Premier League: Top to Bottom (Part One)

…in which Football Burp eyes the Premier League up and down like some rival alpha male, collating supporter opinion and offering it up in a neat, little, four-part package…

Premier League round-up
Pot... Who's in Pol position? (Image courtesy of edwin. 11)

1. Manchester City

General mood: What do you think? Absolutely elated after routing their neighbours 6-1 on their own patch, five points clear at the top of the league and a squad that looks well placed to go the distance.

Reasons to celebrate: Pretty much everything about the club. Mario Balotelli, James Milner and Sergio Aguero are in supreme form, while David ‘Merlin’ Silva is the currently the best player in the country.

Causes for concern: That Silva’s form attracts the attentions of a certain pair of La Liga giants. That Balotelli’s whacky off-field antics eventually land him in the kind of trouble he’s been lucky to escape so far.

Sample message board quotes: “Since Sunday, and considering we have taken 25 points from 27 (and really it should have been 27 from 27 had we not tooled it in at Fulham), the possibility is dawning on me that we might actually walk it this season. I don’t mean scrape home by a point or 2, but maybe romp home with a 15 point lead. Yes, I know, I am getting ahead of myself, and there’s lots to do and a long way to go. But it is possible isn’t it.” – Chippy_boy, forums.bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk

“List people I would swap David Silva for: 1. Lionel Messi. That is all.” – South East Citizen, www.mancityforum.co.uk

2. Manchester United

General mood: What do you think? Sick to the stomach after seeing their neighbours rout them 6-1 on their own patch, to go five points clear at the top of the league with a squad that looks well placed to go the distance.

Reasons to celebrate: Erm…Darren Fletcher’s goal was pretty sweet. And maybe this painful setback will galvanise Sir Alex Ferguson and his squad. Oh, and they should beat Altrincham in the League Cup – so that’s something.

Causes for concern: That the money to compete with City just isn’t there. That the central midfield and central defensive areas just aren’t strong enough.

Sample message board quotes: “Man City fans have not seen a win like this since they were Chelsea fans.” – Jaap, www.redcafe.net

“[Ferguson] is just too damn old and senile. keeping rotating so many players is retarded, the fact that we lack one single good central midfielder ( piss off with cleverley) is visible from the moon. carrick is worse than me. im just surprised he didnt praise evra after the game, he tends to praise players after **** performances. some say its to boost their confidence. i say its just dementia.” – sunchaser, www.manutdtalk.com

3. Chelsea

General mood: Hard done by, with a tinge of pride having had two players sent off in the first half at QPR yet still managing to boss the second.

Reasons to celebrate: Aforementioned second half dominance with nine men. An amicable resolution to the John Terry/Anton Ferdinand racism allegation. Jose Bosingwa looks back to his best.

Causes for concern: The careers of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard continue to appear to be winding down. David Luiz’s flamboyance resulting in silly mistakes. Florent Malouda shows no sign of emerging from his rut. And there is talk of a new contract for Salomon Kalou

Sample message board quotes: “its the worst Ive felt after a defeat since the Barcelona game. And yet its also the proudest Ive felt for ages after the way we played in the 2nd half, our boys were absolutely magnificent” – dkw, www.theshedend.com

“What amazes me is how and why players still do 2 footed tackles. This is one of the few laws in the game which I like as it is so black ans white….2 footed tackle = red card. Intent, danger, recklessness…..it doesnt matter. If you go in 2 footed, you get sent off. As soon as [Drogba] did it, much like when Torres did it against Swansea, you knew it was a red card. The ref in both cases had no choice. Neither tackle was going to do any damage but that is the rule……. It is brain dead to do it, even more brain dead when the opponent is on the halfway line going nowhere and even more brain dead when you are 1-0 down and already down to 10. In all things I have seen watching Chelsea, that tackle on Sunday was up there with the most stupid.” – paulw66, forums.cfcnet.co.uk

4. Newcastle United

General mood: Encouraged by picking up three points despite not playing well in Saturday’s 1-0 win against Wigan Athletic at St James’ Park. Still getting nosebleeds when they look at the Premier League table and see themselves in 4th, level on points with 3rd-placed Chelsea.

Reasons to celebrate: 19 points from nine games represents an astonishing start, especially when compared to last season’s opening nine games, during which time Chris Hughton’s Magpies lost at home to Blackpool and Stoke City. Yohan Cabaye continues to look like one of the bargain buys of the summer, scoring the winner in style. Promising substitute performances from Frenchmen Sylvain Marveaux and Hatem Ben Arfa. Still unbeaten

Causes for concern: Gabriel Obertan continues to flatter to deceive. Djemba Ba and Leon Best don’t convince as a partnership up front. Poor performance perhaps an indicator that this great start cannot possibly last.

Sample message board quotes:  “Thought we were sh*** today. Tiote was caught in possession all day and we don’t move the ball well at all. No fluency to our play. Wigan could easily have grabbed a goal too. I don’t get to watch us that much, unfortunately, so I was expecting us to be a little bit better given our lofty league position. Obertan was awful. Marveaux looked way tidier. And Ryan Taylor is a liability. HBA showed flashes of class but isn’t half a lazy bar steward off the ball. I hope we get to see some special stuff from him before he gets his pet lip on and f***s off (anyone think he won’t leave on a sour note?).” – BikeSeatSniffer, www.nufc-forum.com

“I think Cabaye is quality and will get better but nowhere near the levels that people are portraying him. For me, that is dangerous. Nevermind people saying the original poster has only watched MOTD. I’ve missed only a couple of away games this season, otherwise i’ve seen a fine player BUT he’s been on the periphery of a few games. Against Wigan, when given the opportunity he showed his quality. Yes he is a good player but people are going well over the top. I think he will prove to be a brilliant NUFC player but lets hold on and not place too much expectations on the lad.” – gatesheadmag, Newcastle United Footymad forum 

5. Tottenham Hotspur

General mood: Pleased with yet another win but unsatisfied with overall performances. Worried about potential banana skin that is a home game against QPR next weekend.

Reasons to celebrate: Five wins and a draw from their last six league games. Rafael van der Vaart bang back in goalscoring form, having opened the scoring in each of the last four games. Kyle Walker getting better by the game. Winning without playing well a promising sign.

Causes for concern: Problems at centre-back with Michael Dawson prone to injuries, Ledley King and William Gallas winding down their careers, and Sebastian Bassong still failing to convince. Star players such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon not performing to expectations.

Sample message board quotes: “I’m delighted we got some points today, Kaboul and Parker had me clenching everytime they had the ball, both were absolutely dire. Walker just looks sublime, his defending was good today, tracking back, forward play, everything *in love* I think Bale played ok today, don’t know what all the hating is about if I’m honest.” – Sraew, www.tottenhamhotspurs.tv

“we were terrific first half even without Defoe, Ade [Adebayor] has made a huge difference to the team, we now have someone up front who holds the ball up well and links up/ brings other players into the attack , his vision is sublime, the only thing lacking in the first half as was the case with Liverpool last week was the goals to kill the game off, second half we were awful, Ade getting the eye injury never helped matter but, we really couldnt pass the ball well, what the hell Ekotto was doing I have no idea and then after one blunder he then goes and makes another one which we got away with, all Harry needs to do is get the team to keep the ball and play the simple pass instead of doing the stupid stuff, we won the game but we need to play for 90 mins even against 10 men.” – Blackjack, spursnetwork.com