People are getting fairly giddy over Liverpool’s good start to the season, in the same way they did following Arsenal’s good start last season. Whilst it was always clear that Arsenal’s squad was never going to be deep enough to claim the title, I can still appreciate that they were playing good football and got the better of their opponents on plenty of occasions. It made at least some sense that people were tipping them for the title.
However, I just can’t understand how people outside of Liverpool can believe the dippers have a chance. They’ve started well, in terms of points, but then so have Hull. Are the same people calling Liverpool title contenders also saying they think Hull will be playing Champions League football next season?
Now obviously I hate Liverpool, so I won’t be looking at their title credentials from a neutral perspective. Maybe if we take a look at the headlines following their games this season it will give us a fairer viewpoint.
“Torres spares Reds’ blushes” after a late goal in their 1-0 win over Sunderland on the opening day.
“Lucky Liverpool scrape last-gasp victory” following their 2-1 win over Boro, with the equalising goal taking a wicked deflection to beat the keeper who had the original effort covered, and an injury time from Stevie Me.
“Torres injured in Villa Park stalemate” after their 0-0 draw with Villa.
“Stoke earn first point on their travels againt lacklustre Reds” following their 0-0 draw with Stoke, who have lost 5 of their 8 games so far this season.
“Zabaleta off as Reds battle back for 3-2 success” after their 3-2 victory over City, who went down to ten men with 25 minutes left to play, seeing their 2-1 lead wiped out.
“Reds come from behind to snatch all three points” following their 3-2 win over Wigan, another game they were losing until their opposition went down to ten men.
From the Match of the Day highlights I’ve watched, I haven’t seen a team blowing apart their opposition. The only headlines I haven’t included from their season so far are their victory over us, where their winning goal accidentally came from Ryan Babel who smashed the ball in to the ground on a day where United played their worst football since derby day at Old Trafford, and their win over Everton.
Every other game seems fairly wish washy. Scraped results, lucky wins, and victories over 10 men. People laud their comebacks over City and Wigan as proof they’re in the race this season. Why? Because they were losing to the 10th and 14th ranked teams until they went a mad down? Bollocks.
Like the past few years, the title race will be between us and Chelsea, as Liverpool’s luck can’t last forever. They can’t play against 10 men all season and they certainly won’t get many much needed 86th minute own goal equalisers in their favour.
Ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea tomorrow, Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted Liverpool don’t have the quality to win at Stamford Bridge, and that Arsenal are the team to look out for.
“I don’t think it’s the most important top-of-the-table clash,” Fergie responded when asked about their game. “When Arsenal play Chelsea could be more significant. There have been quite a few Chelsea and Liverpool 0-0s over the past few years. Sunday’s game will be very tight, not many goals in it. But Arsenal could win there because they’ve got the quality to win.”
After years of battling it out with Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, it seems Fergie’s stance towards them has mellowed. Whilst he loves any excuse to take a swipe at Liverpool, there’s no need to praise Arsenal, but he seems to be developing a new-found respect for Arsenal. Truth be told, they need all the support they can get, following defeats to Fulham and Hull, and Wenger’s criticism of the quiet fans and captain William Gallas.
Whilst Chelsea will obviously pose the toughest test for us this season, who do you think will finish closest to us out of Arsenal and Liverpool?
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.