Goal frenzy in record-equalling weekend
Aaron Lennon’s game winning goal against Liverpool on Sunday evening equalled the record for most goals in a Premier League weekend, as twenty goalkeepers picked the ball out of their net a massive forty-one times. This basket of goals was contributed to mostly by Dimitar Berbatov, who put five past Blackburn in a 7-1 win for Manchester United. It was also the first time that each of the twenty clubs managed to find the net since the inception of a twenty-team league. It was looking like Manchester City and Stoke would be the sides to let the record down, but Matty Etherington saved the day with a ninetieth minute equaliser after Micah Richards had put City in front nine minutes earlier. There were two five-goal games (Wolves 3-2 Sunderland and Everton 1-4 West Brom), while Arsenal’s 4-2 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday lunchtime was the only six-goal game.
Near-Déja Vu for Arsenal
Arsenal were close to suffering a second second-half comeback in the space of seven days when, after going up by two goals in the first half, the opposition managed a way back into the game. However it wasn’t to be for Aston Villa, as Arsene Wenger’s side showed more ruthlessness in front of goal and were quick to respond after Ciaran Clark notched back a goal just after the break. The week previously (which incidentally, was also an early morning kick-off), Spurs came back and beat Arsenal 3-2. Immediately after Clark’s goal, his first for Villa, Marouane Chamakh was put through by Tomas Rosicky and restored the two goal lead. Clark, who recently pledged his allegiance to the Republic of Ireland, added a second however it wasn’t enough. Jack Wilshere finished off the scoring with a fourth in stoppage time, nodding in his first for the club from a glorious Chamakh cross.
Another Talking Point regarding this game, it was another special performance from Samir Nasri. The Frenchman has been inspired this season, and deservedly got his name on the scoresheet once more with a tremendous controlled strike direct from a corner. He wasn’t the only special Frenchman on the pitch, as Robert Pires started for Villa for the first time since signing. The general consensus was that Nasri is the complete package to be regarded as Pires’ successor since his departure from the club in 2006.
Irish inspiration helps Wolves to a much needed win
There were two Irishmen on the scoresheet as Wolves picked up a much needed three points at home to Sunderland on Saturday. Wolves started the day with nine points, in nineteenth position, just above the bottom on goal difference. As West Ham cruised to a 3-1 win over Wigan Athletic, a win for Mick McCarthy’s men was a must and with the help of captain-for-the-day Kevin Foley, managed to do so. The defender has been somewhat out of favour in the Irish setup, but continues to impress at club level and with the armband in the absence of Karl Henry inspired Wolves to victory. Foley opened the scoring just after half time, before a double from Darren Bent and Danny Welbeck put the Black Cats into the lead.
McCarthy turned to new signing Stephen Hunt, and it was his first goal for the club since joining from Hull City that equalised with nine minutes remaining. Fellow Irishman Kevin Doyle was heroic as usual leading the line, and the big striker setup Sylvan Ebanks-Blake with a sublime cross who buried in the winner in stoppage time.
There were four Irishmen on the field in Wolves jerseys, and three had an involvement in the goals which earned Wolves a vital win on Saturday.
Bolton, all the way from Barcelona?
Ok, so Owen Coyle’s men could only muster a 2-2 draw at home to Blackpool, but Bolton – who lie sixth in the table after fifteen games – are looking more like Guardiola’s Barcelona rather than Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn by the week. Quick, confident passing, tricks and skills, goals and chances galore, Coyle’s Trotter’s have become one of the neutral’s favourites this season as they continue to find the net, and impressively at that. What a way for Mark Davies to score his first goal for Bolton, with some mesmerising build up play.
It remains to be seen if this stunning form can continue (and Bolton may risk losing Johan Elmander this January), but I certainly feel ashamed to have put Wanderers in my bottom three during the summer.
“We literally gave Chelsea the trophy a few weeks ago.”
‘Literally’, the now infamous grammatically incorrect term used by Jamie Redknapp, appeared on Sunday as Chelsea once again lost points – this time at the hands of Newcastle. The Sky pundit was of course speaking about Chelsea’s fine early season form and the fact they were being talked up as league champions already – despite the fact Manchester United remain unbeaten, and that Arsenal and Manchester City are also within a few points of the Blues.
Chelsea have only won one of their last five games, a 1-0 victory over Fulham, and have suffered big losses at the hands of Liverpool and Sunderland. The absence of Frank Lampard has been colossal in the midfield for Chelsea as Ramires fails to produce any sort of quality performance. Chelsea are also hindered by injuries at the back, Jose Boswinga has been in and out since his return, John Terry has been out for a number of games and will miss the next few weeks, while Alex has also had problems.
Imagine all the people… who predicted a win for Tottenham
A last minute winner for Aaron Lennon, a loss for Liverpool, another win for Spurs and the opportunity for jokers to make some John Lennon-related puns. Including me.
Liverpool were actually quite good in the first half, and deservedly went into the half 1-0 up from a Martin Skrtel goal. Rafael van der Vaart was an early casualty for Spurs, and Harry could’ve done with the Dutchman when Spurs were awarded a penalty. David Ngog, somewhat ridiculously but Cesc Fabregas will share his pain, handled the ball while standing in the wall of a free kick. Jermain Defoe, despite an utterly pathetic record from the penalty spot, stood up and duly drove it wide.
However, Luka Modric was on form and a telling cross put Skrtel into difficult and he turned the ball into his own net. At that stage, Liverpool should’ve been a couple of goals to the good had Maxi Rodriguez not fluffed a glorious opportunity after a stupendous piece of skill from Fernando Torres. Meanwhile, Torres also missed two very good chances after being put through behind the defence – Sebastian Bassong tackling him on both occasions.
The main talking point from this game could quite possibly be the signing of Paul Konchesky by Roy Hodgson. The former Fulham full back was a liability throughout, and has been since joining the club. His poor positioning let Lennon in with ease and he finished coolly to give Spurs all three points.
Er, it’s fair to say Lennon won’t be top of any charts in Liverpool this week.