Despite the great wins for Bolton, Manchester United and Everton, there can be only one winner this week. For a team to have taken as much criticism as Arsenal have over the last few weeks to recover from a goal down at Chelsea to win 2-1 is quite exceptional.
Their second half performance was as good as anything you will see in English football. I have had a lot to say about their bad points so praise when it is due, this was a wonderful effort.
I wrote my article yesterday morning about the trials and tribulations of Roy Keane. What I didn’t really say in that article is that his Sunderland team were really quite woeful in their 4-1 defeat at home to Bolton.
The goalkeeper looked poor and the defence looked…well, the less said about the defence the better.
Unless something happens very quickly, Sunderland, despite spending seventy million pounds in the last year or so, will be in a great deal of trouble. I feel sorry for Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cisse who look like a decent strike partnership but are totally starved of service.
One hundred and sixty seven consecutive Premier League appearances dating back to 2004 is a new record for a goalkeeper. Aston Villa’s Mr Reliable, Brad Friedel, kept yet another clean sheet in their 0-0 draw with Fulham.
How Paul Ince, with all due respect to Paul Robinson, must wish he still had him at Blackburn.
Friedel didn’t have too much to do in Saturday’s game but, as usual, he made a couple of smart saves with no fuss and looked every bit as good as he always does.
The Scottish international goalkeeper has a history of being ridiculed, but Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon has gone a long way to changing that with a series of fine performances for club and country. He returned to the starting line-up on Saturday after injury and must wish that he had taken another week off.
He was at fault for the first goal they conceded, should have done better with the second goal they conceded, could have done better with the third and to be fair, had no chance with the fourth. He wasn’t helped by disastrous defending in front of him, but although not obviously culpable for any of the goals, I got the feeling that a Premier League keeper should have kept three of them out.
I was tempted to give this to the much maligned William Gallas who didn’t put much of a foot wrong for Arsenal in their win at Chelsea but for me another defender stood head and shoulders above everyone else this weekend. Nemanja Vidic was absolutely immense for Manchester United in their derby win at City yesterday.
When City were trying to get back into the game and United went down to ten men do you remember the United goal coming under much threat? They all defended well but Vidic was outstanding.
It’s a tough call for this one this week as a few defenders failed to cover themselves in glory. In truth, I think the award has to go to one of the Sunderland back four but which one?
I suppose by virtue of him costing his side a goal by inexplicably missing the ball altogether, Danny Collins has to get the vote.
Everton’s Steven Pienaar has had an injury plagued season. He looked world class at times last season but has not been able to build on it so far this time around.
Yesterday he scored the winner for Everton in an excellent win at Tottenham. It was deflected and it wasn’t a great goal but it is good to see the South African midfielder back in the headlines.
He showed some great touches as he always will but Cristiano Ronaldo is nowhere near the player he was last season. He was, in my opinion, incredibly unlucky to get sent off yesterday as I didn’t think his first yellow card was a foul at all and his second yellow card was bizarre to say the least.
Having said that, he looks to me like a shadow of his former self and someone who is playing his football where he doesn’t want to be.
This has to be Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman has always had great ability but due to injuries and maybe a suspect temperament, he has never quite fulfilled the promise he has shown for so long.
Yesterday Arsenal needed a hero and they found one in Van Persie. OK, maybe his first goal was offside and Lampard let him turn too easily for the second, but they were two wonderful and clinical finishes.
He may be the top scorer in the Premier League and he may have scored some great goals this season but Chelsea’s Nicolas Anelka yesterday showed just how much his team miss Didier Drogba.
When Chelsea needed a forward to cause problems for an unconfident defence, he was conspicuous only by his total inability to do so.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!