Belfast Telegraph

A premier night to remember

Magic Wednesday really showcased the best the top flight has to offer


David Moyes looked shellshocked and it wasn't just because he had witnessed something he'd never seen before... an Everton victory at Old Trafford, their first since 1992.

Moyes, as Everton boss, had tried for 11 years to earn an away win at the Theatre of Dreams.

Defeat to his old team and hearing the Everton fans chant "You'll be sacked in the morning" hit Moyes hard, but what hurt the Manchester United manager most, as he trudged to the dressing room at the final whistle, was knowing his chances of winning the title were virtually over.

And this only a few days into December!

Publicly, Moyes won't give up on United retaining the Premier League crown, won in Sir Alex Ferguson's final season, but in his heart of hearts he'll be aware it'll take a collapse of Newcastle under Kevin Keegan proportions from several sides above them and for the Red Devils to win almost every game from now until May, to do it.

Not going to happen.

With no Ferguson as boss – he was worth 20 points a season on his own – the realistic ambition for ninth-placed United, 12 points behind leaders Arsenal, is to now finish in the top four, not first.

Missing the injured Robin van Persie, only Wayne Rooney looks a threat up front.

In midfield they lack quality and at the back are edgy, not helped by Moyes putting Jonny Evans, the side's best defender, on the bench rather than on the pitch on Wednesday night.

They may have gone 12 games unbeaten prior to the 1-0 defeat to Everton, but even during that run it was clear the squad needed an injection of talent.

They must invest in January. Priorities should be Leighton Baines from Everton, two top drawer midfielders with creativity and clout plus a consistent wide player.

Despite Everton making it four league losses already this season, Moyes wasn't 'sacked in the morning' and will be given time to get it right by those upstairs... but not forever. Mid-table doesn't cut it at Manchester United.

The magnificent, magical luis suarez

The Liverpool number seven is the best player in English football right now. What a bewildering display he put in against Norwich at Anfield scoring FOUR goals and making another in a fabulous 5-1 victory.

And they weren't just any goals.

Kids at a funfair would not have been smiling more than Liverpool supporters on Wednesday night.... the first was a breathtaking big dipper from 40 yards, the third a spectacular roller coaster ride with the ball chipped up and brought down by the Uruguayan before he finished with a shuddering shot and his fourth a fantastic free-kick, which, as sure as you'll be bumped at the dodgems, was always going to hit the net.

Suarez's second was a clever finish, but in comparison to the others like taking candy floss from a baby.

He's the top scorer in the Premier League with 13 goals having missed the first five games due to suspension. Not many mentions of that infamous bite these days. All anyone wants to talk about is his football.

Suarez says Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are at 'another level' but when he plays as he did against Norwich, I'm not so sure.

What's certain is he's among the finest players on the planet and has revealed that, despite interest from Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, he won't be going anywhere in January.

Great news for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers, who fought so hard to keep him in the summer when his star player wanted a transfer.

Suarez is determined to take the Reds into the Champions League. With him at his best, they have a genuine chance.


When Nicklas Bendtner is scoring, you know things are going well for Arsenal. The not so great Dane's early goal set the Gunners on their way to a 2-0 victory over Hull in midweek – their 11th win from 14 league games.

Arsene Wenger's men continue to produce attractive football and with Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil carving out opportunities at will, you wonder if they can be stopped.

We might just find out before Santa comes down your chimney, with Arsenal facing Everton and chief title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea before Christmas.

City are six points behind the Gunners, Chelsea four .

Manuel Pellegrini's side are unbeatable at home and are now winning away. Dangerous. If Vincent Kompany can stay fit and Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero stay focused, Wenger's men will find it tough to keep City at bay.

Tougher still may be halting the runaway train that can be Chelsea under Jose Mourinho.

His side haven't been that special for most of the season, but in recent victories over Southampton and Sunderland, I've sensed real fire in the bellies of the Blues, ignited by a few choice words from Mourinho.

Eden Hazard, such a crafty footballer, was inspired in the 4-3 victory against Sunderland. Arsenal may be top dogs at present, but with Chelsea and City on their tail, I can't see them staying there.


The Toffees, after that ever so sweet success at Manchester United, are growing in belief that they can qualify for the Champions League.

Fifth at present, entertaining Everton, one to 11, are solid at the back, silky in midfield and strong up front, thanks to the brilliant Romelu Lukaku.

The only problem for impressive boss Roberto Martinez is that the squad is not good enough to go all the way. Should he recruit in January and recruit well, as he did in the last transfer window, then their chances will increase, but it's more likely that Liverpool, Tottenham or even United will finish fourth.

Belfast Telegraph


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