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October 26, 2009

Super Sunday and Super Subs!

Sunday’s Premier League fixtures really did live up to the assertion that this is the best league in the world – 15 goals in 4 games, penalties, sendings off, ‘Super subs’, controversy and two goal leads thrown away in the most unexpected circumstances.

The place to begin, of course, is the Anfield Stadium where Liverpool ended their ‘crisis’ by deservedly overcoming previous leaders Manchester United by two goals to nil. Fernando Torres continued to show his dominance over the United defenders – even at only 80% fit – and a late goal from substitute Ngog sealed the points. The customary dismissals of Vidic and Mascherano and a Bolt-like sprint from Pepe Reina to become the first person to leap on the Ngog after his goal were the other highlights.

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In all the three other Sunday matches, two goal leads were lost, although Bolton did at least manage to score again to secure a victory against a still under strength Everton which takes them to an unlikely twelfth place in the table. Ivan Klasnic, another substitute, was the Bolton hero which, given his well documented health problems, will have given hope to kidney sufferers everywhere.

Arsenal and Manchester City players, coaches and supporters, however, will probably still be wondering how they managed to throw away their leads. Arsenal were seemingly cruising thanks to goals from Van Persie and Gallas but the introduction of the Super Sub of the weekend, Alessando Diamanti, totally turned the game upside down. A rebound from his free kick was nodded home by Carlton Cole and then the Italian slammed in an emphatic penalty to earn the Hammers their unlikely point – only their second at Upton Park this season.

Manchester City were also knocked back by a Fulham side with a history of doing well at the City of Manchester Stadium. Goals by Duff and Dempsey cancelled out the earlier efforts of Lescott and Petrov.
All this Sunday action meant that Chelsea’s emphatic five goal demolition of Blackburn took them back to the top of the table – Lampard scoring two more and Drogba taking his total to seven in the league. Stoke claimed a late goal from Whelan to snatch the points at Tottenham, for whom Peter Crouch did everything except score in a fabulous performance in front of the England manager. Wigan ruined Burnley’s 100% home record with an excellent 3 – 1 victory at Turf Moor; Birmingham greeted former manager Steve Bruce’s return to St Andrews by beating his Sunderland side 2 – 1; and the games between Wolves and Aston Villa and Hull and Portsmouth ended all square.

All this means that Chelsea lead the way with 24 points, Man United have 22, Arsenal and Spurs 19 and Liverpool and Manchester City 18 – with the Gunners and City having played a game fewer.
In Spain it was the weekend of the ‘vaselina’, the unlikely colloquial word for a chip shot – don’t ask me why! There were no fewer than four such goals in Sunday’s matches, including efforts from Lionel Messi and, the best of the bunch, Pablo of Valencia.

Barcelona, clearly stunned by their shock midweek defeat in the Champions’ League, hammered Zaragoza 6 – 1, with Keita scoring a fine hat trick. Ibrahimovic scored two more to make him the league’s pichichi alongside David Villa – the first of them a stunning long range free kick.

Real Madrid struggled to a goalless draw away to Sporting Gijón to leave them three points behind Barça at the top of the table, a position which Seville were unable to threaten as they were held to the same score by a determined Espanyol performance. The weekend’s big shock, though, was the four goal thrashing of Deportivo at the hands of Valladolid. This result meant that Valencia’s three goal win at Almería took them above the Galician team into fourth place.

Elsewhere, Villareal, at last, secured their first win of the season, meaning that they leapfrogged opponents Málaga as well as Xerez who went down in Tenerife. Getafe beat Athletic Bilbao, whose good form seems to have deserted them, by two goals to nil and the matches between Atlético and Mallorca and Racing and Osasuna finished in draws. The appointment of new coach Quique Flores failed to stem the disquiet of Atlético fans who staged their now customary demonstration against the club’s owners!

Posted by admin @ 10:35 am
Category: Premier League,Spanish League

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