A 2-0 win for Arsenal against Liverpool at the Emirates ensured that the Gunners would establish a five point lead in the Premier League with many pundits arguing their case for securing the title at the end of the season. 8 wins from 10 matches certainly underlines their credentials but one glance over their shoulder will reveal the Manchester clubs cannot be discounted from the equation.
With Chelsea surprisingly losing at the weekend to mid-table Newcastle and Tottenham contesting a goalless draw with Everton, Arsenal were allowed to extend their lead at the top of the table. Yet Manchester City clinically destroyed a lethargic Norwich City team by a 7-0 scoreline and their city rivals at Old Trafford produced a masterful first half performance in winning 3-1 at Fulham.
For David Moyes at Manchester United, it has not been an easy beginning to his tenure as boss at Old Trafford. Many have questioned his ability to manage at the very top level and there has been the unwelcome distraction of the publication of his predecessor Alex Ferguson’s autobiography.
There have been initial setbacks for Moyes in these first 10 matches with three defeats before October and a late Southampton goal denying United a victory at Old Trafford. Yet a 3-2 win against Stoke City may have been a turning point for the Red’s season.
Trailing 2-1 to Stoke with 10 minutes remaining in front of an increasingly restless home crowd, United scored two quick goals via Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez to claim a much needed victory. The performance was typical of many under the wing of Ferguson when precious wins were secured by late goals.
It proved that the Manchester United players still retain their character and will to win which Moyes is only too happy to harness. The resilience and confidence gained from the Stoke comeback was transferred to the pitch at Fulham at the weekend when three first half strikes reminded everybody that the Red Devils can still play clinical football when the need arises.
Even more interesting is the forthcoming weekend Premier League fixture list which pitches Manchester United against Arsenal. Old Trafford has not been a happy hunting ground for the Gunners in recent seasons especially with an 8-2 defeat from two seasons ago still relatively fresh in the memory.
An Arsenal win at the weekend will be a fresh blow for Moyes but there is a general acceptance that the United players are warming to his management style with results destined to improve.
With Manchester City playing at lowly Sunderland next weekend, it may just be that Arsenal’s healthy lead in the title race will have been somewhat reduced.