Arsenal and Liverpool dare to dream as luck finally turns

Nov 19, 2012

Premier League talking points: Carragher aims for Europe and Arsenal rejoice after derby win

WHAT a difference a day makes. Arsenal and Liverpool fans have endured a wretched time this season and could have been forgiven for looking forward to the weekend with some trepidation. But after handsome victories over Spurs and Wigan respectively on Saturday, everything suddenly seems to be rosy. Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher summed up the new mood of optimism by talking about the possibility of Champions League football at Anfield next season. After all, he said, the Reds are now just four points behind the Gunners, who last season came third. Football is all about perspective.

Luis Suarez was on fine form again at the weekend as he continued his one-man masterclass in how to lead the line. But behind him, Raheem Sterling produced perhaps his most accomplished performance in a Liverpool shirt as he provided two assists. He may only be 17 but he has already established himself in the Liverpool team, made his England debut and is even the subject of transfer speculation. Liverpool will do well to keep hold of him as he and Suarez look as though they could strike up a formidable partnership.

If you want goals and excitement, go to a game between Arsenal and Spurs. The Gunners came from behind at the Emirates on Saturday and won 5-2 for the second time running against their old enemies from White Hart Lane. Stats show that the average Premier League match yields 2.8 goals, but that's not the case when the Gunners play Spurs. The last 10 derbies have produced 47 goals (although one of them was a goalless draw) and the nine clashes between the clubs at the Emirates have produced 41 goals.

Who said Manchester City were in crisis? The champions are back on top of the table after a convincing 5-0 win over Aston Villa and shock defeats for their two title rivals Manchester United and Chelsea. For much of the season the talk has been about the future of Roberto Mancini and off-field problems at the Etihad. Yet City remain unbeaten and are now looking down on the rest of the division. What's more, they even have a superior goal difference to United.

On a weekend of drama the biggest shock came at Carrow Road where Norwich scalped Manchester United. As usual when a smaller club beats United they had their keeper to thank, and John Ruddy made several excellent stops, but Alex Ferguson admitted that the Canaries deserved their victory. Norwich had a shaky start to the season but after heavy defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea, Chris Houghton's men have pulled up their socks and are unbeaten in six. Arsenal, Spurs, Stoke and now United have all been bested at Carrow Road.

From one surprise to another, but who didn't see this one coming? Former West Brom boss, Roberto di Matteo, took his out-of-form Chelsea side to the Hawthorns to take on the high-flying Baggies, now managed by ex-Blues coach Steve Clarke, and they duly capitulated. The champions of Europe have not won for four games in the league, while West Brom have six home wins under their belt. West Brom, after a blip at the end of October, have now won three on the trot and are only one point behind Chelsea.

How long can Mark Hughes carry on at QPR? The Hoops had a must-win clash against Southampton on Saturday and conspired to lose it. The side looked petrified in front of their own fans, who were not best pleased when the final whistle went. QPR owner Tony Fernandes has backed Hughes to the hilt but there appeared to be signs his patience is running out. "Fans come first," he wrote on Twitter on Saturday. "Everyone including me let the fans down. Many of us need a hard look at themselves."

Sign up for our daily newsletter