Blackburn 0-0 Man Utd – Watched over by the ominous studio Sky trio of Gary McAllister, Andy Gray and Henning Berg, doing an eerily accurate impression of three eggs sitting on a wall, Manchester United somehow conspired to go from having the whole world in their hands to not even being in control of second within the space of 8 days. After losing Rooney – again – in midweek, Sir Alex Ferguson once more found himself in a tricky striking situation, with no one of any threat to bring on as the away side chased that crucial late winner. With Dimitar Berbatov finding it much more fun and far less stressful to operate as a midfielder, and wunderkind Kiko Macheda removed after the hour, United went into the closing stages of this must win game in a sort of 2-8-0 formation, with Gary Neville playing as a rubbish winger and Nani trying in vain to dribble round everyone on the pitch in lieu of having anyone to actually pass to. On the plus side, the Portuguese has now stopped falling on the floor holding his face whenever anyone makes any contact with him at all and has now starting to hold off challenges with gusto. He does still occasionally play the Rivaldo card though, but now only when someone actually does lightly brush his face. Improvement all round then, even at diving.
Manchester City 5-1 Birmingham – Legendary City stopper Bert Trautmann made an appearance before the game to collect a framed shirt for some reason or other, as City fittingly marked whatever occasion it was they’d got him there for with another thumping win. As their neighbours across the road and colour spectrum struggled to find anyone who could grab them a goal, the man who’d been vitriolically “Welcomed” across the divide showed them a little of what they were missing. The bubbling burned boglin is finding it so easy to score they’re just deflecting off him now. Nedum Onuoha finally got a goal for himself after his teammate’s laces had denied him the opener, and after Birmingham completely forgot how to defend long balls over the top, Adebayor had a field day. Tevez and Messi might look like a terrifying prospect at the World Cup, but I’ll bet they’re rubbish at corners.
Hull 1-4 Burnley – In a crucial relegation scrap that saw both teams led out by different men than when they last met, Burnley romped to victory thanks to Harry Potter and the toe punt of death. After Kevin Kilbane had ambled innocently into the Burnley penalty area to nod Hull in front, it looked like it was going to be another display of comedy capitulation from the Clarets. However once Martin Paterson – looking like an escaped convict in a bad Nicolas Cage movie crossed with Freddie Kruger’s son – had leveled, the Tigers were the ones who fell apart. In what looked like a cut out character from a pre-war football comic strip, a player with no number and a massive Terry Butcher head bandage – who turned out to be called Michael Duff – somehow managed to win a penalty in a very silly goal mouth scramble that no one seemed to have any clue what had happened in. Graham Alexander – himself looking a bit like a cross between Aragon and Gollum – converted the spot kick in a breathtakingly sexy and devastating fashion which, to the untrained observer, may have just looked like a Sunday League toe punt. After David Nugent had won another pen, Aragollum repeated the trick expertly with just as devastating results. There was even time for Wade Elliot to curl in a sumptuous free kick before Duff removed his head nappy to reveal the Harry Potter scar he’d gotten after being head butted by his own player. Hopefully for Burnley, he’ll still have enough magic left to see them to safety…Thank you, thank you, try the fish.
West Ham 1-0 Sunderland – The ‘Ammers finally had something go their way as history repeated itself and their South American striker ensured their second result in a week to leapfrog Wigan and go four points clear of the drop zone, making Ilan the new Tevez at the Boleyn. The Brazilian struck early in the second half leaving West Ham to nervously defend their lead for the remaining 39 minutes amidst much nail biting and tentative bubble blowing. They rode a few scares, not least Darren Bent tripping over an invisible mole hill/his own feet when clean through on Green, but in the end they held out, even almost getting a second through the Wire’s Dominic West who, playing the role of a Mexican striker called Franco, struck deep into injury time but handled in the build up. West, unfortunately, didn’t notice the flag, which led to the always hilarious site of a player celebrating wildly a goal he hasn’t scored. John Motson described Bent as “Predatory” on MOTD, a word that now has such sinister ulterior connotations that I’m kind of hoping it’ll fall into disuse over the coming years, along with “dispossessed” and “Phil Brown”.
Liverpool 0-0 Fulham – As the last bastions of English pride in Europe met at Anfield, the Bore-o-Meter came perilously close to hitting “David Pleat” – which is the highest setting on my imaginary Bore-o-Meter, and not a violent threat I issue whenever I find a game less than interesting. In truth it wasn’t quite that dull a game – probably around the Glen Hoddle mark – and one that Liverpool really should’ve won, but didn’t, almost purely down to the fact that Fernando Torres wasn’t playing.
Wolves 0-0 Stoke – If you were an incredibly cynical and patronizing person, and wanted to sum up visually the reasons why you wouldn’t ever want to watch a game between Wolves and Stoke, you’d probably use this game as an example. And so would I.
You can follow Oscar on Twitter here; http://twitter.com/oscarpyejeary where you can debate with him the pressing question of who’d win in a fight between a spoon and a gun.