to get a big result against Aston Villa at the weekend with a big game on Tuesday against Bayern Munich (live, FOX Sports 1, Tuesday, 2 p.m. ET). They needed a solid confidence boost — anyone needs as much of that as they can get against Bayern. And Wayne Rooney showed yet again what a player he is — heâll be the key for any kind of result against Bayern.
Then of course, there’s the issue of the United fans. They’ve had it so good for so long, and now when the team needs them the most, they’re flying planes above the stadium and the like. I’ve been booed myself, and let me tell you, it doesn’t help anybody. I remember when we were booed off the field at Newcastle even after we beat Watford 1-0, and it really sticks to you. This is the time when you find out true fans. You have to stick with your team. Moyes needs as much help as possible, and the fans haven’t helped him at all — they’ve used him as an excuse. The Manchester United faithful need to get behind the club, manager and players.
Now, last but not least are Everton. How refreshing has it been to see them change under Roberto Martinez? They sit in fifth right now, and have slowly but surely been sneaking up on the top four. Their successful season so far under this young manager has been a breath of fresh air.
As always, I love chatting with you guys, so do take a moment to follow me on Twitter at @WarrenBarton2. It’s a lot of fun to be able to banter each week. And don’t forget, you can always ask questions to us at @FOXSoccer. We’ve got an exciting batch of UEFA Champions League matches coming up this week, with Manchester United hosting Bayern Munich and Barcelona facing La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid (live, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2, 2 p.m. ET) on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, Paris Saint-Germain faces Chelsea, while Real Madrid tango against Borussia Dortmind (live, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2, 2 p.m. ET) on what should be spirited quarterfinal clashes. I do hope you’ll join us and thank you for reading.