Liverpool’s crushing 4-0 victory over Spurs
Does it matter?: Yes, but probably more for Spurs and the future of Tim Sherwood than it does for Liverpool’s title aspirations, which are as strong as they’ve ever been in the second half of the season as Luis Suarez continues to finish with dangerous precision and the whole team runs about with purpose in the opposing third.
That may seem an odd thing to say on the day that Chelsea’s stutter against Crystal Palace, alongside Arsenal’s ball-slinging draw against Manchester City, allowed Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool to finish the weekend two points clear on top of the table (and for him to make bizarre claims of a 533 million strong worldwide fan base).
But this could all be forgotten two weeks from now, particularly if Manchester City win against the Reds on April 13th.
For Sherwood though it is further proof he is a tactical naif, a manager who offers no added value to the vacuum left following Andre Villas-Boas’ departure. The game also gave Spurs chairman Daniel Levy another incredible headache, as by now he’s realized not only is the expensive attacking midfield talent he paid hand over fist for in the summer failing to come together, but Tottenham have a back line featuring Younas Kaboul and Michael Dawson. Spurs are a mess.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s defeatist remarks after losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace
Do they matter?: No. Before you know why, here is what he said:
“I don’t think it’s the moment to speak about next season and the market but it’s clear to everybody that Chelsea next year wants to bring a striker. What’s the future for the other strikers? The ones who are staying are competing with the striker we are bringing [in]. And normally, at the end of the season, players that are not playing a lot or players who are not happy may prefer a change. That is also part of the market. We want to improve the team and the players and make some surgical movements in the transfer window.”
Though Mourinho will almost certainly press for sweeping changes in the striker department in the summer, this was already on the books for most of the season anyway with the aging, end-of-the-line Eto’o scoring the most goals of any Chelsea striker, tied on 11 with Oscar. In fact, one might read into Mourinho’s constant insistence his team are not title favourites as a way to further make the case in the off-season for even more squad upheaval, even in the eventuality Chelsea win the thing “by accident.”
This was always the case; a lame 1-0 loss provides a nice alibi.
Manchester United’s resounding 4-1 victory over Aston Villa
Does it matter?: No, but with the idiotic way most football clubs are run, chances are it’s possible someone at the board level regarded this last match as a “reprieve” for David Moyes, if they were seriously considering sacking him now that is.
One result however shouldn’t be a basis for any decision of that magnitude, for the reason any single result must be judged in light of the whole. And in this case the win came down to the inept Villa backline. First, they allowed Rooney the simplest of unmarked headers to equalize after Ashley Westwood’s incredible opening free kick. Then they continued with Leandro Bacuna upending Juan Mata to concede a penalty. And so on and so on and so on. A great and good victory for Man United at Old Trafford to plug up the leaks for a time. Villa love handing out gifts. But this is a mere upward spike in Moyes’ killer first and maybe last season in charge.
If you want a brilliant account of the Moyes’ sitch by the way, look no further than Ken Early’s brilliant story for Slate on the load put, perhaps unfairly, on Moyes’ shoulders.
Napoli defeats Serie A leaders Juventus 2-0
Does it matter?: Only in the faintest of ways, with potential to give Roma a smaller, slightly less insurmountable but still insurmountable hill to climb in overtaking Juventus.
Right now Juve are 11 points ahead but Roma has a game in hand, which they will play this Wednesday in a huge game against Parma. Napoli already walked into the Juve match with a sizable lead on Fiorentina for the final Champions League spot, which is now probably impossible for the latter to overcome. So as nice as the victory—Callejon and Dries Martens both scored—was for Benitez and team moral, and despite it being Juventus’ first loss in Serie A since Fiorentina beat them 4-2 in October, it doesn’t change much in what is hardening into a semi-predictable table.
Unless this is the beginning of the end of an historic Juve collapse! (It isn’t).
Other things that matter/don’t matter
-Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Man City? Possibly matters for Wenger’s future, maybe, though I doubt it. I’m sure it does matter but not more than any other result for either teams this season.
-Atletico’s 1-2 win over Athletic Bilbao? Matters. Bilbao are no slouches and Atletico’s streak continues.
-Anything in MLS? Doesn’t matter, for now. Three more games and it will start to.