By Jamie Thomas.
This week Jamie takes a look at a weekend during which Manchester City crushed Newcastle, Chelsea failed to grab three points against visitors Burnley, and managers Tim Sherwood and Chris Ramsey both suffered defeats at their new clubs.
- Tourific to have him back
Pundits hailed Wilfried Bony’s move to Manchester City because the champions seemingly needed reinforcements up front, having scored just three goals in their recent four-game winless run in the league.
But gaffer Manuel Pellegrini has lots of attacking talent at his disposal – it’s just that his men were rocked by an injury crisis and missing Yaya Toure, who was busy winning the African Cup of Nations. It was obvious how much of a loss the triumphant Ivorian hero had been as he was at the heart of everything in City’s 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle at the Etihad.
- Mind the gap, Mourinho!
Jose Mourinho is famous for creating a siege mentality at his clubs and firing up the dressing room with the idea the world is against them. He has also been known to make comments regarding referees in an attempt to influence officials ahead of games.
But Mourinho’s mind games backfired this time. Referee Martin Atkinson failed to award Chelsea penalties or take action against Burnley’s Ashley Barnes for two horror tackles in their home draw on Saturday. It seems his rants have the opposite effect on whistlers angered by talk of a ‘campaign’ against the Blues. The draw cut their lead at the top of the table to just five points.
- New challenges
With the managerial merry-go-round in full swing recently, out comes the old cliché that new bosses give struggling teams a lift. That didn’t happen this weekend for new Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood or QPR gaffer Chris Ramsey.
Villa were guilty of reverting to type in their defeat by Stoke after they lost focus at the crucial moments – just before half-time and in stoppage time. While QPR are improving, Ramsey is still to work out a way to keep captain Joey Barton on the straight and narrow after he saw red for lashing out at Hull’s Tom Huddlestone. When Robbie Savage is criticising your disciplinary record on Match of the Day, then you know you need to sort it out!
- From Saints to sinners
Since the victory at home to Arsenal on New Year’s Day, Ronald Koeman’s men haven’t quite looked like the same team as they have averaged less than a goal a game in the league and cup competitions. Their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool made it three games in a row at home without a goal for Saints.
Despite having over 60 per cent possession, the hosts just couldn’t make the breakthrough and Brendan Rodgers’s men took their chances when they came. Koeman didn’t look happy – and rightly so!
- Martinez’s Toff luck
Everton can’t catch a break! A great 4-1 away win at Young Boys last Thursday should have inspired the side ahead of this weekend’s clash against basement boys Leicester. But their confidence was quashed by two goalkeeping errors by Tim Howard.
It’s been an indifferent season for the Toffees and their performances have been miles behind last term’s. While luck hasn’t always been on their side, the best teams find a way no matter what. Everton gaffer Roberto Martinez needs to make that happen going into the home stretch of the season.
Read more from Jamie Thomas here.