What a weekend in the Premier League. 43 goals, endless fun and entertainment for fans and players alike. The game of the weekend must have been Newcastle vs Arsenal. 0-3 in 10 minutes and 0-4 at half-time. On hearing the score, I was astounded. This is the same team that had beaten Arsenal AT Arsenal 0-1. This is the same team that had held Chelsea to a draw at St James’ and beaten a Liverpool side convincingly 3-1. Yet coming home from watching Oldham at Boundary Park, I find out that the comeback is the first ever occurrence of a side coming back from being 4 down and likewise a side conceding a 4 goal lead. On watching the highlights, it come to the fore how much a crowd can influence a game as much as the Tyneside faithful did on Saturday. The passion that they show is second to none, and is probably only beaten by the fans at a certain Old Trafford.
Moving onto other games in the Premier League that Saturday, and the performance of the day would have to go to Wolves against Manchester United. Beating a team that had gone 29 games unbeaten in the league is quite a feat. Not that it was a complete shock. United had been struggling in past games with performances that wouldn’t have been to the satisfaction of manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Yet from all accounts, Wolves fully deserved to win; an anomaly of that result was that the Wanderers remained at the bottom of the league due to goal difference. This would be changed with a home defeat for West Ham by Birmingham the following day.
Other fascinating games included the three in the north-west of England on Saturday afternoon. Wigan held off a strong comeback from Blackburn for a 4-3 thriller at the DW and at Goodison, Everton came back from a 2-3 deficit against Blackpool to run out 5-3 victors, with Louis Saha benefiting from some slack Seasiders’ defending to bag a first career hat-trick, ending up with four of the five toffees’ goals. Meanwhile, Manchester city came back strong from being held at St Andrews to beat West Brom 3-0 at Eastlands, with all the goals coming in the first half. This lead to the sacking of Roberto di Matteo, which I believe is a harsh sacking considering that they have held their own so far since being promoted from the Championship.
And on Sunday, as well as the Birmingham victory at Upton Park, King Kenny got a deserved victory at Stamford Bridge to enhance his chances of staying at Anfield beyond the end of the season and also severely hampering chelsea’s already struggling title aspirations.
Looking further afield, there were some good games in the lower leagues. A contender to Newcastle-Arsenal took place at London Road as Peterborough took on Southampton in an absolute classic, so much so that I watched this instead of the co-current wolves and man united game taking place on the other channel. What an advert for league 1 football, two teams that really went for it for all but 10 of the 90 minutes and that was purely to build up to a frantic last 15 minutes in which Peterborough grabbed an equaliser thanks to one of the four penalties that the referee decided to give, some which were definitely more dubious than others.
The final result of 4-4 really was a fair judgement of two teams who will definitely be aiming at promotion to the Championship by the end of the season, either automatic or via the play-offs.
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