By Ross Crae
Football has to stop. Since a certain Mr Zlatan scored a sublime goal against England on Wednesday night, there is no longer any point to carrying on. There can be no more chicken dancing, somersaulting or making heart shaped hand signals after scoring. The goals will simply not be good enough. But before we end football, there’s the small matter of a weekend’s worth of Premier League Action. Maybe they can play Zlatan-style.
Arsenal and Spurs squared up in Saturday’s early kick-off at the Emirates and it was the visitors who drew first blood. Spurs had control in the opening minutes and Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring after ten of them. Jermain Defoe’s shot was parried by Wojciech Szczesny straight to the grateful feet of Adebayor who provided the finish.
The giant striker was only on the pitch for a few more minutes before seeing red for a dangerous challenge on little scamp Santi Cazorla. From then on it was all Arsenal, and their equaliser came from Per Mertesacker, the towering defender with a powerful header from Theo Walcott’s cross in the 24th minute.
With the man advantage, Arsenal took complete control with Bacary Sagna and Theo Walcott causing havoc down the right flank and Olivier Giroud forcing Hugo Lloris into two fine saves.
Arsenal took the lead through Lukas Podolski on 42 minutes, slick build up play and a scrappy finish giving the German his fourth Premier League goal. A third came on the stroke of half-time, Cazorla glided into box – despite being fouled and brought to his knees on his way there- to pull the ball back for Giroud to sweep in. Like a chimney sweep. Chim chim Giroud.
AVB didn’t send his men out on a damage limitation mission in the second half, instead opting for reckless all-out attack. It didn’t look so clever when Cazorla made it 4-1 on the hour mark, but Gareth Bale gave Spurs hope, striding forward past a sleeping Arsenal defence to pull a goal back in the 71st minute.
Spurs couldn’t quite mount a comeback and Walcott topped off a great performance in the 90th minute to make it 5-2, reducing Lord Sugar to a quivering wreck and Piers Morgan to a slimy ball of happiness.
Steve Clarke and Roberto Di Matteo met their former clubs as Chelsea travelled to the Hawthorns. West Brom took the lead after 10 minutes through Shane Long’s diving header at the far post.
Eden Hazard provided the equaliser after 39 minutes, getting on the end of Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross to provide almost a mirror image of Long’s goal. Which was spooky.
Peter Odemwingie put the Baggies back in front in the 50th minute, with another close range header beside the post. Really spooky now.
The Baggies managed to cling on to the lead as Daniel Sturridge fluffed a number of chances (nothing mysterious about that) and Boaz Myhill showed that he is a good goalkeeper despite having a ludicrous name.
Worries for Chelsea, who haven’t won in four league games, but West Brom continue to impress.
“You’ve not got your guitar James?”
In a match cruelly referred to as “El Sackico”, QPR with Mark Hughes hanging on at the helm were visited by Southampton with Nigel Adkins hanging on at the helm. The Saints were the better team for most of the game, and Rickie Lambert gave them the lead in the 23rd minute. The Premier League is missing Scott “Scotty” Parker to bravely fling himself in the way of danger, but Lambert’s goal came from doing just that as boots, galoots and foots caused mayhem in the six yard box.
Jason Puncheon added a second, cutting in to curl a 25 yard shot past Julio Cesar as Southampton took full control of the game with a much prettier goal.
Junior Hoilett pulled one back minutes into the second half to get the Rs into gear, heading over a hesitant Paulo Gazzaniga, but the Saints regained their dominance and an Anton Ferdinand own goal made it 3-1 and further shook the coat peg labelled “Hughes”.
Steven Naismith gave Everton the lead after 10 minutes at the Madejski against Reading, taking advantage of a series of unfortunate defending events from the Royals. The home side trailed for the rest of the first half, but overcame the Toffees in the second half to record their first win of the season.
Adam Le Fondre provided both goals, heading past Tim Howard in the 51st minute before outfoxing the American keeper from the penalty spot in the 79th minute.
Manchester City cruised to victory as Aston Villa came to the Etihad. City took their time before scoring, and Joe Hart was the first keeper to be tested. Having had a horrible night during midweek England duty, including conceding THAT goal, Hart was at his best to stop Vincent Kompany’s wayward clearance flying into his own net and also thwarted Christian Benteke’s goalward header.
