1. Phil Scolari: Not a man-manager.
As I pointed out in my assessment of Everton’s game against Hull, the ability to motivate a team is crucial to a manager. David Moyes and Phil Brown can both do it, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that Scolari can’t. No matter how often he claims that his players love him, it is evident on the pitch that he is not getting them to perform to their best. A Chelsea side that is essentially the same as the one that ran United close in the last two seasons under Grant and Mourinho was swept aside by United with relative ease. They have a tendency to fall apart in the face of adversity, and to me that rules them out of the title race, unless Scolari can sort them out soon.
2. United will win the league.
There we are, I’ve done it. That is my prediction for the end of the season. I think that after today’s showing, when they swept aside a lacklustre Chelsea side with relative ease, they have shown that they have the potential to go all the way. Despite missing captain and defensive rock Rio Ferdinand, they were never troubled by Chelsea and in Ronaldo, Rooney and Berbatov they have goals aplenty in their side. I think too that Rafa Benitez’s outburst about Alex Ferguson (while indeed partially true) has also shown that the pressure is getting to him and the Liverpool camp a little bit. Not only is Ferguson an old hand a such high pressure situations, his squad showed today that they too have the guts to come through the biggest tests.
3. Jonny Evans is going to be class.
The young defender showed today just what a talent he is. We have been gearing good things about him for a while, but he had yet to prove himself at the top level. And however dull a Chelsea performance it was, the fact remains that in Drogba and Anelka they have two of the league’s most dangerous forwards, who can often burst into life and punish you given even the slightest opportunity. Today though, Evans gave them absolutely nothing (credit to Vidic too, but we already knew how good he was), and the future looks bright indeed for the young Irishman.
4. Drogba and Anelka: should play together.
I don’t care what anyone says, the Premier League’s top scorer should be starting games, no matter where he is playing and no matter who else that team has up front. The fact that Chelsea have Niclas Anelka then, vurrently leading the way in the goalscoring charts, means that he should be playing. That they also have Didier Drogba, one of the best strikers in the world, means that he should be playing too. Some people have argued (and continue to argue) that they are incompatible, but I fail to see how that is the case. both are reasonably complete strikers, with pace, power and finishing ability. That they may have similar styles is likely, but they are both footballers who are intelligent enough to forge a partnership and develop an understanding on the pitch. Given time to develop, I fully believe that they could become a devastatingly deadly partnership, and I think the sooner Scolari is brave enough to do this, the better their season will end up.