Arsene Wenger walks on water while Torres sinks without trace

Sep 17, 2012
Bill Mann

Premier League talking points: four games in and the usual quartet have taken the top spots

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DESPITE being held to a goalless draw at Loftus Road, Chelsea remain top of the Premier League as the table begins to take on an all too familiar look just a month into the season. Manchester United lie second, Arsenal third and Manchester City are nestled in fourth spot. What price any other club being able to break up that quartet of quality before the end of the season?
The Independent says that the handshake row at Loftus Road between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry obscured the real talking point among Chelsea fans, namely the form of Fernando Torres. The Spanish striker was substituted ten minutes before the end of the dull 0-0 draw in what was his 50th appearance for Chelsea. He's scored nine goals in that time, compared to the 33 he netted for Liverpool in the equivalent period, and the Independent described Torres as lacking in confidence and wearing a "hangdog expression". With Didier Drogba now in China, and Daniel Sturridge struggling for consistency, Chelsea's weakened strikeforce could cost them as they begin the defence of their Champions League title this week against Juventus.
As if Arsene Wenger wasn't already feeling pleased with the way things are panning out at the Emirates this season, he receives a ringing endorsement today from Cesc Fabregas. Wenger watched his new-look Arsenal side destroy Southampton 6-1 on Saturday to up to third in the table and Fabregas tells the Sun why Wenger is the best in the business. "He always finds the best young talent in Europe and has the courage to bring them in and give them their chance," explained Fabregas, who made his name at Arsenal before returning to his native Barcelona last year. "That is his special talent, the way he works with a player to build their confidence and encourage them to play, to perform at their best, [and] that's why I'm confident that Arsenal will again be up there challenging."
Two goals from England striker Jermain Defore helped Tottenham to a 3-1 victory over Reading. It was Spurs' first win of the season and no one was more relieved than manager Andre Villas-Boas. The Guardian reports that prior to the game Spurs chairman Daniel Levy had given Villas-Boas "three games to save his job" after he failed to win any of his first three matches in charge of the Lilywhites. But everything came good for AVB at the Madejski Stadium with Spurs stalwarts Defoe and Gareth Bale getting the goals, and new boys Jan Vertonghen, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Moussa Dembele looking as if they're finally finding their feet. "I am extremely happy," declared Villas-Boas, as Tottenham climbed to tenth in the table. However, he had nothing to say in response to Harry Redknapp's claim at the weekend that modern managers are full of "bullshit".
Paul Scholes inspired Manchester United to their biggest win of the season, a 4-0 thrashing of Wigan at Old Trafford, but the occasion was marred by a sick chant directed at Liverpool by a small section of home fans. Evidently bored by the one-sided contest they were witnessing, the United fans turned their attention to rivals Liverpool ahead of next week's encounter at Anfield. "Always the victims, never your fault", sang the so-called United supporters, just days after the release of the shocking report on the mishandling of the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people Liverpool fans died. The Daily Telegraph reports that though a United spokesperson said the club "deplored" the chants it's unlikely the matter will be taken further by the Football Association. That hasn't stopped former United legend Joe Jordan calling on fans who engage in such chants to be "banned for life". Jordan told the BBC that was the only way to eliminate the ugly practice.

Manchester United travel to Anfield next week for what the Daily Mail describes as a "potentially explosive clash" and with that in mind the two clubs will meet this week to ensure the match passes off without incident. High on their agenda will be the simmering tension between Liverpool striker Luiz Suarez and United defender Patrice Evra. Last season Suarez was banned for eight games after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra, and he later compounded his offence by refusing to shake hands with the Frenchman. The Mail says Suarez will be ordered by his club to be on his best behaviour next Sunday, and that includes shaking the hand of the man he abused. It was Suarez who salvaged a share of the points for Liverpool in their 1-1 draw at Sunderland at the weekend, a result that still leaves the Reds fourth from bottom with just two points from four games.

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I think the Suarez/Evra issue will be a moot one, as given Alex Buttner's performance against Wigan, Evra will be lucky to get a game!