As much as I do enjoy the off the field entertainment associated with football in England, early Saturday kickoffs are always a welcome relief to the insanity of contract negotiations, rumors and managerial master classes. While topics concerning the week that was have been written on at length, it’s now time to get back down to the exploits on the pitch in what ended a weekend of Premier League football with plenty of talking points.
It was a decent enough couple of days in the Premier League that saw Manchester United finally win their first away game of the season, witnessed Chelsea continue their dominance and experienced West Brom jump into fourth spot, if only for a day or so. Manchester City failed their big test against Arsenal, although the neutrals hated to see Dedryck Boyata sent off so early in the encounter that promised to delight had XI men stayed on for both sides.
Spurs and Everton drew in a match that screamed one side was coming off a European hangover and the other was still searching for their best form while Liverpool got back on track with a win at home against Blackburn but remain in the relegation zone, if only on goal differential. West Ham remains worst but set out to attack while Blackpool were blanked away to Birmingham City.
Honorable Mentions –
Joey Barton, Newcastle – Newcastle won an important away game on Saturday v West Ham and Joey Barton played the role of provider for both of Newcastle’s goals. While it was far from a dominating performance by the Toon, they’ll take the points away from home any day of the week. Barton started the game on the right side of midfield giving way to Kevin Nolan and Cheick Tiote and his usual central midfield role. It was Barton’s cross in the 23rd that found Andy Carroll who won the header to set up Kevin Nolan for the equalizer and again Barton’s service in the 69th which found Andy Carroll for the winner when the striker headed home decisively.
One thing we’re learning about Joey Barton being back in the Premier League this year is that when he’s removed his head from his nether regions, he’s a decent enough footballer. It’ll be Barton’s leadership, experience and the occasional goal that will help Newcastle stay up this season, consolidate and push on in the coming years. Newcastle proved a few years ago that no team is too big to go down. While they currently boast a good enough squad through Nolan, Carroll, Jonas Gutierrez, Fabricio Coloccini and Barton himself to stay up this season, here’s hoping football fans don’t have to experience another Geordie meltdown in the near future.