There was no mercy for Tottenham at the City of Manchester Stadium this weekend as Sergio Aguero showcased some devastating finishing. Scoring four goals, there was even room for him to miss a penalty and shank the rebound over the crossbar. When Aguero is on form, Man City are a different animal; statistics show he has the best minutes-per-goal ratio of any striker in Premier League history.
The scoreline flattered City slightly, Roberto Soldado had the chance to level the scores and put the home side on edge but his tame penalty was saved by Joe Hart. The point of no return arrived when towering centre-back Federico Fazio saw red for pulling Aguero down in the box.
City remain five points behind Chelsea, who comfortably beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park. Oscar whipped a stunning free kick past Julian Speroni after just six minutes, and not long after half-time Cesc Fabregas finished a seamless move with his first goal for the club. Diego Costa was missing through injury.
Prem Week 08 might be remembered for some of the worst defending in Premier League history. Sunderland conceded eight at Southampton, where nobody was more inept than goalkeeper Vito Mannone who was to blame for at least three of the goals.
Although Sunderland were beyond abysmal, credit must go to Southampton for their clinical finishing. Demeaned and depressed, Gus Poyet will demand a massive reaction in Sunderland’s next game – until yesterday they had one of the meanest defences in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, at Loftus Road, QPR were also guilty of some shocking errors during their 3-2 defeat to Liverpool. Despite missing a catalogue of chances in the first half, Harry Redknapp’s men fell asleep from a quickly taken set piece 19 minutes into the second half. Richard Dunne turned his back on play then put the incoming cross into his own net, he's now set the record for Premier League player with the most own goals (10). In a crazy eight-minute spell, four goals were conceded between the two sides right up until the final whistle. The final crime committed by Steven Caulker, who bundled the ball into his own net with seconds to spare.
While Mario Balotelli was his usual petulant self, it's worth noting that on both own goals it was his positioning that forced the errors. QPR continue to languish at the foot of the table, but Liverpool have no right to be happy with their performance either. Sloppy at the back again, Brendan Rodgers shows no sign of being able to reverse his side’s defensive indecision.
Burnley’s defending could also be called into question during their 3-1 defeat to a West Ham side that scored three headed goals. Manager Sam Allardyce, long known for his tedious, one-dimensional tactics is confounding critics by winning football matches in a relatively stylish manner.
At The Hawthorns, West Brom twice took the lead against Manchester United, with fine goals from Stephane Sessegnon and Saido Berahino. I managed to catch most of the second half and Maourane Fellaini had a big impact on the game. He came on at half time, and apart from scoring an excellent goal possessed the physical presence that Man Utd have been missing for quite some time.
Fellaini could be the key to reversing Utd’s form, and it will be interesting to see his impact on their next two games against Chelsea and Man City. Danny Blind also scored a cracker, but his goal three minutes from time came too late for Utd to complete the comeback.
Everton looked more like their old selves, keeping a clean sheet to comfortably beating Aston Villa 3-0 at Goodison Park. Villa enjoyed a good start to the season, but have collapsed under the weight of a very tough run of fixtures.
At the Emirates, Arsenal threw away more points, this time at home to Hull. The game finished 2-2, with Danny Welbeck scoring a late equaliser against a Hull side incapable of holding onto a lead. Arsene Wenger’s post-match interview with BBC correspondent Jacqui Oatley provided another glimpse of the ugliness lurking beneath his arrogant exterior.
Oatley’s line of questioning was refreshing. The vast majority of journalists are cowards. Privileged enough to get free tickets to write about the sport they love, they would rather ask asinine questions than risk being barred from press conferences by managers they annoyed. Note how whenever a manager loses their temper, journos are quick to back down no matter how illogical the answer.
My view? If a newspaper sports writer is barred from attending a press conference/interview for asking perfectlly legitimate questions, the paper in question should revoke all journalists from reporting about that club and throw the rule book out of the window when commenting on that manager until the journalist is reinstated.
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