Manchester United deserve a mention for their second half performance. It was a display that showed why they are likely to be champions. They don’t get the award though, because as good as they were in the second half, they were abysmal before the break. If Vidic had been sent off when they were 2-0 down as he should have been, who knows what would have happened.
Instead, the team that get the award for me this week are Manchester City. That really was an excellent performance in the 5-0 win over Sunderland. They played with a freedom and attacking intent that hasn’t always been evident under Mancini.
There were a few poor performances this week. Sunderland were woeful at Manchester City, but it has to be said that City were good.
The worst performance, I’m sorry to say, was produced by Blackpool. They have been a breath of fresh air this season and I stil hope they can find enough to stay up, but on the evidence of their showing in the 3-0 defeat at Fulham yesterday that looks very unlikely.
Birmingham are a team in real trouble. It was essential that they picked up three points at home against Bolton on Saturday. There are two words that tell you the entire reason they managed to do so. Ben Foster. He was inspired and made three or four world class saves. If he stays fit and in form, Foster could be the difference between staying up and getting relegated.
I know he’s a really easy target and I know that, on paper, he kept a clean sheet, but I’m giving this to Manuel Almunia. He had just one thing to do in the whole game and made a total mess of it. The man just isn’t good enough to be the goalkeeper for a team that has serious intentions of winning the league.
Looking outside of the normal names for this award this week, I was impressed with performance of the Fulham back four yesterday. The centre backs, Hangelaand and Hughes, were excellent but the man who caught my eye was Northern Ireland international Chris Baird. The right back didn’t put a foot wrong in an exceptional, faultless performance.Baird hasn’t always looked at home at the highest level but he was right on top of his game yesterday.
He has been a great servant to a few teams over the years but I wonder if Matty Upson’s best days are behind him. Once Manchester United decided to turn up on Saturday Upson looked like a rabbit in the headlights. He didn’t look as though he had the faintest idea where he should be, who he should mark or what he should do.
If, as now looks likely, Newcastle stay up, how much of that will be due to the performances and goals of skipper Kevin Nolan? The answer to that question is, ‘a lot’. He was excellent again on Saturday and his energy, anticipation and finishing for the first goal, set the tone and standard for the whole team. He is an inspiration and deserves a huge amount of credit for the season he is having.
When he first came to Arsenal I thought Andey Arshavin was way too expensive. His performances in those first few months made me eat my words. This season however, he doesn’t look worth a tenth of what Wenger paid for him. The creative spark, turn of pace, clever pass, drop of the shoulder and spectacular goal are all missing from his game. Another poor performance on Saturday.
Worth mentioning Darren Bent and Bobby Zamora who both scored twice. It was also nice to see Kevin Phillips start a game and show Birmingham how to score a goal. Despite those fine performances this award has to go to Wayne Rooney. A fine free-kick and a penalty made up two of his hat-trick, but the sublime touch and finish sandwiched them showed that he is still world class.
It is rare that someone picks up both the ‘Hot’ and ‘Not Hot’ awards in the same week, but this time around I’m going to make an exception. When you are a role model you do not run towards a television camera and hurl a load of foul mouthed abuse to be seen by millions of men, women and children around the world. He is a great player but I really think Sir Alex should think about gagging Wayne Rooney before he goes onto the pitch!
He shouldn’t have done it but he’s apologised and it is time to move on. There shouldn’t be any FA enquiry or anything but Wayne has to learn to control that tongue.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!