The world of English football is beginning to revolve around a team in North London and their manager, I can’t remember the name of the team or manager, however. In this article though, we look at the whole of the English professional game and we will see who can count themselves a winner or loser this week.
1) NEWCASTLE UNITED
Three away matches in the space of one week would usually signal a hugely dismal week for Newcastle fans. However, under Rafa Benitez, Newcastle have amassed 13 league victories away from home this season and this week they beat title rivals Brighton and Huddersfield, whilst gaining a point from Reading at The Madejski Stadium. Seven points from three of the toughest away games all season is a great return for the Magpies as they increase their lead at the top of the Championship table.
2) LEYTON ORIENT
This season has been a pretty forgettable one for Leyton Orient fans as their team languish in the relegation zone and close to dropping out of the football league. However, a resounding 4-0 victory against the only team below them in the professional game, Newport County, will go a long way to help Orient escape the relegation zone. Josh Koroma scored his first ever goals at senior level as he bagged a hat-trick to close the gap between Notts County in 22nd and Orient in 23rd to five points.
3) FLEETWOOD TOWN
Fleetwood were the dark horses of League 1 this season and after an indifferent start, this weekend saw Fleetwood extend their unbeaten league run which stretches back to mid-November. This latest victory was a 2-0 away win against fellow promotion challengers Scunthorpe. Fleetwood have taken advantage of a dip-in-form by Scunthorpe and are now in second place in League 1 and look a good bet to make it to the Championship next season.
Who else could it be? A 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday was followed up by another 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich, meaning their Champions League match finished with an aggregate score of 10-2. Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have faced huge criticism recently and their position in the top-four is under threat as they currently lie in 5th position. Arsenal need to come out of this slump quickly as they play Lincoln City on Sunday, not an easy match by any stretch of the imagination.
2) NORWICH CITY
Not too long ago, Norwich enjoyed a mini-revival and looked like a playoff possibility, however, a couple of poor results later and such is the nature of the Championship as a league, they have drifted out of the playoff picture. This was compounded by Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday who defeated The Canaries 5-1 in a match where Norwich looked second-best all game. The game included a great strike from Ross Wallace and leaves Norwich nine points off Wednesday who occupy 6th and the last Championship play-off place.
3) KEVIN FRIEND
Any referee at Old Trafford will face huge scrutiny from the media and fans, with Kevin Friend bearing the brunt of most attention this weekend. In addition to missing the Zlatan Ibrahimovic elbow (Zlatan given a three-match ban) and the Tyrone Mings alleged stamp (Mings given a five-match ban), he also gave Andrew Surman a controversial yellow card which lead to a second yellow card and delayed red-card, it appeared Friend needed reminding to send him off. Friend had an uncomfortable ten-minute period on Saturday and will not look back on this week with much fondness.