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Ed Chamberlin blogs on strikers, Southampton and Super Sunday

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 31st October 2013 view comments

Super Sunday was marked by two dramatic, late and crucial goals.

Two perfect examples of the fine margins involved in the Premier League, both goals could have a major impact on the season.

First, Fabio Borini's stunning late strike at the Stadium of Light could be the goal that kick-starts Sunderland's season.

Fab-ulous: Borini was Sunderland's hero in the North East derby

Fab-ulous: Borini was Sunderland's hero in the North East derby

In a flash, Gus Poyet's team went from staying bottom of the table, winless and in despair, to having a massive injection of joy and belief with bookmakers instantly pushing out their odds for relegation: Sky Bet now go 5/6 on Sunderland for the drop.

Then, at Stamford Bridge, the title favourites 'flip-flopped' the moment Joe Hart and Matija Nastasic got in a tangle and let in Fernando Torres to score the winner. Sky Bet immediately promoted Chelsea to favourites to win the Premier League at 9/4, and pushed Manchester City out to 12/5.

In a flash Gus Poyet's team went from staying bottom of the table, winless and in despair, to having a massive injection of joy and belief.

Ed Chamberlin
Quotes of the week

Sky Bet's title odds: 9/4 Chelsea, 12/5 Man City, 5/1 Arsenal, 7/1 Liverpool, 10/1 Man Utd, 16/1 Tottenham, 80/1 Everton, 250/1 Southampton, 1,500/1 bar

From getting an excellent point at one of their title rivals, instead it sparked an inquest into City's goalkeeper and another worrying result on the road.

Uncertainty

City have already lost three away games this season - they only lost four in the whole of last season - and Sunday was yet more evidence of the importance of their captain to the team.

As the guys in the studio explained after the game, uncertainty seems to sweep across the back four in his absence and they need Vincent Kompany back at the helm as soon as possible.

City's defeat at Stamford Bridge was made all the more painful by all the teams around them winning on a weekend that saw some sensational performances from the Premier League's top strikers.

As discussed last week, Jose Mourinho is somehow conjuring quality and determination out of Torres, while Sergio Aguero had Graeme Souness purring in the studio on Sunday and he remains on fire with seven goals in seven Premier League starts this season.

Luis Suarez's performance for Liverpool was the best of the lot, though Daniel Sturridge managed to grab the goal of the game against West Brom. They remain the Premier League's in-form pairing.

However, the class of the Van Persie-Rooney partnership remains and they alone could keep the champions alive in the title race. The leaders have Olivier Giroud still firing but they continue to walk a tightrope as they simply cannot afford to lose him.

What a thrill it is to have so many world-class strikers in top form at the same time.

Swarmed

Talking of in-form, I was at St Mary's on Saturday night to see another impressive display from Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton.

They swarmed all over Fulham from the off and, as Martin Jol said after the game, his team were lucky to escape the South Coast with just a 2-0 defeat.

I watched the game back on Saturday Night Football when I got home and Jamie Redknapp's analysis of Rickie Lambert's goal was outstanding.

It was a brilliant spot to see Scott Parker instructing Dimitar Berbatov to mark Lambert from the corner, which is exactly what he didn't do.

How good it was to see six Englishmen in the Saints' starting XI and amongst them Jay Rodriguez had by far his best game of the season and Nathaniel Clyne continued his rapid improvement at right-back.

Over the next few weeks, do keep a close eye on James Ward-Prowse's delivery at set-pieces, which have already proved effective for England Under-21s as well as his club. It's something he's been working incredibly hard on.

Headlines

However, the stand-out player on Saturday was Adam Lallana. He is full of flair and technique but also has a phenomenal work-rate and the skipper sums up the Pochettino ethos.Southampton are flying and my ante-post bet in this column on them to finish in the top half of the table is looking far too conservative!

While Southampton are now getting headlines, Everton are sixth in the table and going about their business in a quiet but effective fashion.

They also have another of the League's in-form strikers in the form of Romelu Lukaku. We get a chance to see Everton and Lukaku in action on Super Sunday in a fascinating clash with Tottenham.

Tottenham have gained more points (72) and scored more goals (62) against Everton than they have against any other Premier League side but are up against an Everton team who have been unbeatable at home this year.

The Toffees have taken 28 points from last 30 available at Goodison Park since the beginning of March and are the only Premier League team yet to lose a home game in 2013.

Remarkable

After that game, we will see the first English top division meeting between two Welsh clubs.

The Cardiff City Stadium will be absolutely jumping as Cardiff host Swansea. The last time Super Sunday was in Wales, Cardiff pulled off that remarkable win against Manchester City.

Now the home side need to get something out of the game as they have gone through a sticky patch since, winning just one of their last seven games.

Swansea are in decent form and passing the ball as well as ever, having made over 200 more passes this season than any other Premier League team with the best overall passing accuracy in the division (almost 87%).

Their problem has been at the business end as they have slipped to eighth when it comes to passes in the final third this season, which is reflected by their total of just 12 goals in nine games.

Swansea are certainly consistent as they have an identical record after nine League games as last season. It promises to be a lively Super Sunday from 12.30pm on Sky Sports 1.

I was delighted to win the Super 6 mini League last week and be able to donate £1,000 to Reverse Rett Research Trust - www.curefordylan.com. Thank you Sky Bet.

Also keep an eye on The Fantasy Football Club leaderboard. Gary Neville was Manager of the Week following on from myself and Jamie Carragher. The Monday Night Football team are on the charge and I expect to see a worried Fenners and Merse on the show this week...

Horse racing

AP McCoy seems in a hurry to get to the magic 4,000.

I badly want to be there when he reaches the landmark and it looked as though he might do it during international week, which would have been perfect for me, before he selfishly won races left, right and centre last week. It now looks like he may do it sooner! Make no mistake: this will be one of the great achievements in sport.

The Champion jockey has done us proud over the last few years giving us a horse to follow for the season, which have included Binocular, Kid Cassidy, Darlan and My Tent or Yours. This term AP has recommended we follow Shutthefrontdoor, who made a winning debut over fences at Aintree last weekend.

He reckons Shutthefrontdoor will develop in to a decent staying novice. He also gave a good mention to Regal Encore, who was second in the Cheltenham Festival Bumper, and he seemed to blame the jockey for his defeat on his hurdles bow at Aintree!

Meanwhile, the National Hunt season continues to gather real pace and steps up another gear at Wetherby on Saturday and then rolls on to the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on Tuesday. What a great time of year this is.

The horse I'm most looking forward to at one of those meetings, or possibly Ascot on Saturday, is Alan King's Gone Too Far. Gone Too Far is set to make his hurdling debut and I've heard excellent reports about his work and schooling at home.

In total contrast there's also the annual Breeders Cup jamboree this weekend. I've been tapping up all my US contacts and have been told the bet of the meeting is Brujo de Olleroa (12/1 with Sky Bet) in Friday night's Dirt Mile. He was second to a very good horse on his latest start and the main players all have questions to answer.

On Saturday, I like Unbridled's Note in the Turf Sprint.

This horse loves the track, was second in this contest last year and has been trained specifically for the race again. He'll be written off in stall 14 but that's not as bad as everyone thinks due to the configuration of this quirky turf course.

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