Saturday in the Premier League was eclipsed by the top three clubs in the table while Sunday witnessed two massive local derbies play out to incredibly different results. Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United survived their respective matches to gain three points without dominating inferior opponents while Sunday’s rivalries produced a 0-0 and an emphatic 5-1 demolition.
The work in progress that is Manchester City again took one step forward and two steps back as a deserved Wolves side beat the Citizens in front of a brilliant crowd at Molineux. City took a well deserved early lead when a Jerome Boateng through ball put David Silva in on goal and Silva was subsequently felled by Richard Stearman and a penalty was awarded.
City looked the part of title challengers until just after Emmanuel Adebayor slotted home the penalty. After the lead, Manchester City all but sat back and invited Wolves to attack. Wolves obliged emphatically while £100m of attacking and footballing talent fell prey to the league’s 19th best team. City fans must soon start questioning the tactics and first team selection of boss Roberto Mancini as City’s loss on Saturday marks their second in a row, both with winger Adam Johnson far from the starting XI.
Honorable Mentions –
Matt Jarvis, Wolves – Jarvis started the match at home against City on the left flank and produced a number of good crosses into the box throughout his side’s 2-1 win. The 24 year old midfielder who gives fits to all in his path has been in fine form for Wolves this season yet the club still languish in 19th. Saturday’s home win could be just what Wolves need to jump start their season while Jarvis’ recent performances could be enough to warrant England consideration from Fabio Capello.
Mick McCarthy will want more of the same from his star man as Wolves hope to avoid any late season flirtation with relegation in their second season back in the top flight.
Matt Jarvis is the kind of player who thrives when he’s able to get at defenders one on one and provide service to a waiting striker in the box. He’s not as pacey as Gareth Bale or Nani, but he’s easily as efficient and hard working as any winger in the Premier League. Jarvis, along with opposite side winger Stephen Hunt, were the difference makers as they succeeded in stretching the City defense which enabled them to create two scrappy goals for the win.
Robert Green, West Ham – Rarely do I mention or award a player whose team lost over the weekend but Robert Green’s exploits for West Ham at the Emirates on Saturday deserves at least a nod. Green was sensational on the day between the posts for the Hammers who lost 1-0 and remain bottom, but it was the kind of inspirational performance Hammers fans would have wanted to see as their beloved continue to struggle.
Save after save was witnessed until Alex Song scored his third goal in three games late on for Arsenal to snatch all three points at home when West Ham were deserved of at least a point. Green has had a difficult run of form since his blunder for England at the World Cup this past summer but remains a quality shot stopper when tested.
Clint Dempsey, Fulham – The US international scored a brace for Fulham on Saturday against Wigan to lead the Cottagers to a much needed three points. After just a half hour, Dempsey jumped to meet a Carlos Salcido cross into the box to head home his first of the match. Dempsey’s opener was an impressive display of his attacking and heading abilities as he simply rose above the Wigan defenders to meet the ball first.
Dempsey’s second was twice as impressive when just before the half he was able to turn scraps into gold when he met a Chris Baird ball with a swinging right foot and volleyed his shot past Ali Al Habsi in the Wigan goal.
For Fulham, the points were secured before the half which allowed the London club to climb to 9th in the table.
Premier League Footballer of the Week –
Kevin Nolan, Newcastle – Newcastle’s Captain scored a hat-trick in Sunday’s Tyne-Wear Derby while Toon fans pinched themselves and asked the question, ‘does it get any better than this?’. When former Newcastle player Titus Bramble saw red and the goals continued to flood in, most Geordies started to answer that question with an unequivocal ‘No’.
The derby really was a tale of one side’s competence in front of goal and the other side’s incompetence at everything else. Newcastle opened the scoring through Nolan when the midfielder found the ball approaching him deep in Sunderland’s box. Without the time for a touch to settle, Nolan flicked the ball over his head while falling to the ground to beat Simon Mignolet for his first but not his last goal of the day.
Nolan’s second was the result of some shoddy defending by Sunderland, inept in all rights, but the Captain found himself in a forward position at the right place at the right time and showed enough poise to again beat Mignolet when the ball trickled into his path. Nolan’s third and final came off of a well taken set piece from Newcastle when Joey Barton’s corner found the other man of the moment, Shola Ameobi, who flicked on to Nolan to head home an unsaveable effort.
It was a day Newcastle won’t soon forget while most importantly the win places them 7th in the league table.