Luis Suarez of Liverpool goes to ground after a challenge by Brad Guzan of Aston Villa leading to a penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield on January 18, 2014 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Three items of note coming out of this weekend in the Barclay's Premier League.
The leaders are pulling away from the peloton
If you don't speak Tour de France, that means the top clubs are widening the gap between themselves and the rest of the pack. Nine points (3 wins) separate first from sixth, but the distance is spreading between those teams and everyone else behind them. Furthermore, those top six have gotten into rhythm. Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton are now all earning points week in and week out without getting by those sudden, acid-laced hiccups that seemed like easily passable burps.
The referees need a sidekick to fight the league's villains
The call for players to stop the diving has become absurd. It's never going to happen. Unfortunately, it's a part of the game ingrained into the modern-day footballer at a very young age. It's now time to look at ways to help referees. The game is too fast and the players have perfected the art of deception beyond the eyes of mere mortal referees. While it's unrealistic, and honestly uncalled for to utilize instant replay on every foul, the league needs an official up in a booth reviewing all penalty decisions the moment the ref's hand points to the spot. Diving, or "Suarezing" as it may soon be known, is a powerful adversary to the integrity of the game that is moving beyond the best referees. They need help.
Manchester United will not win the title...no matter how much the media clings to hope
Despite being 14 points off the pace and looking every bit of their seventh-place standing, the media (both in the U.K. and U.S.) seem to cling to the hope of Manchester United winning the title like a stalking ex who won't take "we can still be friends" for an answer. Even if Robin Van Persie were to return and unite with Wayne Rooney to lead a second-half resurgance, the Red Devils are just not good enough this season leap the Grand Canyon separating them from the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and even Liverpool. To be honest, they look second best to Spurs and Everton as well. Most reasonable Manchester United supporters have given up the title chase. The media needs to do the same.