A tragic week for EPL
Allow me to indulge myself by opening this week's English Premier League review with the news that Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has won the managerial sack race
Allow me to indulge myself by opening this week's English Premier League review with the news that Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has won the managerial sack race.
Bruce had been in charge since June 2009, and although he had taken the club to a top half finish last season, he had never been popular with the supporters on Wearside. The club had won just 3 out of 17 home games during 2011, and lost again on Saturday against bottom placed Wigan. American chairman Ellis Short referred to the sequence as "simply not good enough" when announcing the sacking on Wednesday.
Short's first choice to replace Bruce is another former Manchester United star Mark Hughes. Former Blackburn and Manchester City boss Hughes most recently managed Fulham - but is also believed to be a target of the Welsh FA. The fans favourite is former Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa boss Martin O'Niell, a self-confessed Sunderland fan who previously rejected the position in 2006.
Bruce may find himself with some company in the next few days with Blackburn's Steve Kean walking a tightrope having seen his team go bottom of the league after a 3-1 defeat at Stoke, and out of the Carling Cup after a 2-0 loss to Championship side Cardiff.
Elsewhere in the Premiership, leaders Manchester City went to Anfield and received a pummelling from Liverpool but somehow managed to come away with a draw. Surprise package Newcastle United did the same at Old Trafford. Chelsea were comfortable winners against Wolves and Arsenal drew with Fulham due to some quality keeping from Aussie Mark Schwarzer.
Tottenham Hotspur moved clear in third place with yet another win - the ninth in their last ten Premiership games - courtesy of two more goals from rejuvenated striker Emmanuel Adebayor. Harry Redknap's side now sits just two points behind Manchester United, with a game in hand.
I end with the tragedy of the death of Premiership legend Gary Speed. No obituary is required as there have been more articles written about Speed's death than anyone could ever read. There is nothing new that I can add, but I'll say my bit anyway. Speed was a universally popular player, and a highly promising coach who appeared to have an extremely bright future in the game - his apparent suicide has been attributed to depression, a condition he guarded so well that not even his agent and best friend new about it.
We may never discover the personal demons that drove Gary to take his own life, but we hope that he will now rest in peace.
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