The Real Footie Analyst

The Premier League Wrap

The Barclays English Premier League rarely leaves one disappointed, and this weekend was no exception.  The 2010/11 season must surely rate as the craziest edition in recent years and had me on the edge of my seat since the Saturday lunch-time kick-off in London and kept me exactly there all the way to the final whistle at Eastlands on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday’s highlights:

Rude Rooney sees Red

Manchester United made a significant leap towards claiming a record 19th league title after they came back from the dead to beat a spirited West Ham side 4-2 at Upton Park.  The Red Devils started off the brighter of the sides, but found themselves trailing 2-0 in the 25th minute, courtesy of two Mark Noble penalties.  The inevitable soon turned into reality when a 14-minute Wayne Rooney hat-trick sparked a Lazarus-like comeback by the men from Manchester.  The onslaught started 25 minutes from time, and Rooney completed his treble from the spot with 11 minutes remaining.  It’s his celebration, if one can call it that, which stole the headlines and it might well land the man in hot water with the FA.  Chicharito, the little Mexican , completed the scoring in the 85th-minute.  Avram Grant’s men will be bitterly disappointed with their second-half performance, and with no points from the match, rather than three or at the very least one, West Ham looks in serious danger of dropping down to The Championship.

United “Stoked” with Blues draw

Elsewhere both of United’s closest title rivals were in giving mood.  Chelsea travelled to the Brittania Stadium to face-off against Stoke City and soon fell behind through a Jon Walters goal in the 8th-minute.  The so far impressive David Luiz overcommitted on Walters in the middle of the pitch, and Walters took full advantage of poor Chelsea cover-defence.  A 33rd-minute Didier Drogba header put the sides level and saw the big Ivorian striker return to goal scoring form.  The match ended with the teams all-square at 1-1, thanks to a combination of Petr Cech’s Brilliance and some poor finishing from both sides.  Chelsea conceded 3rd place to Manchester City on Sunday, but they do have a game in hand and they will have to fight until the end of the season to claim an automatic Champions League spot.  The point did Stoke the world of good, as they currently occupy 11th position.

“Gun less” Gunners

The late kick-off at The Emirates saw United receive their second gift of the day when Blacburn and the Gunners played to a goalless draw.  Arsenal dominated ball possession, but never really troubled Paul Robinson, clearly feeling the absence of their captain Cesc Fabregas.  The Spaniard and Barcelona target was introduced after 58 minutes, but still Arsene Wenger’s boys lacked their usual creativity and even when Steven Nzonzi was sent-off after 76 minutes, Arsenal couldn’t breach the Rovers defence.  Theo Walcott was the only player who looked likely to score, while Manuel Almunia, although not very busy, had his customary suspect moments.  For relegation threatened Rovers, Paul Robinson was the stand-out player with his clean-sheet earning them a valuable away-point.

Advantage United

Chelsea’s title hopes are probably gone after their mild performance at Stoke , they are 11 points behind United with a game in hand and a trip to Old Trafford still to come.  With a game in hand and seven points adrift of the leaders, Arsenal will have to rely on some favours from other sides if they are to reclaim the title.

Roy’s the boy

The Hawthorns played host to the clash between West Brom and Liverpool.  The Saurez-Carroll partnership showed glimpses of its devastating potential, but failed to produce any goals.  Liverpool broke the deadlock after 50 minutes when Martin Skrtel headed home a Meireles corner.  For the home-side, Peter Odemwingie looked dangerous throughout and earned two penalties, both converted by Chris Brunt on 62 and 88 minutes respectively.  The 2-1 victory will no doubt be a sweet one for Roy Hodgson, after his short stay at Anfield came to an end back in January.  The win sees Albion jump to 13th place in the league.  The Reds will have to pull out all the stops if they are interested in Champions League football next season.

Other results on Saturday:

Birmingham City 2 – Bolton Wanderers 1 (Saint Andrews).  Kevin Phillips (3), Craig Gardner (58), Johan Elmander (70).

The win sees The Blues jump to 15th on the table, while Wanderers are pretty save in 8th position and also eight points clear of the drop-zone.

