Round 13 of the English Premier League saw five out of the top seven teams drop points. Chelsea and Tottenham managed to grab important wins, while Arsenal were left disappointed after being held to a draw at home by Fulham. Manchester United took on Newcastle United at the Old Trafford and the reigning champions dropped two points courtesy of a horrific refereeing decision, loads of missed chances and some dogged defending by 10-man Newcastle.
For Steve Keane it increasingly looks like a case of ‘When’ (he will be sacked) as Blackburn Rovers suffered their 8th defeat of the season against Stoke City. At the Stadium of lights, a last-minute winner from Di Santo ensured Wigan’s first victory in 10 matches. Swansea took on Aston Villa at the Liberty stadium in a match that was overshadowed by the sad and untimely death of Gary Speed. The match did go ahead and for once the result did seem immaterial. At Carrow Road Grant Holt scored a superb winner, as Norwich edged out QPR. Two second half goals for Everton at the Reebok Stadium against a disappointing Bolton side meant Owen Coyle’s side remained rooted to the relegation zone. In the most anticipated game of the weekend, Liverpool and Manchester City played out an entertaining draw at Anfield.
Here is a look at the best and the worst moments of the weekend.
Game Of The Weekend: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City
Liverpool and Manchester City played out an enthralling draw at Anfield. Charlie Adam’s shot which went in of Lescott cancelled out Vincent Kompany’s opener two minutes earlier. Mario Balotelli asked the referee “Why always Me?” as he received his marching orders after two silly fouls. Here are the highlights -
Player Of The Weekend & Save Of The Weekend: Joe Hart
The England No.1 once again showed why he is considered to be one of the best in the league. He nearly single-handedly ensured Manchester City maintained their 5 points lead at the top of the table. Hart denied Adams, Suarez and Downing with some fantastic saves, but his 92nd minute stop from a powerful Andy Carroll header stands out from the rest. Truly word class!
Goal Of The Weekend: Juan Mata
Sadly, It wasn’t a weekend full of wonderful goals, but Juan Mata’s volley ruled the roost. Ashley cole whipped in a wonderful cross from the left to find Mata, whose first time volley rocketed into the back of the net. It was a finish with class written all over it.
Ruben Rochina’s late consolation for Blackburn should also be mentioned over here, his thumping left footed strike from outside the box ran close for this award.
Howler Of The Weekend: Mike Jones
It was a game changing decision, it was a decision that robbed Manchester United of the chance to close Manchester City’s lead at the top of the table to three points. Rio Ferdinand made a clean tackle on Ben Arfa in the 64th minute inside the penalty box, but to England International’s horror, Mike Jones pointed to the spot and awarded Newcastle United a penalty. Demba Ba stepped up and scored as Newcastle held on to the points. Potentially title race changing decision? Well, it’s too early to state so, but it was horrendous nonetheless.
Miss Of The Weekend: Mauro Formica
Ruben Rochina went past nearly four Stoke City players down the right hand side. He found Formica with a wonderful back-hill from the by-line. Formica, just three yards out from the goal, swung his foot, but completely missed the ball as it went through his leg. What an air shot, what a miss!
Phil Bradsley gets an honorary mention in this weekend for his miss in the 39th minute. The make shift left back found himself in acres of space in front of the goal from a Kieran Richardson cut back, only to see his shot sail miles over the bar.
Moment Of The Weekend: Shay Given
The heartwarming and unspeakable moment of this weekend was witnessed at the Liberty Stadium. Shay Given showed us there are things in life that is bigger than the game. The tragic passing away of Gary Speed meant that the game between Swansea and Villa was only a formality, some would say it was a pointless match from the start. Shay Given was deeply affected by the news and couldn’t hold back his tears during the match. The Irishman was visibly broken down as the world witnessed a very humane moment on the field.
Team of the Weekend
Results of the Weekend
Arsenal 1 – 1 Fulham
Stoke City 3 – 1 Blackburn Rovers
Bolton 0 – 2 Everton
Chelsea 3 – 0 Wolves
Manchester United 1 – 1 Newcastle United
Norwich City 2 – 1 QPR
Sunderland 1 – 2 Wigan
Swansea City 0 – 0 Aston Villa
Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City
A Tribute to Speedo
Gary Speed, was found dead in his room yesterday. The news shocked the football world and all those who even remotely knew him. The former Leeds/Everton/Newcastle/Bolton midfielder was a perfect role model and he carried himself with dignity both on and off the field. The Welshman made a staggering 840 appearances (in all competitions) in English football, scoring 134 goals. Speedo as he was popularly known, was handed over the charge of the Wales national team on 14th December, 2010. The Wales national team was making fantastic progress under Speed when this dumbfounding event happened. Speed who won first division title with Leeds United in 1991-92 will be remembered as someone who was respected by fans and opponents alike. One can hardly find a player or a fan who has something bad to say about Gary Speed. TheHardTackle offers its respect to a true legend of Wales football.