Premier League Review – Gameweek 23
Game of the weekend
Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal
A game of two halves at Stamford Bridge as Arsenal’s stuttering campaign suffered another setback. It could have been very different had they not completely forgotten how to play football for the entirety of the first half. It was a bit like watching a game of FIFA where one of individual’s playing doesn’t know what buttons to press on the controller. Chelsea raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to Juan Mata and Frank Lampard’s 150th penalty kick for the blues. Despite finding their feet in the second half and pulling a goal back through Theo Walcott, it was a disappointing day in a big game for Arsenal yet again.
Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United
How do you set up against a team you’ve been beaten by once in 24 games? How do you set up against a team you’ve finished above for the best part of two and a half decades? How do you set up against a team you’re clearly better than?
You set up by sticking ten men behind the ball, hoping for the best and by double marking a Cristiano Ronaldo tribute act. These were the tactics adopted by United for Sunday’s late game against Barcelo….sorry Tottenham. The unusual defensive approach did ‘work’ for the best part of 92 minutes after Robin Van Persie had headed United ahead in the first half. But after continually inviting pressure from the home side, a procession of errors eventually led to Clint Dempsey equalising for Spurs and earning them a thoroughly deserved point.
West Brom 2-2 Aston Villa
Arsenal weren’t the only side to spend an entire first half horribly playing football this weekend. In the Saturday evening game West Brom had set the bar fairly high with an inept first half display in the West Midlands Derby. Two terrific goals from Christian Benteke and Gabby Agbonlahor had put Villa 2-0 up at the break. West Brom Suddenly remembered how to play football in the second half, either that or they were reminded by Steve Clarke of how incredibly rubbish Aston Villa actually are. They pulled it back to 2-2 but will probably be disappointed that they weren’t able to find a winner.
Best of the Rest
Liverpool continued their run of victories over teams that aren’t very good with a 5-0 home win over Norwich. Manchester City closed the gap on United with an unpredictable 2-0 home win over Fulham.
Michael Owen scored for the first time since 2011 but it was in vein as Stoke were well beaten at Swansea. Alan Pardew’s Eight Year Deal sunk to new depths with a 2-1 home defeat to a team sponsored by Waitrose – Reading. Q.P.R’s bus continues to collect points as it held firm at West Ham as both teams shared the spoils. Sunderland won at Wigan whilst in the Monday night game Southampton and Everton wasted everybody’s time with a forgettable 0-0 draw. The only highlight being Jason Puncheon leaving the field to ‘relieve’ himself.
Too Good Too Bad
Bacary Valencia Antonio Sagna
That’s right, two of the most consistent performers in recent seasons have apparently morphed into one completely useless footballer. Taking turns in playing for Arsenal and Manchester United, Bacary Valencia Antonio Sagna is a player who plays with two left feet and is completely incapable of doing the very basic things expected of a Premier League footballer.
Sir Alex Ferguson attention diversion watch
After United’s 1-1 draw at Spurs on Sunday, the United manager spent the entirety of the post match interview……not talking about the match. Instead focusing on the officials whom he had less that kind words for. This diversion tactic appears to be deployed anytime United are unable to win a match. Should United drop points in their next home game with Southampton, look out for Sir Alex giving his views on Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece Django Unchained.
Arsene Wenger ‘lie’ watch
As Crystal Palace starlet Wilfred Zaha appeared to be closing in on a move to Manchester United, Arsene Wenger’s damage limitation exercise was to tell arguably the funniest lie of the season.
The Arsenal manager claimed Arsenal were ‘never in’ for Zaha, despite the fact he’d only minutes earlier stated that Arsenal had watched the player. There’s also the fact Steve Bould has been spotted at Selhurst Park this season but hey, perhaps he was there to cast an eye on Palace goal machine Glen Murray, who is likely to be a better option than Oliver ‘I bet I can miss this’ Giroud.