Everton 2 – Aston Villa 2 (Goodison Park).  Darren Bent (47 & 67),Leon Osman (37), Leighton Baines (82 pen).

Villa remains in relegation battle despite a Bent double and Everton keeps pushing for a place in Europe.

Newcastle United 4 –Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (Saint James’ Park).  Nolan (22), Ameobi (44), Lovenkrands (49), Gutierrez (90), Ebanks-Blake (57).

Wolves sit second from bottom and The Magpies launch to 9th position after a convincing display by the hosts.

Wigan Athletic 0 – Tottenham Hotspur 0 (DW Stadium).

A disappointing performance by Spurs – even without the likes of Bale and Gallas one would have expected them to take the points against the team at the bottom of the league.  Wigan now looks destined for the drop.

Sunday’s highlights:

Bobby is back

Bobby Zamore scored his first goal since August on Sunday at Craven Cottage, when he latched onto a loose pass from James Beattie in the 23rd-minute.  The England international, who was a fitness doubt heading into the match, went on to complete his first-half double only five minutes later when he headed home a Damien Duff free-kick to make it 2-0.  Dickson Etuhu made it 3-0 for the Cottagers, when he tapped in from close range in the 72nd-minute to send visitors home empty handed.  The Seasiders never really threatened and struggled without DJ Campbell’s speed and finishing ability.  Ian Holloway’s men are now well and truly in the thick of the relegation-scrap and only one spot above relegation, in 17th.  Fulham eased some of the pressure and leaped to 10th position on the table which will make Mark Hughs breathe a little easier for now.

Citizens on patrol

The City of Manchester Stadium set the scene for the final match of the weekend, where Sunderland took on the hosts, Manchester City.   The Black Cats were swept aside by a ramped City side with the scoring starting in the 9th minute when Adam Johnson scored in his return to the starting line up. Carlos Tevez also marked his return with a goal from the spot in the 15th.  Second-half strikes from David Silva (62) and Patrick Vieira (66) made it 4-0, before Yaya Toure capped his fine performance with a goal of his own in the 73rd-minute, after he was earlier the provider of opening goal.  The Light Blues leapfrogged Chelsea to claim 3rd position on the log, with the Blues from London still with a game in hand.  Roberto Mancini was a satisfied man after his side’s display and they now look good for a Champions League spot.  Steve Bruce’s men dropped to 12th and are six points away from the relegation places.

Pick of the week

Wayne Rooney’s 14-minute hat-trick at Upton Park inspired his side’s epic fight back and his second goal on Saturday was also his 100th league goal in a Red Devil shirt.

Worst of the week

You can’t keep the man out of the headlines and you guessed it – it’s Wayne Rooney again.  This time he grabbed attention for the brainless “celebration” after completing his hat-trick.  He has been rightfully charged with a two match ban by the FA.

By Japie Kruger

I’m a football fanatic. I love playing, watching and studying the game. A little Italian called Gianfranco Zola is my all-time favourite player which obviously means that I’m a Chelsea man.


  1. besitzer says:

    West Brom are impressive under new coach Roy Hodgson. If their good run continues they will definitely avoid relegation. Rooney’s celebration might also affect his club as United are struggling when Rooney is missing but the good news is that Berbatov now has the chance to play as a regular striker and prove his undeniable class. The Bulgarian could also extend his lead in the battle for the golden boot.

  2. footieanalyst says:

    What amazes me about United’s season is how many players have single-handedly contributed to carry them through the season so far. Berba’s two hat-tricks, Rooney’s hat-trick, and a few other key performances from Nani and Hernandez. That’s been their saving grace so far. Credit to them.

  3. Japie Kruger says:

    Good points. Roy Hodgson is one of the best managers in the league in my opinion, I’ve always had respect for the way he goes about his business and how well he does with the limited resources available. I really hope they stay up, I think they have a good chance under Roy.

    When I looked at United’s squad at the beginning of season, I really thought they lacked quality and depth in certain areas, especially in the midfield, but somehow they keep producing the goods when it matters. Another name you can throw in there is Edwin van der Sar, for a man who wants to retire at the end of the season he looks very good and he’s one of the main reasons they’re top of the league.

    Thanks for the comments.

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