Hangovers and Hoof overs – 10 Things I noticed from the PL this weekend

Spurs 0-1 WiganThe phrase “European Hangover” will no doubt be used ubiquitously to describe this shambolically comical performance from Spurs but I’d prefer the simpler, shorter and more accurate excuse of “Tottenham”. Besides, a European hangover can only really apply to losing to Blackburn away after a grueling 3-3 in Turkey on the Wednesday night, not a home loss after a comfortable home win against some Swiss novices. Their previous week’s excursions in the land of cheesy knives – where they spent so long chasing Young Boys around you could’ve renamed Ledley Jonathan King – may have counted, but they won after that, so this must surely be put down to a less exotic reason. Unless of course they all went out and got hammered on the Thursday, in which case it could very well have been a European hangover, literally – in the non-Jamie Redknappian sense.

Whatever the excuse (and I’d like to throw in “Autonomy” as another possible one. Self-government is never a good idea for footballers, and neither is needlessly changing your shirt sponsors every other week. Many of these poor fools are superstitious you know?) the Lilywhites capitulated in grand style here as everything went so well for Wigan Roberto Martinez even seemed to have grown more hair.

Cudicini was at fault for Rodallega’s winner, but Wigan had deserved it, creating three chances in about two minutes (which included Alcaraz almost knocking himself out on the post) as John Motson in the MoTD gantry went all supersonic in squeaky excitement.

Blackburn 1-2 ArsenalIn the early kick off – and England boss Fabio Capello’s first stop of the day – Theo Walcott did his level best to re-ignite his England career as Blackburn attempted to Allardyce Arsenal into submission at Ewood Park.

After little Theo had broken the net to give the Gunners the lead, the Dioufs combined to draw Blackburn level as the rest of their side happily pretended a Midfield was a silly thing that only other teams used. After little Diouf had gotten into a rather bizarre head twitching competition with Manuel Almunia (which rather weirdly looked like two cats nuzzling each other angrily) Arsenal grabbed the spoils courtesy of Andrey Arshavin, before Jack Wilshire continued to fail to score for Arsenal despite being teed up on a plate in almost every game thus far. Something that was presumably still rankling with him at 2 o clock in the morning on Kensington High Street.

Blackpool 2-2 FulhamAs the Capellocopter landed in Blackpool for his second – if rather bafflingly chosen – game of the day, Brett Ormerod was denied the enviable feat of scoring in every division in the Football League by virtue of being a yard offside. Bobby Zamora, the most likely the object of Capello’s affections, nodded the Cottagers ahead before John Pantsil displayed all the cunning and killer instinct of a jungle cat to sweep the ball into his own net from close range.

From then on the tango men played some excellent football and took the lead courtesy of a lovely goal from debutant loanee Luke Varney that if your colour was off, you could have been forgiven for thinking had been scored by Arsenal. Dixon Etuhu spoiled the party though and Matty Ginks prevented any more spoilage as Clint Dempsey found out that not all English keepers are as generous as Rob Green from distance.

Man Utd 3-0 West HamThe Capellocopter made it up to Old Trafford just in time to see Wayne Rooney end his longest ever goal drought, but still fail to truly stamp his mark on a game this season. A 33rd Minute penalty may have been enough to statistically mark the end of his barren spell, but as we all know, penalties don’t really count in this kind of thing, like shooting a lame fox doesn’t really count as hunting one. He needs a good old fashion ripsnorting thunderbolt to break him out of his funk, even if he did convert his spot kick like a man not shorn of confidence.

Another man not shorn of confidence was Nani, who continued to display his dual personalities as devastatingly effective heir apparent to Ronaldo and hair pullingly frustrating luxury player. He was more former than latter on Saturday – scoring a brilliant second, hitting the bar and providing the cross for Dimitar Berbatov to shizbang in an acrobatic third – but his crossing in the first half was about as consistent as a broken sprinkler.

Still running the show without having to do any running at all however, was Paul Scholes, who was popping them about like nobodies business without it even once occurring to anyone in claret and white that they should probably be closing him down a bit. Keiron Dyer came close to completing his first full 90 minutes in over three years – but didn’t – and Dimitar Berbatov removed his shirt to reveal…absolutely nothing, baffling everyone watching until it was revealed he’d just written something in biro and it was simply just impossible to see. For those interested, it actually said: “For you, dad”.

Chelsea 2-0 StokeThe only team with a 100% record after two games became the only team with a 100% record after 3 games despite rather pathetically failing to get anywhere near six goals. After being awarded what looked like a game killing penalty within 10 minutes, Fwank “footbler” Lampard surprisingly saw his low effort saved by Tommy Sorensen, and Chelsea had to actually work for the points this time, sort of. After Malouda had joined the illustrious list of players and clients of Max Clifford to have latched onto one of John Terry balls to give Chelsea the lead, it took another penalty – this time from Drogba – to seal the formality for Chelsea, but rather disappointingly for Tzar Abramovich and the Prawn Sandwich Oligarchs, bringing down their goal average to a mere 4.6 a game. Pah!

