Great results for Manchester United, Everton, Aston Villa, West Ham and Wolves. However, there really is only one serious contender this week.
Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and admit you are wrong. Yesterday I wrote that I didn’t like the way Birmingham play football and that I hoped they didn’t win the Carling Cup. As it turned out, they did win, they did play attacking football and they did deserve it.
Bad day at the office for Wigan, Sunderland, Blackburn, Liverpool and Blackpool. Despite that, it was an even worse day for Arsenal.
That was surely their best chance of ending their long run without a trophy. I know they were missing Fabregas and Walcott, but even so, it should have been their game. You have to ask now, are they ever going to win anything?
He does seem to be making a bit of a habit out of picking up the man of the match award at the Carling Cup final, but Ben Foster showed once again what a class act he is.
I don’t know if it was his fault or that of Koscielny, but Arsenal’s young keeper, Wojciech Szczesny, will long have nightmares about the mistake that cost Arsenal the chance to win a trophy.
Matty Upson and James Tompkins deserve a mention for their oustanding performance for West Ham against Liverpool, but I’m going for Birmingham centre back Roger Johnson. He is talented and brave as an lion.
He may not be Birmingham’s captain but he is a true leader on the pitch. With a few minutes to go in the final, he picked up an injury and should have come off. I don’t know anyone who would have been brave enough to suggest it! You would have had to shoot him first!
Just last week I was saying how I may have misjudged Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny. I was saying that he might actually be a decent centre-back who would be good enough to help Arsenal to trophy success. I said that maybe Arsene Wenger didn’t need a new defender in that position. I was wrong.
I have always thought that Birmingham’s Barry Ferguson was an over-rated player. This season however, I have started to grow to admire his workrate and his ability to play little passes, keep possession and get Birmingham going. Against the multi-talented Arsenal midfield yesterday, he was excellent.
He thought he was on the bench but an injury in the warm up to Joey Barton meant that Ryan Taylor had a chance to show Alan Pardew that he should get a regular place in the Newcastle starting eleven. When an unexpected chance like that comes along, you just have to grab it with both hands.
What you don’t do is mis-control the ball and then in your anger and desire to win it back, fly into a dangerous and reckless two-footed tackle over the ball and run the risk of breaking a fellow professional’s leg. He looked distraught after he was shown the red card and he had every reason to do so.
Jermaine Beckford bagged a brace for Everton and showed that he can score goals at the top level. Hernandez bagged a brace for United and continued to show that he has a great future at the club. Ebanks-Blake bagged a brace for Wolves and showed that he might be able to do what he did in the championship, in the Premier League.
I’m going to go for a man who only scored once, but made it four in four since he joined his club. Daniel Sturridge has been hugely promising for a long time now. He couldn’t find a way into Chelsea’s set up and they spent fifty million pounds to replace him when they sent him to Bolton on loan. I wonder if they’re regretting that now?
He’s had a far better season than many, including me, expected him to, but Blackpool’s DJ Campbell really let himself down on Saturday. OK, Wolves defender Stearman pushed him, but Campbell’s reaction was ridiculous. The referee had no choice but to send him off and Blackpool capitulated and fell to a confidence sapping 4-0 defeat.
They will now have to cope without their top scorer for three games. It really was very silly.