Premier League Talking Points – Wenger Shows Van Gaal Who’s Boss


This week’s Premier League Talking Points column is brought to you by Playing for 90 co-editor Kevin Kelly, talking Arsenal’s win over Manchester United, ANOTHER loss for Chelsea, and more.

Wenger’s team is underrated

It is a curious thing, but somehow Arsenal have quietly gone from perennial close-but-not-that-close type of team, to a serious title contender in the space of a few months. Finally Arsenal look like a team who could at the very minimum sustain a respectable title challenge, courtesy of their well-oiled triumvirate attack.

Indeed, it was the Ozil-Sanchez-Walcott dynamic which really made the difference on Sunday, as Sanchez hit Man Uniited for a brace while Ozil was at his elegant best, scoring the second of Arsenal’s three goals on the day. The result was an eye-opener; especially for those who only 24 hours beforehand were sure the Red-Devils were destined for their first Premier League win 2013.

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Whether Arsenal actually win the league of course remains to be seen, but they finally look the real deal. What Wenger may actually need to compete domestically is an early exit from Europe which, given their erratic results their, isn’t out of the question.

Chelsea Troubles Offers Unique Opportunity

Who last May could have envisaged such a bad start to the season by Chelsea? Not many, that’s for sure. Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Southampton made it four losses from eight in the Premier League for the Blues. What happened afterwards was just as intriguing for some, with Jose Mourinho talking for seven minutes straight – from one initial question – live on Sky Sports.

The rant – which it undoubtedly was – left the Portuguese looking like a man trying his hardest to keep a job he loves. His failures – and that of his team – offer a unique opportunity for the club to shed some of their unwanted skin built up throughout the Abramovich era. Since Roman took out managers have been disposed of at the first sign of the team simply not continuing to improve. And plateau has been met with dismissal.

Well given it is Mourinho at the helm now Roman should show a sign of stability at Chelsea, and back Mourinho. For all of his many – and there are indeed many – character flaws, he was right on Saturday evening, he is Chelsea’s best ever manager. Should he be sacked because of one bad season? Absolutely not.

Sunderland Back to Drawing Board as Advocaat Walks

After succumbing to a 2-2 draw against West Ham following a 2-0 lead Dick Advocaat left Sunderland on the weekend, leaving the Mackems further in the mire. Sunderland now sit in 19th place on three points, having yet to win a game this season. For all of their poor performances though, it results in bigger issues for the North-East club.

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Sunderland not only need stability, but a long-term progressive vision. Newcastle, for example, are equally underperforming, but at least there is some semblance of cohesive thinking their in terms of transfer strategy. Sunderland on the other hand remain erratic, without any joined u thinking.

The immediate issue is, although it may actually help, avoiding relegation will now be seen as a necessity. Is it possible to avoid relegation in their state while implementing such a cohesive set up? Likely not, certainly not for a club already so far away from such a set-up. It is indeed worrying times for the Mackems.