English Premiership

Season has Suarez dreaming

2013-12-23 20:32
Luis Suarez (Getty Images)

London - Few players have undergone the transformation from sinner to saint that Luis Suarez is experiencing this season and the prolific Uruguay striker is now dreaming of winning the Premier League with Liverpool.

Liverpool went top of the table by beating Cardiff City 3-1 on Saturday, Suarez scoring twice to take his season's tally to 19 goals from 12 league matches ahead of the busy Christmas holiday programme which offers no let-up in the title race.

The Anfield club visit fellow contenders Manchester City on Thursday before travelling to Chelsea on Sunday and Suarez, who missed the opening five matches of the season following a ban imposed last season for biting an opponent, is a man reborn.

"It is my dream, I hope to win the league and a big trophy with Liverpool," he was quoted as saying on the club website (www.liverpoolfc.com) on Monday.

Suarez signed a new four-year contract last week and according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper is scoring goals "to make the likes of (former Anfield greats) Ian Rush, Roger Hunt and Robbie Fowler appear like they were occasional marksmen".

The race for the title reaches the halfway stage with four rounds of matches over Christmas and the New Year including this weekend's programme which concludes later on Monday when Arsenal face Chelsea at the Emirates.

Arsenal, who led the way from mid-September until Liverpool went top on Saturday, will return to the summit if they win.

However, if Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho extends his unbeaten run against counterpart Arsene Wenger to 10 matches and prevents Arsenal winning, Liverpool will head into Christmas as the top side for the first time since 2008.

Unlike Germany where there is an unofficial 'winter champion', no such accolade exists in England but historically it is no bad thing to top the table at this time of the year.

The top team at Christmas in the 21 completed Premier League seasons has won the title 10 times. Seven of the last nine champions, and all of the last four title winners, were first on Dec. 25.

The last team to be first at Christmas and miss out on the title were Liverpool in 2009.

CLOSE RACE

This time last year eventual champions Manchester United held a four-point lead over Manchester City going into Christmas and were 11 clear of third-placed Chelsea but this season the race is much closer.

Liverpool now have 36 points and the leading eight teams are separated by only eight points, down to champions United with 28.

Despite varying ups and downs in the first half of the season the top eight - Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Everton, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United all have realistic hopes of finishing in the top four.

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta said last week: "Christmas is so important. Does it matter that this current team has not won the title before? No, it doesn't.

"What is important is that you get as many points as you can over Christmas. That's what counts."

Following Monday's game, Arsenal visit relegation-threatened West Ham United in a London derby on Dec. 26, the same day as champions United travel to Hull City.

Two days later Manchester City host struggling Crystal Palace and United go to Norwich City.

On Dec. 29, Liverpool visit Chelsea while Arsenal make the long trip to Newcastle.

Everton have two home games to take a grip on a top four spot, against bottom club Sunderland on Dec. 26 and faltering Southampton three days later.

Spurs, with caretaker manager Tim Sherwood taking charge following last week's departure of Andre Villas-Boas, follow up Sunday's 3-2 win at Southampton with home games against West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City before playing at Manchester United on New Year's Day.

Being bottom at Christmas almost certainly heralds relegation at the end of the season.

Since 1992-93, when the Premier League started, only one club bottom at Christmas has escaped the drop - West Bromwich Albion in 2004-05.

Sunderland have 10 points from 17 matches and face Everton and Cardiff City away before hosting Aston Villa on New Year's Day.

"We need to turn things around soon if we are to survive," said Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.

"We could do with Luis Suarez, he's not bad is he?", he joked after the Uruguayan bagged his 19th goal on Saturday - seven more than the entire Sunderland team have managed this season.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
19 April 2014
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham, White Hart Lane 13:45
West Ham United v Crystal Palace, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Cardiff City v Stoke City, Cardiff City Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Swansea City, St. James' Park 16:00
Aston Villa v Southampton, Villa Park 16:00
Chelsea v Sunderland, Stamford Bridge 18:30
20 April 2014
Norwich City v Liverpool, Carrow Road 13:00
Hull City v Arsenal, The KC Stadium 15:05
Everton v Manchester United, Goodison Park 17:10
21 April 2014
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which team do you think will win the English Premiership?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.