Wolves 1-1 NewcastleNewcastle fought back to a draw at Wolves on national kick Joey Barton day at Molineux, with Karl Henry clearly instructed to mark Barton in the style of Tonya Harding. Wolves were denied by man of the moment and certain future Geordie messiah No 247, Andy Carroll but certainly had their fun kicking the bejesus out of everyone’s favorite scouser. Ebanks-Blake hit the post early on before giving the home side the lead with a nice control/volley combo from a lofted ball by my new favorite player of all time, Jelle Van Damme (First Alanzinho, now Jelle Van Damme! It’s almost like they doing this just for me!) After Barton had been whacked a few more times by Guedioura and the ever attentive Henry, he picked himself up to flight in a free kick for Carroll to get his L’Oreal locks on it simply because he’s worth it. Wolves should’ve had a stonewall penalty, but all that made me think was what a stone wall has to do with anything?

Bolton 2-2 BirminghamWith all the Alanzinhos and Jelle Van Dammes of this world, it’s a comforting reassurance that people called Roger Johnson can still make it at the top level of professional football. And such it was that good old RJ scored his first goal for the Blues inside 4 minutes of this intriguing clash at St Andrews. And Rog was in the thick of it again minutes later as Bolton stalwart Juicy Jääskeläinen got himself sent off for slapping our erstwhile hero, who then got himself booked, seemingly for the heinous offence of being slapped. It looked all doom and gloom for the Trotters when Craig Gardner made it two after trying really hard to miss an open goal from two yards out but somehow, against all the odds, Bolton managed to Bolton their way back into it. Despite all the talk of Owen Coyle getting them playing a passing game, it fell to long ball football and backing into people to get them out of a sticky situation.

Kevin Davies won and converted a penalty before Robbie Blake leveled from a brilliant free kick. Cameron Jerome had a chance to win it at the death but couldn’t beat Bogdan, who sounds like a villain in a bad Van Damme film. A really bad Van Damme film. Possibly a Jelle Van Damme film.

Villa 1-0 EvertonDespite everything and everyone apparently being in hair pulling turmoil down at Villa Park since messes O’Neil and Milner jumped ship, Kevin MacDonald has somehow managed to grab six points from their opening three games, two more than Manchester City, and Newcastle and Europe aside, doesn’t actually seem to be doing that badly. The two Youngs combined here to give Villa the spoils as Mark Albright missed an open goal but gave a Duracell bunny performance to thwart Everton, who continue to be perennially slow starters despite actually playing better this season than they usually do at this stage of the season. In fact if the season started in about November every year, Everton would probably be a mainstay of the top 4. Maybe they should start their pre season in late March, just to make sure they hit their stride at the right time.

Liverpool 1-0 WBAWhilst Wayne Rooney struggles to get over his poor World Cup, Fernando Torres showed he was well and truly over his (rather different type of poor one it must be said) by scoring the kind of goal Rooney himself needs to score to get his mojo back. A sweetly taken volley from the edge of the box didn’t distract me however from my ongoing quest to decipher whether his hair is actually that colour black now he’s stopped Bruno-ing it, or whether he’s died it darker than natural to over compensate. I can’t fathom it. I also can’t fathom why Liverpool’s kit looks so much like a throwback from the 1980s despite being the same template as most of the other adidas shirts. I think it’s the Standard Chartered. But I’m not sure why?

Sunderland 1-0 City It was clearly Yakubus all round at the City of Light as Carlos Tevez joined the swelling ranks of others this weekend to miss ‘easier to score chances’ in front of an open net. Set up by the ever-rampaging Yaya Toure as 43 other expensive galacticos sat miserably on the bench looking thoroughly but fittingly miserable, the Argentine somehow conspired to loop the ball over unchallenged from 6 yards. And worse still, it came back to haunt him as a last minute hug from Micah Richards on Darren Bent gave the home side a penalty which Bent promptly converted, awfully, by sliding it tamely underneath the diving Joe Hart in coincidentally the only place he couldn’t stretch an extremity to. In fact come to think of it, it may just have been brilliant.

Other Things I Noticed: I don’t care to watch Joe public sing the Match of The Day theme song into their phones on actual television. If I wanted to see talentless idiots showcase themselves out of sheer desperation to be on telly I’d watch iTV. Stop it MoTD. Please.

You can follow Oscar here; http://twitter.com/oscarpyejeary where you can join him in his quest to uncover why no one stopped Dick Van Dyke interfering in literally hundreds of murder investigations despite being merely an elderly hospital employee with a ridiculously chiseled son.

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