Campaign producing fine vintage
TEAMtalk's Simon Wilkes thinks the 2009-10 Premier League season is turning into one of the best he has witnessed in 13 years as a journalist. A week is a long time in football. Not that long ago, Tottenham and Manchester United fans were on their knees as it seemed their seasons were unravelling at just the wrong time. The Red Devils had been floored by the triple whammy of defeat by Chelsea at Old Trafford, a shock Champions League exit and a draw at Blackburn which left them four points behind Carlo Ancelotti's Blues. But on Saturday they showed why they are the heavyweight champions of England as they delivered a knockout blow to Manchester City's hopes of finishing fourth, with Paul Scholes' stoppage-time header leaving their ambitious neighbours dazed and confused at Eastlands. In all fairness neither team really deserved to win the game, but that's what makes football such an intoxicating sport to follow, as in a flash your emotions can go from agony to sheer, unadultered joy - or despair if you're on the receiving end of the sucker punch. It's this rollercoaster of emotions which makes the Premier League the most popular league in the world. Yes the majority of players plying their trade in England's top tier are pampered, overpaid and egotistical - but you cannot deny they deliver the goods week in, week out, grab you by the nuts and demand you buckle up for the ride. I've been a sports journalist for nearly 13 years now but this is one of the best seasons I've ever witnessed, with the title race wide open with just a handful of games remaining, the race for fourth spot toing and froing as each match goes by and even the fight for survival proving an enthralling affair (how Burnley are not already in the Championship is beyond me). Harry Redknapp's 'triffic' Tottenham have played a major role in the recent drama, recovering from the shattering blow of losing their FA Cup semi-final to penniless Portsmouth to rack up the joy of six points from two London derbies, games in which they have previously wilted under the pressure. They're now in pole position to pip big-spending Man City to a place in next season's Champions League - but although they currently have a two-point lead over Roberto Mancini's men, their next assignment is the small matter of a trip to Old Trafford next Saturday. Fortunately for them, City face a trip to the capital where they'll be hoping to avoid some punishment at the hands of Arsene Wenger's Gunners. Chelsea fans will yell 'til their blue in the face that the trophy is still in their hands, which it is, but the fact remains that by the next time they kick-off - against Stoke at The Bridge next Sunday - they could be two points behind Sir Alex Ferguson's defending champions, who all of a sudden have a 19th crown in their sights. Considering they will be missing the services of suspended skipper John Terry, it will be a true test of their title credentials under Ancelotti.
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