Does the Premier League need a winter break?
On Saturday, I watched an absolute humdinger of a Serie A match between Roma and Milan. In between I was flicking channels to see as Jose Mourinho almost certainly impale himself to a tree as he dropped Spanish national hero and Real keeper and captain Iker Cassilas to the bench in the defeat at Malaga. Of course Barca had won comfortably before Real's kick-off. The next day, I watched Olympic Marseille keep pace with the leaders at the top of Ligue 1 when they laboured to a 1-0 win over St Etienne thanks to a quite brilliant header from the Ghanaian Andre Ayew - am a huge fan of Abedi Pele's son, I really am. Very few people with his heritage work as hard as he does and I am well pleased for him. Abedi must be proud.
While all these footballers in Spain, Italy, Germany and France amongst others will be putting their feet up, enjoying the Christmas and winter break, recharge their batteries and return in January to continue the assault on trophies, the teams in England will instead be playing a marathon schedule of matches that is, frankly, astonishingly absurd!! Football in England is played at a pace that is hard to find elsewhere and the fans absolutely demand it from their clubs irrespective of league positions and oppositions. It is quite admirable in truth. However, the time has actually come for the authorities to sit back and come up with a plan to inculcate a "winter Break". It simply makes sense.
Out on the field, the champions City have recovered well from the defeat in the derby to get maximum points from the matches against Newcastle and Reading. They still look short on champions' form in truth needing a truly controversial injury time goal to beat Reading. United, still on top after a win and their first draw at Swansea. I really is staggering when you watch a match and read the match reports these days. In the last 12 months of the football season, no other team has out played Swansea the way Manchester United did on Sunday at the Liberty Stadium since Everton won there last season. The hosts were lucky that Wayne Rooney chose that match to have one of his worst games in a United shirt for a long time such was the domination of the champions. Four points separate the neighbours as they go into the busy holiday schedule. United host Newcastle while Man City visit Sunderland. These same fixtures last season did not go according to the form book. So nothing should be taking for granted.
Chelsea under Rafa Benitez are slowly picking up the points. More importantly it seems that Torres has started scoring. The mauling of Aston Villa was only significant in the form of David Luiz. I have been saying from the first time I saw him that he is a midfielder naturally and makes a positive move each time he gets the ball. He is a by far more progressive footballer than Mikel Obi. I still don't think Chelsea can win the league but they will have a huge part to play in who wins it. The Interim Manager is playing a good balanced game in his personnel making sure that Victor Moses starts games to give the team natural width. They should win the League Cup at least and CAN win the Europa Cup.
Three straight wins seem to have put Arsenal back in the hunt for the title or at least the Champions League positions. However, that is just a mirage. Watching the way Arsenal are set up they are so easy to be got at with Arteta in a holding role and two other midfielders who are not very quick and hardly break beyond the front men into the box. Theo Walcott's position at centre-forward is really not a need for all the observation. He can do a good job there but has to start doing from the beginning of the season rather than being there just so he will sign a new deal. Actually that appears so cheap and tacky from a classy club like Arsenal.
In form Norwich host rampant Chelsea. Am looking forward to how the Canaries do after the defeat at West Brom. They have already beaten United and Arsenal there but got thumped by Liverpool so it will be intriguing to watch.
The league is tantalisingly poised. Nothing is settled. If United maintain their lead going into New Year's Day, then the pain of last season should see them through.
I wish all of you who log on to www.supersport.com a merry xmas and a resourceful new year. You can follow me on twitter @CalvinEmeka.