Newcastle United hosted the first match of Round 4 of the Premier League against Arsenal, and decided to set the tone for the rest of the weekend…by having a man sent-off. Alex ‘Mad Dog’ Mitrovic, ever the trendsetter, got his marching orders for carefully scraping his studs down the shin of his opponent. Mitrovic was as bewildered as anyone by the decision. I mean, he could easily have snapped the leg in two, but he carefully controlled his aggression to administer just a gentle raking. Game’s gone soft, eh Alex? Schteve tried yet again to skive off work by taking a comfy seat in the stands to try to enjoy the game as a punter, but for the fourth game in a row his plan was rudely interrupted by the red card and by Newcastle playing a bit shit.
Arsenal gave Olivier Giroud a rest and played Theodore Walcott Esquire up front in his stead. Nobody noticed, as Theo spurned chance after chance in a remarkably accurate homage to his gorgeous gallic teammate. Newcastle were faced with an uphill struggle, although the Geordies are a robust lot that love a challenge. (Try pulling a woman with an accent like that…). Anyway, I digress. Newcastle dug in, and managed to rebuff the Arsenal tiki-taka with their own brand of fecka-offa. However, when the fancy stuff didn’t work, Wenger decided to rough it up a bit and brought on an Ox. Lo and behold, the brute force worked as Arsenal scored via a ‘Krul’ deflection. D’ya like that? Eh? Oh…
Onto the 3pm kick-offs, and the fun really began. If there is a man out there that had a successful 6-team accumulator on Saturday, they’re most likely Marty McFly and he has a hoverboard. Find it and bring it to me. The biggest shock came at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea and José’s mental breakdown continued apace with his side huffing and puffing but failing to blow the Palace down. In fact, Crystal Palace had the audacity to take the lead with a fine finish from Sako. This goal instantly started talk of José Mourinho getting the sack-o. However, Radamel Falcao decided to remind his mother that he’s still alive with a rare goal. A simple phone call is normally enough Radamel.
They say that teams can reflect the personality of their manager, and this is certainly the case with Crystal Palace. Just when you would have thought they’d have got the hint to bugger off with their unwanted sleazy advances towards the Chelsea ladies, they pounced to conquer. (If Mr. Pardew’s lawyers are reading this, it’s an analogy, not an accusation). Quite what Joel Ward, the Palace right-back was doing playing centre-forward was anyone’s guess, but he showed sublime movement and finishing to give Crystal Palace their first win at Stamford Bridge since 1278. Remarkable.
The second biggest shock of the afternoon came at Anfield, where Brendan Rodgers and Dejan Lovren combined for Liverpool to produce a performance as bad as Daniel O’Donnell doing the Rumba on Strictly in a few weeks (just you wait…). Just as everyone mused that both Brendan and Dejan had got their act together, they produced a clusterf*ck of epic proportions. Of course it was a case of ‘Dejan Vu’ for the Kop faithful. West Ham were easily the better team and finished off the Reds with a comically easy third goal from Sakho which started the ‘Rodgers About To Get The Sack-o’ rumours on the Kop. I know I used that one before, but I like it and it’s my blog, so shurrup.
Manchester City continued their inevitable march to the Premier League title (they’ll win it by about 38 points at this rate), with a routine win at home to Watford. Credit to the Hornets, they did hold City at bay until the second half, mainly due to being managed by Hugh Laurie in full-on ‘House’ mode. Raheem Sterling put City on their way with a tidy finish from 4 yards. Just as well really as he can’t score from more than six. He’s now finally repaying some of that £49,000,000 transfer fee, and at this rate of repayment, he’ll be worth it by the year 2175. Fernandinho scored his second THUNDERBASTARD in 3 matches to round off the scoring. He only scores crackers like that so the commentator can get his name right…’Fernandinhoooooooooooooo’.
Aston Villa and Sunderland served up an entertaining affair at Villa Park. Yeah, I know, that’s actually true. What a time to be alive. Scott Sinclair continued his midweek League Cup scoring form with two fine goals for Villa, and since I’ve had him in my Fantasy Football team since Week 1, I believe that makes me an idiot savant! Or maybe just an idiot. Sunderland have developed a back-bone in recent weeks and scored a cracking free-kick through M’Vila (Incidentally, his favourite ever song is MmmBop by Hanson). The Mackems wouldn’t die and went all Robbie Williams by clinging onto life through Lens, who scored the equaliser.
Bournemouth, fresh from hammering four past West Ham last week (who in turn hammered 3 past Liverpool this week, which makes Bournemouth 7 goals better than Liverpool, despite the recent result), were held at home by the high-flying Foxes (if that’s not a band name, it should be. When it is, you owe me money, whoever you are. Ta.). Callum Wilson scored a spectacular overhead kick to give Bournemouth the lead. His instant check with the referee was hilarious, as he wasn’t sure if he was going to be celebrating a goal, arguing about why it was disallowed, or gutted that he was sent off for ‘reckless high feet’. Good job referees. Leicester equalised with a rare thing of beauty – a stonewall penalty kick. Jamie Vardy won it with a superb driving run, but the tackle that tripped him up deserves a standing ovation. It’s so refreshing to see a clear penalty kick with nobody arguing for or against it – it just feels right. What feels less right (and very ironic) was Vardy’s ‘shush’ celebration to the Bournemouth fans. Yes Jamie, if you’d listened to your own advice, you wouldn’t have been in that spot of bother recently, now would you? That’s right, zip it. Good lad.
Finally on Saturday afternoon we had the return of Tony Pulis with West Brom to The Britannia Stadium to face his old side Stoke City. In tribute to their old manager, famed for his no-nonsense rough and tumble approach to football, Stoke City proceeded to kick everything that moved, and had two players off the pitch before half-time. OLD SKOOL. The first red card was ‘Afellay’ harsh in fairness (stop groaning…), and Craig Gardner needs to have a long hard look in the mirror – holding your face after it was brushed like that? Your kids are going to be charged with beating you to death if you hurt that easily. The second red card was far more enjoyable though, as Charlie Adam took umbrage at being tackled and decided that the tackler needed to be stamped on. Mark Hughes hilariously claimed that Charlie was off-balance and that he’s not that type of player. Oh he is Mark, he most certainly is.
Saturday evening saw Spurs tackle Everton at White Hart Lane. This was a tedious slug-fest that ended in a scoreless draw, like two 45-year-old heavyweight boxers well past their prime throwing feeble slaps at each other. Tim Howard was the Man Of The Match with a string of very good saves, living up to the ludicrous title he got last year as ‘Secretary of Defence’. He takes that nickname seriously you know. He wears short skirts to work each day, and flirts outrageously with Roberto Martinez. The minx. Harry Kane’s drought continued as he wasted a glorious one-on-one chance – the poor sod is so low on confidence you could almost see the brown stuff trickle down his leg as he advanced towards Howard with all the time in the world to decide what to do. In the end, he almost turned back to midfield he was so frightened.
Sunday saw Southampton run-out easy winners against a Norwich City side who were the latest victim of the ‘get a red card for doing sod all wrong’ debacle this weekend. Pelle gave Southampton the lead (has there ever been a player with a more misleading surname?), while Tadic grabbed a brace. He also grabbed some suspenders, a garter belt and a cummerbund (no, not the guy from Sherlock).
Finally, a top class Premier League side saw off a ramshackle bunch of chancers as Swansea City defeated Manchester United 2-1 at The Liberty Stadium. United took the lead as Wayne Rooney fooled the entire Swansea defence by looking menacing for a brief moment, which allowed Juan Mata nip in at the back post to score. However, Swansea City had the rest of the footballing world yelling ‘A-Yew Beauty’ as André headed home the equaliser before feeding BatterBurger Gomis to snatch the win for the Welsh wonders. The United keeper Romero made a hash of trying to save the Gomis winner, leaving all United fans wondering…How do you solve a problem like De Gea?