Chelsea host a Tottenham side pushing for an all important top four finish with Emmanuel Adebayor in blistering form since being brought in from the cold by Tim Sherwood. He will be a major threat to Chelsea but can his form continue?
Andy Gray and Richard Keys who front beIN Sports’ English Premier League coverage think his reputation suggests the answer is no:
Andy Gray: Tottenham are six points behind Arsenal and Liverpool having played the same number of games. You can’t count Man City because they have a couple of games in hand.
Liverpool are looking strong so I can’t really see Spurs catching them so Tottenham will be hoping their London rivals Arsenal slip up, which is possible, but unlikely.
Tim Sherwood has done a decent job since he took over but no better than Andre Villas-Boas would have done if he hadn’t been sacked. But what he has done, which AVB steadfastly refused to do, is give Emmanuel Adebayor a chance and to be fair to the player he has repaid that faith with eight goals in 12 games.
Adebayor has had plenty of chances at Tottenham in the past and hasn’t taken them but Tim has been working with him, got to know him, and has got a reaction from the player but how long will it be before he spits the dummy and stops scoring goals?
His history isn’t good when it comes to consistently playing well so I am not overly confident that his current form will continue and if he isn’t scoring he doesn’t have much else to offer the team.
He is not the sort of player you can rely on to dig in and fight for the team. So it’s up to the other players to raise their game and not rely too much on Adebayor.
It remains to be seen whether Tim Sherwood stays in the job next season with Louis Van Gaal tipped to take over. You may wonder how these rumours affect Sherwood as this season progresses.
Personally, I think this is a no lose situation for Tim. If he manages to hang on to the job then great but if he doesn’t he has had two thirds of a season to show people he can cope with the Premier League and manage a top team, which is good for his CV.
He has got Spurs playing a bit better recently and today he has to cope with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Every game Chelsea play now is vitally important because although they could be nine points ahead of Man City if they win today they know Manuel Pellegrini’s men are in the kind of form that could see them win all their games in hand.
City will probably go out of the Champions League as they are 2-0 down to Barcelona and have to travel to the Nou Camp and that means they will have less distractions and will make Chelsea’s job of winning the title doubly difficult.
Liverpool and Arsenal are also a threat so Mourinho can’t afford any slip ups.
Tottenham have got the best away record in the Premier League with nine wins and have only lost three so they are not going to roll over at the Bridge.
But you are looking at a Chelsea side who have won 12 and drawn two at home. In the last 16 games the only defeat they have had is in the FA Cup against Man City. I think they will have too much for Spurs. 3-1
Richard Keys: Sherwood has put his faith in Adebayor and good luck to him but I don’t think that the player has done anything more than he always does when he gets a new lease of life by either moving clubs or playing for a new manager.
If he could keep his mind solely on playing at a consistently high level he would be one of the best in the business. Unfortunately, that has never happened and I suspect his form will fall away in exactly the same way it did previously at Arsenal, Man City, Tottenham, Real Madrid on loan and when he returned to Tottenham.
I understand why Villas-Boas didn’t want him around but good luck to both him and Tim. Adebayor is on fire at the moment but I think it will end as it always does with this guy. Nobody has been able to change him and Tim Sherwood won’t have any more success.
I don’t think they will finish in the top four, particularly if they think Adebayor will get them there, and even if they do Sherwood won’t be in charge next season. Van Gaal will be the next Spurs boss.
Today’s game is also vital for Chelsea and although Jose Mourinho is saying that a nine-point lead over Man City will be a false lead, he is talking rubbish. Of course it’s not a false lead – it’s points in the bag which nobody can take off you and leaves a huge gap for City to close.
I know Tottenham have a good away record and although Chelsea need to play better than they have in recent weeks I can see them winning this 2-1.
WEST BROM v MAN UNITED
AG: David Moyes has written a letter to season ticket holders thanking them for their support and apologising for the disappointing start to his reign at the club. It seems a bit early to be writing letters saying sorry. If he feels he needs to explain things to United fans why didn’t he just say it in an interview?
The best way to get the message across to fans is to win games like the one at West Brom today which won’t be easy. The Baggies have drawn their last four home games 1-1 with Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea all held.
That should be a warning to United because they are not playing any better than those three teams. However, after their shocking performance in the Champions League against Olympiakos I do expect to see a reaction from United and I think they will win 2-1.
RK: It’s obvious why Moyes has done this – it’s season ticket renewal time. There might be some fans who have been disappointed with the performances so far this season who might be wavering so what better time to get a letter from the manager?
I have to agree with Andy on this. If Moyes feels the need to explain things to fans why hasn’t he just come out and said it. I’m not sure what kind of message this game at West Brom will send out because I can’t see United winning. 1-1.
CARDIFF v FULHAM
AG: This will be the point of no return for one of these teams. Both are in deep trouble but Fulham at least look like a team who still have some fight left in them.
Cardiff have too many players on loan. It doesn’t matter to them whether they survive in the Premier League or not because they will be go going back to the clubs they are on loan from.
Sacking Malky Mackay never felt like the right decision and thinking that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could come from the Norwegian league and keep them up was folly. This will be nervy and tense but I think Fulham have the better players so I fancy them to win 1-0.
RK: Cardiff are a shambles and have been since Malky Mackay left. I couldn’t tell you whether Solskjaer is a good manager or not but two years at Molde can’t possibly prepare you for a Premier League relegation scrap.
They were 16th when Malky left and they have never been higher. I think Fulham will win this 2-0.
CRYSTAL PALACE v SOUTHAMPTON
AG: Southampton will probably play the better football because they have more quality players but Tony Pulis will have Palace organised at the back and will look to hit the Saints on the counter attack. I think this will be an interesting game which will end 1-1.
RK: Palace are good at getting a 1-0 win at home and that’s what I think will happen here. Southampton’s Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Jay Rodriguez were with the England team in midweek so they may be a little tired and Palace have had a good rest. Tony Pulis knows that his team are still not clear of the threat of relegation and need at least another two wins. This will be one of them.
NORWICH v STOKE CITY
AG: Chris Hughton has survived at Norwich when many thought the 3-1 defeat at Villa Park last week might cost him his job. I am glad they have stuck with Chris because there is nothing to say sacking your manager makes matters any better.
If you look at the bottom four teams they all changed their managers this year. Teams that stuck with their managers seem to be having the better of it right now and Hughton will fancy his chances against Stoke, who have one of the worst away records in the league, having lost ten of 14.
Mark Hughes will be happy with a point and may set up his side to get that draw but I am actually going for Norwich to win this 1-0.
RK: I think Stoke can win this 2-0 and put Norwich in the mire. I don’t think they are going to be able to get the required points they need before their last four games of the season which are against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
It saddens me to say this because I like Chris Hughton and the club, but I think Norwich will go down with Cardiff City and probably Fulham.
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