Game Of The Weekend
Man City’s roller coaster of indifference this year continues to conjure up some captivating games as Sergio Aguero counters their increasingly shoddy antics at the back with escalating levels of flair.
They’ve won just one of their last six games in all competitions and were it not for the efforts of the little Argentine, I dread to think of the pickle they’d be in.
Considering the load of old cobblers we’ve seen from them during early parts of the season, QPR were more than worth their draw on Saturday as they hassled and harried City’s jittery mega-stars into a string of errors. In Charlie Austin, now he’s acclimatised to the Premier League, they have a man who they can rely on in front of goal and he finished expertly three times in the first half. An easy offside call and a curious (but correct) quirk of the rules saw him trudge off for the interval with just one, well taken, goal.
He first nodded home inside the box having strayed well beyond the final man before the resulting free kick was botched spectacularly by Joe Hart. In two minds about a pass, the dandruff free stopper nudged the set piece with his standing foot before toeing his actual pass off in the wrong direction, straight to Austin who rattled home a smart finish from 20 yards before the officials drew things back for the double hit free kick.
The former Burnely man was not to be merked by Lady Luck thrice, however, as he soon perfectly timed a dart into the box and dispatched a low shot into the bottom left corner as Roy Hodgson peered on from the stands – wonder if the old buzzard is reconsidering his decision to pick Rickie Lambert this week at all?
Austin’s antics were soon overshadowed though as Aguero continued his one-man mission to save City from mid table mediocrity with a rare goal (more on that later).
QPR continued to impress in the second, managing City’s threat well and providing plenty of their own which culminated in Marty Demichelis seeing a peach of a cross from Austin skid off his face and zip into the far corner after Bobby Zamora had missed it.
City wheeled on a barrage of subs before Sergio Aguero, for the second time, picked a long ball out of the air in behind the QPR defence, faked once to park a number of hooped defenders on their arses and calmly slot.
With 7 minutes left you would have backed City to turn the screw but a gutsy and committed rear-guard effort, led by old boy Richard Dunne, saw Rangers hold on for a well deserved draw.
Result Of The Weekend
Burnley won! Good gravy. It took a truly rotten performance from chronically poor travellers Hull (won just 4 of their last 26 away from the KC) but Sean Dyche and his unfeasibly gravelly voice finally have something to croak about.
Such is the shower of incompetent shite that seems to encompass everyone bar Chelsea and Southampton in the PL at the moment, Burnley’s first win of the season means they’re only actually two points off the holy grail of 17th place.
The Clarets’ fixture list looks relatively smelly until the New Year when probable six pointers against QPR, Palace, Sunderland and West Brom come consecutively. The key between now and then will be staying in touch, grabbing whatever points they can before that massive run of games.
Unrelated point - Danny Ings’ panoramic spam head (or Spamoramic forehead?) is really quite something – so large you could park a ruddy caravan on there if required. Not sure why you would ever need to mind.
Also, this might be quite odd, but in my mind, Ings and his big, weird top heavy cranium reminds me of a darker haired, real life version of Family Guy’s Jake Tucker.
Honourable mention – still appalling in front of goal but a vaguely credible draw/clean sheet for Villa against West Ham that puts a cork in a bilious run of 6 straight defeats. A much needed positive result.
Mystifying Refereeing Decision Of The Weekend
Raheem Sterling receiving a yellow card for the pleasure of being forearm smashed in the face by Ramires was 10/10 mental from Lee Mason.
Honourable Mentions – On the subject of Chelsea, Garry Cahill was a very lucky boy regarding the second, late, handball shout he was involved in at Anfield. Not sure what the hell Phil Neville was on about on MOTD1 when he claimed the first Cahill handball case should have been a penalty though. He prattled on about the ball striking an arm whilst watching (with his actual eyes) slow-mo footage of the ball clearly hitting he England defender square on the top of his shoulder.
In truth there was a shed load of tripe across the board from refs this weekend - over at the Boleyn Ground there was also a bonkers decision as Villa’s Nathan Baker hurt himself having lunged at Carlton Cole in the box. No one would have begrudged the big striker going down after such an untidy hack, but he stayed up to play Stewart Downing in for a shot. Ref Jonathon Moss decided to play by the primary school playground rule of ‘if he’s injured, give them a free kick’ inexplicably awarding Baker the decision. Jordi Gomez was also exceedingly lucky to stay on at Sunderland after a rank challenge on Garry Barry and a nasty case of horizontitis just as he near to Phil Jagielka’s leg.
Chap Of Steel
Two sensational goals to dig his team out of a mess and that took his personal tally to 14 from 16 run outs in all comps this term – Sergio Aguero is the Premier League’s best right now.
Becoming a bit of a fixture for this award it’s the quality of the goals that really set him aside from other prolific hitmen such as Diego Costa. Whilst the ‘Branish’ (Brazilian/Spanish?) Chelsea forward is certainly a lethal gun in the box and a handful the air, Aguero is capable of scoring out of absolutely nowhere and doing things all by himself if necessary.
Both his goals this weekend saw him time a run in behind QPR, control long balls with a pair of absolutely killer touches before having the composure and skill to trick his way past defenders and slot assuredly with his weaker peg. It was cosmic stuff. Considering the relative mess behind him and Edin Dzeko’s injury Man City are in dire need of wrapping him up in cotton wool.
Manuel Pellegrini will no doubt be thrilled if Argentina choose to gift starts to the recently recalled Carlos Tevez in the pair of arbitrary friendlies they will play over the next week.
Honourable mentions – Notorious net dodger Shane Long came off the bench to maintain Southampton’s sensational start to the season with two disconcertingly assured finishes against a Leicester side in freefall. Props to Newcastle’s Daryl Janmaat as he served up both cracking assists in a 0-2 win at the Hawthorns whilst Jefferson Montero for Swansea also deserves a curt nod of appreciation for ripping Arsenal a new one.
Talking of Carlitos…
The mardy old dog may be approaching his 31st birthday but is showing no signs of slowing down his exceptional footy antics as this wonder goal from the weekend proves.
It seems weird, considering Tevez picked up two Premier Leagues and a European Cup at Manchester United, but he was actually well below his best during his time at Old Trafford. Playing in an excellent United side he left with 34 goals from 99 run outs (goal every 2.91 games), in the six years since his acrimonious departure, at City and Juventus, he’s smashed in 101 from 199 (goal every 1.97 games). Currently top of the Serie A scoring charts he's set to make his first Argentina appearance in three years this week.
Chump Of The Week
Seems harsh to pick out a mere teen for too much criticism but Calum Chambers had a horrible day at the office as Jefferson Montero (best name in the Premier League?) skinned him for fun at Swansea. He was dribbled past four times, the most of any player on the pitch, gave away three fouls and was sloppy with the ball, ending with an 82% pass completion, a figure well down on his seasonal average of 87%. As we’ve mentioned before it’s a bit of a farce that the talented but raw Chambers is, due to a number of woefully neglectful transfer windows, currently learning the ropes as a pro at the coalface, playing every game as Arsenal stutter through the first half of the season. He should have been hooked well before he was turned inside out by Montero for Swansea’s late winner but Wenger’s myopia/arrogance/stinginess means the idea of a squad deep enough to replace him with an acceptable player is a long forgotten dream for Gooners. Considering his apparent lack of pace and ungainly turning circle, expect him to be targeted by every side’s nippiest player from now on.
Whilst we’re on the subject, why was Chambers even playing at right back? Bearing in mind Wilf Bony and Bafetimbi Gomis were both used as aerial battering rams by Gary Monk, why was Nacho Monreal, a small, relatively nippy full back plonked in the middle? The Spaniard was duly out-jumped for the winner, whilst the rangy but sluggish Chambers was getting sliced and diced by a speedster out wide for the assist? Considering Chambers can actually play at centre half, it seems like absolutely schoolboy stuff from Wenger.
Dishonourable mentions – Manu Adebayor had the good grace to be late getting subbed on against Stoke because he was fannying around before touching the ball nine times, completing one pass out of six attempts and missing the target with his only effort. Good God he’s shit once he hasn’t got a new contract to play for. Expect him to turn it around for a red hot, 10 game spell in about 18 months time.
Goal Of The Weekend
There was an absolute flurry of the good shit this weekend but your man Sergio has to get the nod for his second at QPR. His first gets discredited a smidge, despite his pant stirring first touch, for being offside and containing an arguable handball. Equalising late on he took the ball down on the chest, drawing it away from the defender in the process, skipped round the keeper before checking, sending three defenders to one side of the goal and slotting in the now exposed far corner. Clutch stuff.
Honourable mentions – Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free kick at Arsenal ticked all the right boxes whilst Nacer Chadli continues his charge to be crowned Premier League’s ‘most improved’ with a bastard of a volley that was thrashed into the roof of the net from a miserly angle.
Bojan’s first reminder that he did once play for Barcelona and does indeed have two Champions League winners’ medals was also a ruddy treat as he raced from the half way line to wallop in from 20 yards against Spurs. And finally, Ayoze Perez’s third in three for Newcastle was all sorts of sexy as he channelled his inner Kanu and shlinked in a backheel flick at West Brom. Do I not like that?
Worst Goal Of The Weekend
Erm, there was alarmingly little tripe this weekend. Most disappointing. Suppose it’ll have to go to Demichelis as he unwittingly humped in a cross for an OG at QPR.
Meanwhile In The Bundesliga... Kramer vs Kramer
Frankly though the Argentine has nothing on German World Cup winner, Christophe Kramer, as he sealed the points for Borussia Dortmund against Borussia Monchengladbach this weekend with a sumptuous 45 yard OG. The genuinely impressive blunder handed Jurgen Klopp’s team their first win in yonks having lost 6 of their last 7 seven Bundesliga games. Crivens.
Burn Of The Week
Man United last on MOTD1. Chin up lads.
Tortuous MOTD2 Analysis Of The Week
The simian duo of Shearer and Keown discussing the odd Tim-Howard-lying-on-the-ball incident was soul-destroying stuff as the two mealy mouthed chumps waffled on bizarrely about ‘ungentlemanly conduct’ and other non rules for about 12 years without coming to anything like a satisfactory conclusion.
OBSTRUCTION was the word/rule you were looking for but couldn’t find lads. If you deem what Howard did to be ‘holding off the opponent with his arms or body’ then an indirect free kick and red card was arguably the right decision.
The fact that Steven Fletcher did not actually challenge Howard means Mason was also probably within his rights to wave play on as you could argue he was technically not ‘holding off’ the striker.
Admittedly a bizarre and contentious one that could be argued either way, but those two interpretations above took me all of 2 minutes to find. Come on lads. THE INTERNET.
Team That Are Definitely Not 'Doing A Tottenham' That Are Definitely ‘Doing A Tottenham’
Dishonorable mention – Tottenham.