Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Wayne Championship Wrestling - Weekend Observations 26th-28th February 2011

Two weeks ago I headed up this here blog talking about the supposed genius of Wayne Rooney as he scored a wonderful winning goal to see off crosstown rivals City in the Manchester derby. This week Rooney showed us all the more ugly side of his game and I'm not talking about his hideous gurning mug.

In Manchester United's comprehensive 4-0 thrashing of Wigan, Mr. Potato Head took it upon himself to deliberately attack James McCarthy with a running forearm smash to the jaw that would have looked out of place in the Octagon.

Of course, this incident doesn't really bare talking about seeing refereeing parody Mark Clattenburg saw the whole thing, awarded a free kick and carried on about his business. Oh, he also forgot to issue Rooney with the red card he deserved.

As we all know when the referee sees it... no reterospective punishment... blah, blah, blah etc, etc. which means Rooney is free to continue playing for United in what is a crucial few weeks as far as their title challenge is concerned.

Naturally, the usual accusations of favouritism will be levelled at the FA who set a precedent 5 years ago when they threw the book at Ben Thatcher for his criminal assault on Pedro Mendes despite the ref having booked the City player at the time. Why was that incident any different? Because Mendes went to hospital? Are the FA saying that acts of violence are ok if no-one actually gets too badly hurt? Because McCathy's jaw WASN'T broken then Rooney gets a pass is basically the guideline as I now understand it.

I don't get the view that changing a decision post-match undermines the authority of the ref. Surely the fact his mistake is under such intense scrutiny by the media and paying fans is going to undermine him even more? Besides, the authorities overturn red cards retrospectively so isn't it hypocritical to say that they can't issue them too? It's a daft two-tier system that doesn't really make any sense. The fact that Rooney won't be serving a suspension should rightly stick in the craw of the teams he faces over the coming weeks.

I am probably repeating myself from last year but I have never been happy about the idea of domestic football on cup final day. Having Premier League games taking place at the same time as the Carling Cup final just devalues both competitions and the authorities need to fix this. As Arsenal were bottling it at Wembley, Manchester City failed to take the opportunity to put extra pressure the Gunners in the league as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham.

Super Mario Balotelli gave City the lead with the kind of goal that hints at his obvious talents but then missed a sitter later on to highlight his inconsistent nature and should maybe make him think twice before talking himself up so much. His team failed to push on and win as expected allowing themselves to be pegged back thanks to a Damien Duff goal. The Irishman seems to be finding the form that made one of the most feared wide men in the division some years back and was an integral part of Chelsea's first title win for 50 years.

City will tell you that the aim for this season was a top four finish but as their league campaign continues to go off the boil, you can't help feel they ought to be disappointed about not making a better fist of what was a realistic title challenge. The indifferent early season form of their crosstown rivals coupled with Arsenal's weaknesses meant that they had a real chance to put pressure on at the top. Who knows how well they might have done?

The obvious sub-plot to the game was the return to Eastlands of Mark Hughes who was unceremoniously sent packing last season. Sparky never felt he was given enough time, nor a far chance to prove himself a capable manager at City and his blatant resentment was obvious at the final whistle given his angry handshake with his replacement Roberto Mancini. While it is easy to have sympathy for the way he was treated by the club, listening to his post-match whinge about "the manner in which Mancini offered his handshake" just made him sound like a spoilt child. He's already had previous with this kind of thing this season as well so how seriously do we take his complaints?

The tone for unexpected results on Sunday was set with West Ham's emphatic 3-1 victory over in-form Liverpool. Scotty Parker was once again at the heart of the win scoring a fine goal and generally making a nuisance of himself but the Hammers will be encouraged by the contributions of those around him. New signing Demba Ba is having little trouble settling in and was on the scoresheet once again while Gary O'Neil went all Marty McFly and looked very much like his Pompey incarnation of years gone by. Continue like this and, whisper it quietly, West Ham and Avram may live to fight another season in the Premier League after all.

Also at the bottom, Wolves comfortably turned over Blackpool 4-0 as the Tangerines continued their freefall, Jermaine Beckford did his best impression of a proper striker with a brace in Everton's 2-0 win over Sunderland, Aston Villa beat Blackburn 4-1 and on Monday night West Brom grabbed a valuable point against Stoke despite Carlos Vela's late equaliser being about a three miles offside.

The fallout now sees only six points separating the Toffees up in 11th and Wigan who currently prop up the table. With no team playing with anything that even resembling consistency, you would hope for a lot of yo-yo-ing over the next ten or so weeks. I think most neutrals will be wanting for a real old fashioned scrap down at the bottom with all teams going into the final few games totally unsure of their Premier League status.

If you want my view – which you probably don't - then I'm saying Wigan, Blackpool and West Brom are all doomed. Seriously, put money on it.

Follow me on Twitter

Match of the Weekend: West Ham v Liverpool

Goal of the Weekend:
Balotelli v Fulham

Fight of the weekend:
Macclesfield v Wycombe (League Two)

No comments: