Another great week of Premier League action with some big games, big wins, and big upsets. Man Utd beat Arsenal 1-0 in the weekend’s blockbuster game to let the league know that they still have a big say in the title race. It was former Gunner RVP that got the winning goal but more than anything the game highlighted that Arsenal seem to fail to deliver in the big games. If Arsenal would have won it would have been a victory that would have even Wenger thinking of the title but Man Utd surely were never going to let that happen. The win was made bigger for Man Utd as Man City, Spurs, and Chelsea all dropped points.
Man City were stunned by a robust Sunderland performance as Gus Poyet’s revolution takes shape and Pellegrini is given more away day blues. Spurs managed to lose to Newcastle thanks to sloppy defence distribution, clinical finishing from Loic Remy, and an amazing performance by Tim Krul in the Toon goal. Chelsea could only manage a draw against West Brom at Stamford Bridge and were lucky not to lose as they received a very generous penalty late on. Hazard dispatched the penalty to maintain Mourinho’s record of 66 games unbeaten at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool also smashed a sorry Fulham 4-0 to put Martin Jol under intense pressure once again as Stoke and Swansea fought over an entertaining 3-3 draw. The game ended in controversial fashion as Swansea had fought back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 until the referee gave a very bizarre penalty to allow Charlie Adam to equalize for Stoke in the 96th minute.
Team of the Week:
Sagna (Arsenal) Olsson (West Brom) Skrtel (Liverpool) Bardsley (Sunderland)
Routledge (Swansea) Gerrard (Liverpool) Lallana (Scum)
Rooney (Man Utd) Suarez (Liverpool) Remy (Newcastle)
Hero of the Week:
Rooney was a hero for Man Utd with his overall performance as well as assisting Van Persie to score the winner against his old club Arsenal in the biggest game of the weekend. Rooney was the sharpest player on the field and created something positive with every touch and without him playing it surely would have finished a draw.
This week’s hero though can only be one man, and that’s Tim Krul. The amount of vital saves he made was incredible and if he wasn’t playing then Newcastle wouldn’t have got a point let alone win! Spurs threw everything at Newcastle as they defended for their lives but it was the feet, hands, and torso of Krul that kept out the onslaught of Townsend, Soldado, Eriksen, Paulinho, Sigurdsson, Sandro, and Defoe. Countless times Krul was the only obstacle between Spurs and a goal as they got behind the defence several times but the Dutchman made himself impossible to beat with first class reactions and calming presence under pressure.
Nipple of the Week:
The nipple of the week is referee Neil Swarbrick. The Swansea vs Stoke game at the Liberty Stadium was a great advert for the Premier League with Swansea fighting back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2. It was a great action packed game and Swansea deserved to win but they were denied by a mental decision from Swarbrick. Deep into stoppage time there was a scramble in the box as Stoke pushed for an equaliser and suddenly the whistle went and the ref was pointing at the spot. Laudrup summed it up after the game when he pointed out that there were 7 Stoke players in the box and not one of them appealed for a penalty. Either Routledge or Williams was adjudged to have handled in the area but from the reply it looks like a shoulder is the closest thing to a handball in that period of play so where he saw a handball I don’t know. It spoiled what was a very good game with both teams playing good football in the first half. It was Swansea though who came out in the second half playing some great attacking fluid football and fully deserved to get back and win the game. It was a shame but Stoke will be relieved to not have lost after going in at half-time 2-0 up. The last minute penalty was a gift from Swarbrick and makes him nipple of the week, it still didn’t make Hughes smile though, is it even possible? Has Hughes ever smiled? What will it take!?