As the second weekend of Premier League football draws to a close the stories of the season start to take shape. Wigan are off to the worst start to a Premier League season ever with 2 home losses and 10 goals conceded without reply and Chelsea are off to one of the best, already 2 points clear of the competition but they don’t play relegation candidates every week. So how do we break down this weekend of Premier League football?
3. Andy Carroll: When Newcastle came into the season there were doubts over their striking situation. I was one of the doubters and whilst one game doesn’t make a season, Andy Carroll had a hell of a game. Aston Villa have been known to ship a lot of goals on occasion but usually to Chelsea, Carroll took his goals with aplomb his second in particular was well finished.
2. Brede Hangeland: Owner of one of the more awesome chants, Big Brede Hangeland had an excellent match, his unlucky own-goal aside, he didn’t put a foot wrong. Whilst not to detract from the good work done by his partner Aaron Hughes, Brede Hangeland stopped Berbatov and Chicarito influencing the game. United’s two goals came from situations where Hangeland was helpless. The goal he scored though showed a mental toughness that is required to be legitimately held as an elite Premier League player.
1. Theo Walcott: I thought about bucking the trend and picking someone else as Theo picked apart a ten-man promoted side. However, it cannot be denied that without Theo, Arsenal would not have won by six. Whether this is a watershed moment for the 21 year old (I don’t think so) or another false dawn only time will tell. In relation to his performance it was similar to Drogba just lacking the Power element but with three goals to his name there is no denying that Theo was the best player this weekend.
3. Chris Kirkland: Oh dear, if a Captain is supposed to inspire or set an example from his own performances Wigan’s players are in more dire trouble than they already are. Wigan actually started the match out positively but after a good save to deny Frank Lampard that was then tapped in Kirkland lost all confidence and was easily beaten for the other 5. Kirkland has now faced 14 shots on target and conceded 10. Apparently Wigan wouldn’t do much worse without him on the pitch at all.
2. John Carew: After his big penalty miss, Big John was anonymous as his team fell to Newcastle. Replaced as the game had gotten away from Aston Villa; when you’re taken off so that Emile Heskey is the lone front-man you’ve had a bad game.
1.Nani: A lot of teams got stuffed 6-0 this weekend, this leaves a lot of players in contention for this particular “award”. However getting thumped 6-0 is rarely a solo effort, ruining your teams chance to put a game to bed is though. Nani came on with 67 minutes on the clock with United trying to win the game, he flattered to deceive as usual and when United got their fortuitous second things were looking good, that is until the 86th minute. Nani took a silly staggered run-up which impacts your ability to get power in your shot, it was well saved in the end by Stockdale but Nani’s hubris turned out to be the telling moment in an exciting game. By cramming so much wastefulness into 23 minutes, Nani was the worst player of the weekend.
Best Goal of the Weekend: Is without a shadow of a doubt Gareth Bale’s stunner. As they say round my way ‘biff’.
Best Team of the Weekend: With 3 Six-Nils this should be a crowded area but with one the virtue of a red card, under the rules of the game it was and one by a team who conceded 8 to the team they were playing recently then only one team remains. Newcastle were exceptional, after the penalty miss they galvanized and destroyed Aston Villa with 3 goals from their centre forward and 3 from Midfield it was a team effort that if replicated means that Newcastle don’t have to worry about the Championship for a while.
Worst Team of the Weekend: : With 3 Six-Nils this should be a crowded area but with one the virtue of a red card, under the rules of the game it was and one by a team who conceded 8 to the team they were playing recently then only one team remains. Aston Villa were my team of the weekend last week and it has been some turnaround to come to this, Villa were shambolic after their penalty miss. Friedel was beaten from range too easily and the star of last weekend for Villa, Marc Albrighton, was anonymous and Ciaran Clarke was out of his depth as Andy Carroll ran riot against him. This was the first litmus test for Kevin McDonald as a Manager and he failed, that is not to say he shouldn’t manage Aston Villa but he has damaged his chances. A big week awaits as Villa attempt to qualify for the Europa League and face off against league adversaries Everton at Villa Park.
Best Moment of the Weekend: Was Carlos Vela’s nearly goal, such undeniable and unchecked skill was a joy to behold, I can fool myself that I can head like Carroll or Shoot like Scholes, I’ve done it once or twice, but I will never ever be able to play like that.
Worst Moment of the Weekend: Stoke’s non-goal. This is a farce, this is easily fixed and this is boring. Video replay’s now! None of this ‘goal-line technology’ nonsense, none of this ‘game the same at top as bottom’ nonsense. Teams at the bottom don’t have electronic substitution boards, ear-pieces or buttons on their flags, there are Type-A internationals were stands are not permitted. The game is global and different for all, at UEFA elite matches (that’s the top divisions I think) there should be Video replay available for all goal-line incidents. That would be ‘did it cross the line’ and ‘was he offside when he scored?’ If it is inconclusive the original decision on the field stands. If the ball doesn’t cross the line and play goes on it is used when the ball next goes dead. If the next dead ball is a goal, it’s chalked off as the original stood or allowed as the original didn’t stand. This is common sense and should be in place for the next batch of internationals.
Factoid of the Weekend: Wigan Vs Chelsea, did you watch it? Did you notice how bad the corners were? No? That’s because there were none, this was the first match without a corner in Premier League history.