David Silva eventually opened the scoring in the 43rd minute after a City corner resulted in something of a scruffy scramble. In the second half, the floodgates opened. City were awarded a bizarre penalty for handball against Andreas Weimann despite the Villa striker making no contact with the ball and Sergio Aguero stepped up to score.
City got a second penalty just over ten minutes later, this time Barry Bannan did in fact touch the ball with his hand. Carlos Tevez took his turn from the spot and produced a similar strike to his fellow countryman, albeit slightly uglier.
Aguero got his second in the 67th minute, beating Brad Guzan at his near post as it became a rout. Tevez’s 74th minute tap-in finally ended the scoring and Villa’s misery.
Wigan travelled to Anfield, and will return from their clash with Liverpool with both the misery of having to go back to Wigan and the pain of defeat. The first half was full of moans and groans, but in the second Liverpool turned up in style. Young Raheem Sterling produced some wing wizardry before setting up Luis Suarez for an emphatic finish just after the break.
Jose Enrique slipped through Suarez who used his deadly instincts to slot home Liverpool’s second in the 58th minute, and the provider turned goalscorer as Enrique turned in from Young Raheem Sterling’s rebounded shot in the 65th minute.
You’d fancy Swans to beat Magpies in a fight, and that’s exactly what happened at St James’ Park as Newcastle took on Swansea. Pablo Hernandez took advantage of a poor clearance from Tim Krul before picking out Michu who opened the scoring after 58 minutes.
A Danny Graham shot was saved by Krul but fell to Jonathan De Guzman who struck high into the roof of the net to get a second in the closing minutes of the game. Demba Ba’s stoppage time header gave Newcastle something from the game, but it was little consolation.
The late kick-off was at Carrow Road as Manchester United travelled to Norwich. United were far from their best and were shown to be lacking in several departments. Anthony Pilkington got the only goal of the game to earn the Canaries a famous victory, the former United youngster flicking in Javier Garrido’s cross on the hour mark.
The Norwich defence, which has looked stronger as the weeks go by, held on as United upped the pressure. John Ruddy spared Sebastien Bassong’s blushes, getting fingertips to his defender’s backwards header.
Spare a thought for poor Jonny Howson; the Canaries midfielder found himself one-on-one with Anders Lindegaard after bombing forward on the counter-attack but dragged a pathetic shot woefully wide of goal. Thankfully for him it will probably be forgotten about as Norwich celebrate a huge result.
There was only one game on SUPER SUNDAY and it was Fulham v Sunderland. How super. It was the proverbial game of two halves, the first half bereft of much excitement except the red card shown to Fulham’s Brede Hangeland after half an hour. Hangeland went in recklessly on Lee Cattermole and referee Lee Probert immediately sent the big defender for an early bath.
The second half was a whole lot better. The Black Cats took the lead in the 50th minute through their top scorer Steven Fletcher, the Scotland striker finishing clinically after collecting a precise long ball forward from Adam Johnson.
Mladen Petric was brought on by Martin Jol to help get his men back in the game and the decision instantly proved to be a good one. In the 62nd minute, Damien Duff was allowed space in the box to pick out Petric for a tap-in, while Sunderland’s defence appealed for offside. Duff was perfectly onside, yet bamboozled fellow old man John O’Shea into thinking otherwise.
Petric picked up a knock in scoring the goal and left Fulham with nine men to defend a corner within 90 seconds of the goal. Carlos Cuellar duly fired an angled header past a helpless Mark Schwarzer.
Sunderland goals have been rare this season, but Stephan Sessegnon’s 70th minute rocket was quite probably the best of them. A Fulham corner was cleared and Fletcher and Sessegnon combined on the counter-attack, the Benin international unleashing a spectacular shot from 25 yards to seal the points for Sunderland.
Is that it, you say? What about my favourite teams West Ham and Stoke City? Well Big Sam and Tony face-off in what sounds like a mafia boss battle (and will probably resemble one) in a spectacular edition of Monday Night Football. It’s a game already described as “not really going to perk you up after a hard Monday, watch I’m A Celebrity instead”.