Tom Pyman reviews a controversial weekend in the Premier League.
There were plenty of goals and plenty of drama in the Premier League last weekend, as negative headlines continued to be created amidst a cloud of controversy; something we’ve become somewhat accustomed to from the seemingly-ubiquitously-tagged best league in the world.
After the emotional release of the Hillsbrough documents in the week, there wouldn’t have been too many adverse to a quiet weekend of football. Of course no such thing exists in the Premier League and the issue of goalline technology was again highlighted when Victor Anichebe was denied a goal in Everton’s pulsating 2-2 draw with Newcastle on Monday night, despite replays showing that the ball had indeed crossed the line. Onlookers were left scratching their heads over how the Toffees didn’t take all three points but they can still consider their start to the season a strong one; at least in comparison to previous campaigns in which they have struggled early on.
Prior to that on Saturday, handshake-gate took centre-stage as Anton Ferdinand refused to exchange pleasantries with John Terry and Ashley Cole following the QPR defender’s allegations that the Chelsea captain had racially abused him; ones that, lest we forget, were deemed inconclusive as Terry was found innocent. It certainly overshadowed the match itself which was a drab, goalless affair, despite Eden Hazard being presented with a golden opportunity late on.
Certain results have caused the table to have a rather familiar look to it, even in the notoriously unpredictable early stages of the campaign, as Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City make up the top four, with Southampton still bottom having not picked up a single point. The Gunners will be most pleased with their weekend having hit the Saints for six, although the concession of a cheap goal, the first of the season, caused some frustration. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men were without both Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, but still comprehensively beat Wigan 4-0, thus demonstrating the supreme depth of their squad, with Alexander Büttner and Nick Powell claiming their first goals for the club.
Elsewhere, Liverpool are still searching for their first win after drawing with Sunderland, although Raheem Sterling’s stock continues to rise as he put in yet another fine display. The only fear with the 17-year-old is that he is put under the same sort of intense pressure that Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott have had to live with throughout their careers. The best thing for him is to let him develop at his own pace, without getting too carried away too quickly.
Fulham, and Dimitar Berbatov in particular, impressed in a 3-0 win over West Brom over Craven Cottage; a result even more admirable when taking into account the fine start the Baggies have enjoyed to the season. On Sunday, Tottenham ran out 3-1 winners over Reading, with Jermain Defoe claiming a brace to take his tally for the season to three.
This weekend promises to deliver more drama, particularly on Sunday when Liverpool and Manchester United clash, before Arsenal travel to the Etihad to take on the Premier League champions.