Got your breath back yet? It was a Saturday where an abacus was a necessity for keeping track of the 41 goals scored and good defending appeared to be more out of fashion than luminous shell suits – Manchester City apart.
Where better to begin this Premier League round up than at Molineux, where we were treated to surely the most unlikely result of the season so far. Anyone who has been following the English Premier League this year will know that Wolves manage to dig deepest when they face opposition from the higher echelons of the league, but fold like damp toilet paper when they play teams around them. With this in mind perhaps a little optimism from Wolves fans was justified. But when Nani gave unbeaten Manchester United the lead after only three minutes, even the steeliest of Wanderers fans inside Molineux would have put on their Wellington boots in fear of the floodgates opening. But the game ensued in a way that was uncharacteristic of both teams, Manchester United let their concentration slip, and Wolves defended well. Big George Elokobi, a man who wouldn’t look out of place in the front row of a scrum, scored his second goal against Manchester United this season, and will have his third once he’s arm-wrestled Kevin Doyle for ownership of the winner. It seems harsh that Wolves’ shock win made no difference to standings at either end, but at least Mick McCarthy’s men are within touching distance of those around them.
Wolves would have proudly opened proceedings on Match of the Day on Saturday night if Arsene Wenger hadn’t overseen another organised demolition within his back-four. After Abu Diaby’s sending off, Arsenal’s lead suddenly had a ravenous, wild dog on the other end and after Newcastle had pegged one back it seemed inevitable that Arsenal would relinquish their hold on the game. I do have a certain amount of sympathy for the Gunners however. The Toon’s second penalty seemed to be given for, well…I still have no idea. To call the decision ‘weak’ would be like saying that Chad Ochocinco is ‘a subtle advertiser of his own opinion and ability’. Justice would have perhaps been done if Joey Barton had missed it, but for entertainment’s sake I’m glad that he didn’t. Even though it only won a point, I think that it’s fair to call Cheick Tiote’s strike ‘Newcastle’s winner’, for I doubt that an equalizer at St James’ Park has ever been met with such a riotous response.
From St James’ Park to the Britannia Stadium – the place where you’d rather concede a corner than a throw-in – and the stadium where Craig Gordon never wants to go again…ever. You know that you’ve played badly when your manager has a little dig at you after the game and Steve Bruce wasn’t shy about pointing the finger at his goalkeeper in his post-match interview. I don’t think that anyone in the country would have put any money on Robert Huth netting a brace and while they were as far from thirty-yard screamers as you can get, they all count – especially when it wins you three points.
Niko Kranjcar spared Tottenham’s blushes against Bolton, but Harry Redknapp still wasn’t happy. His gripe related to Rafael Van Der Vaart’s retaken penalty early in the first half, a retake which he missed. Okay Harry you’re right, it isn’t a rule which is called very often but it is a rule and frankly it isn’t one which is difficult to adhere to. Before the ball is struck players aren’t allowed in the box. Sounds simple? It is simple! Perhaps Redknapp should be a little more concerned about his players who have managed to miss five penalties already this season.
Anomalies just kept coming, Louis Saha scored four goals, Wigan scored four goals, in fact the only place where things went to plan was at Eastlands. Carlos Tevez scoring goals isn’t big news, even if it was a hat-trick, and the game was finished before the half. In a desperate attempt to be a part of the weekend madness, West Brom decided to sack Roberto Di Matteo. Well done guys! That will solve all of your problems. Rightttt.
After such an entertaining Saturday, what could we expect on Sunday? Well, I hope that you weren’t expecting much, because all of a sudden things got rather drab (Oh well, at least we have the Superbowl to look forward to). On paper, a relegation six pointer and Fernando Torres’ debut against Liverpool should have carried on the in same vein as the previous day. But as it turned out both were quite nervy affairs, especially the clash at Upton Park. Those who were looking forward to seeing a striking master-class from Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez were also disappointed. Suarez didn’t see the pitch and Torres was taken off after 66 minutes. The tie was decided by Raul Meireles’ goal, his fourth in five games and a driving force behind Liverpool’s recent resurgence.
The Premier League Sat Nav is taking us down a scenic route laden with twists and turns and despite travelling since August. We still feel miles away from knowing where the Premier League title’s final destination will be. We’re all passengers and we’re not in a rush, so let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride.
‘Are we nearly there yet?’
‘Only three month to go’