Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Weekend Observations 11th - 13th December 2010: Part Two

After the sacking of Chris Hughton last week you would have thought football would wait a few weeks before going completely mental again. No. Just a few days later ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce was relieved of his duties at Blackburn Rovers. A shocking decision on the face of it given the fact he was doing a fairly decent job of maintaining Rovers’ position of mid table mediocrity. Seeing as the Venky’s group – Blackburn’s new owners – recently claimed they were happy in that very position, their complete change of stance is baffling. The fact they don’t seem to even have a replacement lined up makes the whole situation even more nonsensical.

Mind you, having pumped a fortune into buying the club, they probably took one look at the Allardyce’s ‘style’ of football and understandably came to the conclusion they wanted to see something much better.

Allardyce was handed his pink slip off the back of a 2-1 defeat in the Lancashire/Greater Manchester/Somewhere-in-the-north-east derby against his former club Bolton. Given the way Allardyce celebrated his current side’s equaliser in front of the fans who once worshiped the ground he walked upon, you have to say Karma gave him a double dose of whoop-ass. Stuart Holdon’s stunning quickfire response that ultimately proved to be the winning goal was just the starter before the main course of Monday’s dramatic dismissal.

The abovementioned Newcastle played their first game under Alan ‘5 and a half years’ Pardew and what do you know? They beat Liverpool 3-1 and looked quite good in the process. Andy Carroll was on the scoresheet yet again and is proving to be something of a revelation. Credit where it is undoubtedly due for him being able to make the transition from Championship to Premier League almost seamlessly – something many young players struggle to do.

The game also featured a now customary Torres one-on-one miss and Joey Barton... well, being Joey Barton. For the record, I don’t think his ‘gesture’ was that offensive but having just returned from a three match ban and everything that has happened to him IN HIS LIFE up until this point, you’d hope he would apply something like common sense and keep his nose clean. I’m not the first to say it and certainly won’t be the last but if Barton concentrated on his football and stopped behaving like a dickhead at every opportunity, he would actually be quite the player.

Dr. Jackal/Mr. Hyde also scored the key second goal in the game. The Premier League have apparently moved to ‘remind him of his responsibilities’ but it would help if Barton actually what the word responsibility actually meant.

Now, before Geordies start proclaiming Pardew to be their new Messiah, let’s not forget that this is still Hughton’s team.

In keeping with the theme of under fire managers, Roy Hodgson has once again had to come out fighting this week in face of more criticism and speculation over his future. Hodgson is in danger of doing irreparable damage both to his reputation and to this current Liverpool team. A good manager no doubt but as the season has worn on, it has become clear that Hodgson quite simply won’t be able to deliver what the club wants and needs: Champions League football and eventually a title push. His terrible personal away record doesn’t appear to show any sign of improving either.

Sharing their neighbours cause for concern are Everton whose traditional slow start to the season has dragged itself almost to the halfway stage after a 0-0 draw with Wigan. “Some” people might say that you insist on signing AND playing Jermaine Beckford instead of a real striker then you deserve to sit just two points off the relegation zone... some people!

With West Ham putting up about as much of a fight in the relegation battle as an anaemic schoolchild in the UFC, Wolves picked up a massive 1-0 win against midlands rivals Birmingham while across the region, Gerard Houllier’s Aston Villa scored a much needed 2-1 win over rivals West Brom. All four of these sides have some sort of dislike or resentment towards one another. Can’t imagine the West Midlands was a fun place to be over the weekend.

Stephen Hunt
’s decisive goal and Wolves’ subsequent win opened up a three point gap on the hapless hammers as well as inching themselves closer to safety. The bottom of the table remains congested as ever and Villa’s welcome victory gives Gerrard Houllier some much needed breathing space after a poor recent run. Those same people who say those unkind words about Jermaine Beckford may also suggest that it is no coincidence that Villa finally won a game after dropping Richard Dunne.



Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom
Everton 0-0 Wigan
Fulham 0-0 Sunderland
Newcastle 3-1 Liverpool
Stoke 0-1 Blackpool
West Ham 1-3 Manchester City


Bolton 2-1 Blackburn
Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea
Wolves 1-0 Birmingham


Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal

Follow me on Twitter

No comments: