Ronan Groome is back with his three conclusions from Gameweek 12 in the Premier League.
1. Boruc halting Southampton momentum
Mauricio Pochettino must have been so frustrated last Saturday. Southampton are going well at the moment and they’ve already took four points from two away games at Manchester United and Liverpool. They would have fancied their chances of getting something from Arsenal, who were coming back off a defeat just before the international break. But a glorious howler from Saints goalkeeper Artur Boruc, where he attempted to dribble past Olivier Giroud after receiving a passback, gifted the Gunners an early lead and Southampton never recovered. This was Boruc’s second major mistake in recent weeks – he was lobbed by his opposite goalkeeper in the first minute of the game at Stoke.
It’s always tough for goalkeepers. You make a mistake and you can so easily cost your team the game. But these two mistakes were inexcusable. Any sort of gameplan Southampton had on Saturday may as well have been torn up because at 1-0 down, it’s a different game completely. Forgive me for referring to American Football again in this column, but I watched the New England Patriots – Denver Broncos on Sunday evening and couldn’t help drawing a comparison. Patriots running back Stevan Ridley fumbled at midfield resulting in a turnover and touchdown for the Broncos on the same play. The American commentators told that this was Ridley’s third fumble in as many games and that he would most probably be deservedly benched for the remainder of the game and season. That seemed perhaps a bit harsh but that’s sport at the very highest level isn’t it? Boruc should have a sustained period on the bench now, especially when Southampton have the experienced Kelvin Davis ready to come in.
2. West Ham have no outlet up front.
I talked about West Ham’s 4-6-0 formation after gameweek nine so this point is revisited. But it’s worth mentioning again the quite obvious problem West Ham have of playing at home with no striker to fit their system. The Hammers had no outlet against Chelsea last Saturday, and it resulted in no attacking threat and no sustained possession up the field. It was all so easy for Chelsea in the end, who won the ball back easily throughout the game. As mentioned previously, the 4-6-0 formation can work on the road but the Upton Park faithful simply won’t have their side play that way at home and here lies the problem.
In Modibo Maiga, the Hammers do not have the old-fashioned centre forward they require and with Sam Allardyce admitting that he has no idea when Andy Carroll will be back, it would be no surprise were West Ham to invest in a striker this January. The Hammers are now level on points with Fulham, who they play in a crucial match tomorrow. Fulham have been poor this season but in Dimitar Berbatov, Bryan Ruiz and Darren Bent, they have scope to improve. The same really cannot be said of their opponents this week.
3. Mutch the best for Cardiff
Cardiff took another bonus point on Sunday and they look a real force at home. Malky Mackay’s team have been going well recently, they beat arch rivals Swansea 1-0, took a point off high-flying Everton and when away to fellow strugglers Norwich. Part of their recent success has been down to central midfielder Jordon Mutch, who has been excellent for the Bluebirds. Mutch spent the first part of this campaign on the bench but got his second start away at West Ham in the League Cup, where he was easily the best player on the pitch. Mackay rewarded the Welshman with his Premier League debut at Fulham the following Saturday and he repaid his manager with a stunning last-minute goal to win his team the game. Mutch has continued his form since (he also scored against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge) and played an instrumental part in Cardiff’s first goal yesterday, sliding a beautiful pass for Frazier Campbell to run onto.
Ronan Groome. Pundit Arena.
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