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All Things Footie | Sunday, January 13 | Jordan

Bobbie Dazzler

Apart from the state of the pitch, there was not a lot for Mr Robson to complain about after yesterday's superb win over Leeds. Little was wrong with the Toon's performance from Bobbies point of view — so what did you say to the players at the break?

“I said to the players at half time…
there was nothing to say at half time.

It's surely time for someone to do something about Danny Mills, how about just sending him off before kick off? strapping his elbows to his sides? I personally thought his elbow to the face of Laurent Robert was the clincher although kicking out at Craig Bellamy was almost as bad. England material? you must be joking. If that was a tense World Cup Semi-Final and he got himself removed from the field of play it wouldn't be unfortunate (like a certain Mr. Beckham in 1998) but a typical Danny Mills moment.

Another two cautions for diving in the match as well — it's becoming quite the fashion. It didn't look as though Bellamy dived, though he did seem to look for a penalty, arm waving and eyeballing the ref. As for Viduka I thought he was fouled but at least the ref was consistent in booking the Australian for ‘attempting to deceive.’ On the subject of discipline, I wonder if David Batty has averaged a booking a game over his career, his hideous challenge on Andy O'Brian was a typical Batty, nay typical Leeds challenge.

The true star of the game was the dynamic (for no other word sums up his contribution better) Kieron Dyer. An clinically taken goal and a delightful ball to Bellamy — who was also superb — for the third, topped what would normally be described a match winning performance. I say normally because the rest of the side were so instrumental in the win it would be unfair to heap an unequal amount of praise on one player.

Typical Chelsea performance at the Reebok, Eidur Gudjonsen's superb finish was cancelled out by a great goal from Michael Ricketts — almost Kanu-esque in the way he delayed his shot while he stepped around Carlo Cudicini. The star of the show was the outstanding prospect Kevin Nolan a surefire prospect to be shortlisted for young player of the year (probably alongside his team-mate Ricketts.) How Bolton hung on during a goalmouth scramble towards the end I don't know, Simon Charton the goal line clearing hero.

Claudio Ranieri is an enigma. He somehow mixes his passionate Roman outbursts with the view of an entirely impartial observer. Most managers when asked about a poor (if you consider yourselves title contenders) draw at Bolton would have had a different instinctive reaction to the question; ‘What did you think of t he game?’

“Second Half it was a BRILLIANT game!!”

A bit enthusiastic Claudio, did you think it was a good point?

“No! No! not a good point. Not at all.”

The post Christmas tractor boys are closer resembling the team that took the 2000/2001 Premiership by storm. A convincing 2-1 win over Glenn Hoddle's faltering Tottenham side puts them only a point from safety. Marcus Bent in particular is looking like a superb buy. Though Andy Cole finding form at Blackburn has made his departure look less of a loss than I think it actually was. Four stunning goals for Blackburn earned them a deserved victory over Charlton at Ewood Park.

There's no doubt the two matches today will throw a more realistic shape on the Premiership, a win for Arsenal will put them top with a game in hand on everyone in the top 6. Goal difference is tight between Arsenal and United (17 and 20 respectively) but if United win today it is likely they will lead the table points in the bag being worth more than games in hand and all that. Arsenal's ‘spare’ against Leicester has been re-arranged for the 23rd of January so going in to that weekends FA Cup fixtures a level Premiership playing field will be restored.

Check back tomorrow for the team of the week and roundups of today's two clashes.

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