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All Things Footie | Monday, September 17 | Jordan

Mean Keane and Foolish Frank

It wouldn't be a weekend in the Premiership without a couple of sending off's would it? Firstly United's irritable Irishman lashes out at a nonchalant, and excellent Alan Shearer, then Frank Lampard tried to start a fight with Tottenham's Chris Perry.

Roy Keane's card was a disgrace, annoyed at his team losing and frustrated by Shearer's perfectly legitimate attempts to waste a bit of time - you can't tell me united wouldn't have done the same. Keane's fist of fury was an all too characteristically unpleasant site on a day which really should have been conducted with a modicum of respect.

Lampard on the other hand was rightly gutted to have not been given a penalty. The replay showed clear contact between Perry and the Chelsea man and however unjust Hasselbaink's penalty was, Hoddle should take into account that they were lucky to escape in that situation. Especially as Chelsea lost a man in the process - albeit for an indefensible violent reaction.

Tough at the Top

Arsenal and Leeds are setting the early pace with the meeting between the two sides the main difference (had that been a draw incidentally, Arsenal would be two points ahead of the northerners). Both teams put in professional performances over the weekend, Leeds dispatching Charlton without too much effort, though Robbie Keane's dive was shocking.

Arsenal played a good game against a determined and undoubtedly talented Fulham side at Craven Cottage. Freddie Ljungberg was excellent, and Lauren Biscan Etame seems to have solved the worrying right back problem for the foreseeable future with a superb display. Once again, Sol Campbell looked very nervy, pulled out of position for the lively Steed Malbranque's goal and skinned on more than one occasion, Wenger seriously needs to address this problem. I've always said Arsenal's strongest defensive pairing is Keown and Adams and I have not changed my mind on the evidence so far.

Manchester United's lack of defensive rigidity, and Laurent Blanc's shortcomings in particular, are the reason they aren't looking down on the rest of the premiership - for it certainly isn't a lack of attacking ability.

The biggest problem I can see is the difficulty in finding a place for Paul Scholes, he certainly doesn't fit in to the 'man behind the lone striker' position. With Ferguson (understandably, given his recent displays) preferring Juan Veron to partner thug Roy Keane in the centre of midfield, Scholes seems a little peripheral. Not good enough for a player of his ability, and United do seem to lack something without the lad in the team. Veron doesn't work as hard for the defence. Scholes has shown - particularly in recent international displays - that along with the flair side of his game he can provide valuable defensive cover too. Something that in United's time of trouble cannot be underestimated in value.

The truth is that Giggs, Scholes, Veron, Keane and Beckham cannot fit into one team - without a serious change of position or team formation.

Tougher at the Bottom

Leicester and Southampton have finally got some points on the board, Dean Richards and Dean Sturridge in particular can be given a fair slice of the credit. Sturridge was excellent for Leicester, a few nifty touches and two well taken goals proved the difference between them and a hard working Derby team. As for the Robbie Savage incident - I thought he was touched, just - but went down like a ballerina and you can understand why the Derby players and fans were aggrieved at his rather exuberant celebration. That was not necessary and he deserves everything he gets the lucky boy, he wasn't going anywhere anyway.

Dean Richards put in another fine performance for the Saints and is doing more every week to justify Southampton's lofty valuation. It does look like he'll be off this week though, with Spurs allegedly upping their offer to �7.5m and Rupert Lowe seemingly willing to do business at that price.

It's that time again...

Performace of the week : Newcastle vs Man Utd
Player of the week : Laurent Robert (Newcastle)
Goal of the week : Steven Gerrard (Liverpool vs Everton)
Team of the week :
Nigel Martyn
Dean Richards
Gareth Southgate
Wayne Bridge
Freddie Ljungberg
Emmanuel Petit
Steven Gerrard
Laurent Robert
Alan Shearer
Dean Sturridge

What are your thoughts on the action? think Lampard should be handed a three match ban? think Ipswich really should have won yesterday after a perfectly good goal was disallowed? go to the forum then, see you there.

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