Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United seem to be exchanging places with one another and this weekend saw the Gunners cannon themselves to the top spot. A Samir Nasri double (and what a beautiful double that was) against Fulham saw The Professor’s team edge ahead of Manchester United this week. On the other hand, the tail end of the Premier League table didn’t see much of a shuffling activity. However, West Ham and Wigan do seem to be surprise packages in the bottom three this season.
Arsenal 2 – 1 Fulham
Birmingham City 1 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur
Blackburn Rovers 3 – 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Chelsea 1 – 1 Everton
Manchester City 1 – 0 Bolton Wanderers
Wigan Athetic 2 – 2 Stoke City
West Bromwich Albion 3 – 1 Newcastle United
Sunderland 1 – 0 West Ham United
Blackpool p – p Manchester United
The Match of the Weekend: City Go Full ‘Trottle’!
Manchester City – Bolton Wanderers: The Citizens ran riot over the Trotters at Eastlands on Saturday. In what could have turned out to be a goal fest, Mancini’s men hit the target time and again only to find their mercenary, Jussi Jaaskelainen come in their way each and every time save for Tevez’s goal in the 4th minute. Bolton did their best to get themselves back in the game but lacked build up in attack which lead City to hold most of the possession. The game saw left back Aleksander Kolarov pick up a red which will see him sit out for the next fixture. Talismanic captain Tevez also picked up a booking hence reaching his yellow card limit. So City will have to do without their star striker too in the next game.
London’s Statue & a Manager Who Can Draw Well: Chelsea and David Moyes
Chelsea – Everton: Stamford Bridge was to witness a feisty encounter between two teams who haven’t really seen results going their way over the past few games. And when Nicolas Anelka was brought down by Tim Howard while attempting a clever move on goal, Didier Drogba knew exactly where he was going to go with the penalty kick. Chelsea went into the break leading by a goal. At that point, it might have seemed that Everton would not secure another draw at least. But when Jermain Beckford earned an equalizer in the 86th minute, Moyes didn’t know whether to show glee or move the curtain of oblivion over the thought of another draw. At the end of the day, it was all blues for both the clubs with 1-1 as the final scoreline and Moyes was left disgusted.
David Moyes and Carlo Ancelotti are looking to get back on track
Magpies Fly South On the Table:
West Bromwich Albion – Newcastle United: Chris Hughton’s side travelled to The Hawthorns looking to bag all 3 points that would that would lift them further up in the table. But Di Matteo’s side had other plans. Peter Odemwingie’s brace in the 71st and 89th minute following a Somen Tchoyi goal proved too much for Newcastle to cope with. The win not only gave Roberto Di Matteo back to back wins in the league(their previous victory was against Everton) but it also gave his side their first victory over Newcastle United in 26 years which includes 18 attempts. West Bromwich now lies in the 8th spot.
Gloom At The Bloom: Weather plays spoilsport in Blackpool – Manchester United game
Britain is slowly coming under the snow blanket and this change in weather is sure to hinder a few games. One of them was the game between Blackpool and Manchester United at Bloomfield Road which was originally scheduled for Saturday. However, with the heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures wrecking havoc all around, match referee Peter Walton decided to call off the game on claims that the pitch would not have been thawed on time. Even the use of a heated pitch cover could not improve the situation. Ian Holloway’s side now waits a little longer for its first league meeting with the Red Devils since the 1970’s.
Samir the Menace: How the Frenchman locked the Cottagers?
He has been Arsenal’s highest league scorer this season and Samir Nasri took this tally to 8 on Saturday when he scored 2 goals well worthy of being nominated under Goal of the Season category. While the first one was a wonderful display of trickery in the box, the second goal epitomized why Arsenal are totemic to football that is a treat to watch. Effortlessly Nasri makes his way into the box on picking up Van Persie’s pass and just when one would think the goalkeeper has done enough to stop him from scoring, the little man from Algeria does the unexpected with a sudden pivot; and with a near 180 degree angle, he scores an absolute beauty. Wenger surely knows how to scout for such priceless transfers. Samir Nasri is the Player of the Weekend.
A Moment To Remember: Carlos Tevez’ reaction on being subbed
When Tevez was subbed late in the game against Bolton, he was not a satisfied man. Although he got himself off the pitch in a professional manner, on crossing the touchline he turned into a fuming personality and wasn’t even ready to listen to why Mancini had subbed him. When the game ended though, both player and manager put the fire out. Tevez was said to be nursing an injury that he had initially picked up in the game against Birmingham which is why Mancini wanted to take him off before it got serious. Carlos later told the media that there was nothing wrong and he and Mancini continue to share a cordial relationship on and off the pitch.
A Great Escape? Not Quite: Malouda and Ivanovic might face ban
The FA are said to be looking into the incidents involving Florent Malouda and Branislav Ivanovic in the game against Everton. Video replays show that Malouda slapped Phil Neville on the face after the Everton player tackled him from behind. Match official Lee Probert has been asked to take another look at Malouda’s reaction and if the judgment goes against him, then Malouda will most likely be serving a three match ban. Probert has also been asked to look into Ivanovic’s tackle on Seamus Coleman. This news could not have come at a much worse time for Ancelotti with a Champions League game away at Marseille and a tough London derby against Tottenham in the pipeline.
Team Of The Weekend: West Bromwich Albion
Roberto Di Matteo is enjoying a slow rate of success and West Brom’s victory over high flying Newcastle renders them a team not to be taken lightly. Their game on Sunday was more of an attack minded approach which also worked for them in the game against Everton. The victory against Everton was a 3 goal margin and the one against Newcastle was a 2 goal margin. It just goes to show the increasing confidence of this team. Coming from the Championship this season, Di Matteo’s side are here to stay and are doing just the right things to stick to their cause. Another strong display this weekend makes them the Team of the Weekend.
Roberto Di Matteo is having a great debut season as manager