There were so many highlights from this past weekend’s Premier League matches that it was hard to narrow it down to seven. There was Tim Howard’s wonderful kick save against Manchester United, Asamoah Gyan’s beautiful debut goal for Sunderland, Scott Parker’s cheeky goal for West Ham United, and the list goes on and on.
So, without further delay, here are the top seven things we loved about the Premier League this past weekend:
- Tony Pulis’s courageous decision. In what must have been an incredibly emotional day for Stoke City manager Tony Pulis, who earlier in the day experienced the death of his mother, no one would have expected the Welshman to be anywhere near Britannia Stadium. Stoke’s assistant manager Dave Kemp took charge of the team for the Monday night game against Aston Villa. But incredibly, with Stoke losing 1-0 at the half, Pulis emerged on to the field for the beginning of the second half and brought an incredible boost in energy to both his team and his players. The end result? Stoke City won 2-1.
- Pepe ‘Gordon Banks’ Reina. It wasn’t too far fetched for commentator Peter Drury to draw comparisons Sunday between Reina’s saves for Liverpool to Gordon Banks’s famous save against Brazil in the 1970 World Cup. Some of the most difficult saves to make are the ones where the goalkeeper has to quickly jump down. And Reina didn’t do it once, but he did it twice against Birmingham City. It’ll be difficult to see better saves this entire season.
- Arsenal’s 24 passes. It’s not a rarity to see a team pass the ball around a lot as they storm towards goal, but often what happens is that either the final pass or shot fails miserably. That wasn’t the case at the Emirates this Saturday where Arsenal delivered the finished article courtesy of 24 passes and a wonderful finish by Carlos Vela. Simply beautiful.
- Dimitar Berbatov and Mikel Arteta accomplish the same feat. In Saturday’s thrilling 3-3 draw at Goodison Park, both Berbatov and Arteta accomplished the same move on separate occasions: Knocking the ball in front of them with their first touch which put them into the perfect position to score. Both moves were almost identical. Berbatov was able to knock the ball into the net past Tim Howard, while Arteta’s shot was blocked, ricocheted to Osman who passed to Pienaar who scored for the Toffees.
- Stewart Downing’s diving header. It’s not very often that you get to see a diving header of the class that Downing delivered for Aston Villa against Stoke City Monday night. The precision on the header was incredible. It’s so much harder to hit it perfectly with your head.
- Paolo Di Canio blowing bubbles. The sight of West Ham legend Di Canio singing “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” before the start of the Hammers match against Chelsea was brilliant. It’s rare for players, especially foreigners, to have so much affinity for their club. Hats off to the Italian legend for showing his true colors.
- Flash of brilliance from Chelsea’s Gael Kakuta. It was only his second league appearance for Chelsea, but the skillful French attacker thread through an inch-perfect pass to Didier Drogba. Unfortunately for Chelsea and Kakuta, Drogba was unable to score. But the pass was simply exquisite.