1. Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea – Despite (sort of, like, just) winning their last three fixtures, Liverpool entered this clash at the longest odds they’ve ever been to win a home game in the Premier League era. Unfortunately for the bookies, Fernando Torres – who was also probably the longest odds he’s ever been to score during his Premier League era – suddenly remembered that he was still Fernando Torres, despite the masculine hair, and that Fernando Torres was once actually pretty good, before he went to the World Cup and tried to help boost Wayne Rooney’s reputation. Chelsea missed the man flued Drogba in the first half and looked the better side with him on in the second. But they still couldn’t beat Reina, leaving John Whenry and his clearly fascinated wife to enjoy their first taste proper of the Anfield experience.
2. Arsenal 0-1 Newcastle – After having to spend mid-week listening to everyone and their cat wax lyrical about how brilliant Tottenham are, Arsenal fans had to suffer the further ignominy of losing at home to a manager with a 20-year Spurs connection. Chris Hughton is now firmly a Toon – as evidenced by his admirably dedicated black and white striped hair – and his greatest achievement here was that this wasn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, a smash and grab win. Arsenal of course had the best of it, as they’re wanton to do against any and all comers to the Emirates, and Łukasz Fabiański was culpable for trying to camply swat the ball away from the large hairy bullet train head of Andy Carroll, but the Magpies held their own and went for it. If Mike Ashley isn’t a masochist for the good old days of being hated he’ll give Hughton the contract he so clearly deserves, and make him the 435rd Messiah at St James Park since the invention of the iPod.
3. West Brom 0-2 Man City – With the Italian National coach Cesare Prandelli in disguise as the Scarlet Pimpernel watching two Italian managers battle it out on a cold night at the Hawthorns, it was fitting that the game was decided by the Italian youngster the Special One decided was both a special talent and special needs. Mario Bat-shi*teli gave us our first real taste of the Jekyll and Hyde character he can be by scoring twice in six minutes, diving to try and win two penalties, refusing to smile at anything before getting himself sent off for petulantly kicking a player who was himself sent off a few minutes later. And another new star of the Premier League is born.
4. Man Utd 2-1 Wolves – 24 years to the day that Sir Alex Ferguson took charge of Manchester United, and 28 years to the day that Owen Hargreaves was last truly fully fit, the aging red nosed maestro pulled a surprise out of his magic hat by naming the curly haired Germanandian Englishman in his starting line up for the first time since 2008. And after watching his manager pull that surprise, Hargo pulled one of his own, in his hamstring, and trudged off the field swearing like a sailor after only 5 minutes. As United’s remaining first team players struggled admirably to remember who their team mates were, Wolves gave them a good run for their money until Park Ji Sung – In apparent fancy dress as Rufio from the 1991 Steven Spielberg film Hook – grabbed that most United of footballing things, the last minute winner to leave Mi’ Muc’Harthy in his usual post match role as Unlucky Alf from the Fast Show. Bugger.
5. Bolton 4-2 Spurs – At the spiritual home of ‘being brought back down to earth’ Tottenham suffered the dreaded European hangover as Gareth Bale failed to live up to his newfound status as the greatest player to ever grace the world ever ever, slightly embarrassing overenthusiastic twitterers (and the occasional respected journalist) the world over. Managing to live up to their newfound expectations however were Owen Coyle’s Bolton, who’s recent ability to actually play some slight variation on attractive football has left Big Sam’s assertion that he’s just as good a coach as Arsene Wenger for what he did there a little wide of his already considerably wide mark. Kevin Davies continued his assault on the England squad with two goals and a Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez back headed assist, whilst the player who was actually marking The Balenator, Grétar Steinsson, grabbed one himself, officially making him the greatest right back in the World ever under boxing rules.
Other things I noticed – Match of the Day’s insistence on trailing not just future programs, but future segments of their current program after every single game. Manchester City’s logo’d undershirt, which is much nicer than their actual shirt. Asamoah Gyan’s celebratory tribute to the dangers of stepping on a firework during Guy Fawkes night, and David Sullivan’s evil genius decision to take his Mini-Me along to the Birmingham game in lieu of David Gold’s banning. Awwww