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All Things Footie | Monday, August 26 | Jordan

Something for the Weekend?

Well, weren't we spoilt this weekend. Chelsea vs Man U and West Ham vs Arsenal were both absolute thrillers (and coincidently, both ended in the same score). Friday's game was great pub television — end to end football, great goals and tantalisingly close to call. Chelsea fans will be relieved to see the likes of Zenden and Petit turning out creditable performances and United fans will no doubt welcome a return to form for England captain David Beckham.

Both sets of fans will surely be equally worried about the state of their defences. For Chelsea Desailly looked out of sorts and Babayaro was seriously lacking in any real positional play. For United John O'Shea seemed a mixture of accomplished and foolhardy — as did Silvestre, setting up a goal well but so often caught out. The less said about Phil Neville the better but I can't think of another side in the Premiership he would start for.

As for West Ham, does anyone know what happens to them when they leave Upton Park? Against Arsenal the Hammers were sublime, pace, power and precision passing tore into the North Londoners and gave them a shock they nearly didn't recover from. Joe Cole tainted an otherwise excellent performance with his theatrics in the area; though Seaman kept the Gunners in it with a fine penalty same. Thierry Henry's thunderous goal was the highlight of the match and one of the best I've seen from him or anyone else and Joe Cole managed a pretty decent one too. It's hard, almost impossible, to believe that this West Ham team was the same one that lost 4-0 at Newcastle a week ago — not many teams will take 3 points from Upton Park this season.

Darren Huckerby (a ‘speedboat with no driver’ according to Andy Townsend) was everywhere for Man City as Kevin Keegan faced up to his old club at Maine Road and deservingly picked up their first three points of the season. City swarmed Newcastle for the best part of the first 45 minutes but the second half saw the Magpies take the game to the promoted club. Kieran Dyer missed the biggest sitter of the weekend and wasted another good chance, the finishing will have to improve if Bobby Robson's team want to improve their abysmal recent away record (they've only won 2 of the last 9).

Liverpool coasted to a home victory over Southampton, and though goals seemed to be on tap, one thing has caught my attention. However much stick I've given Emile Heskey, Liverpool's weakest link up front recently has been Michael Owen. I thought he finished last season unspectacularly and had a dissapointing World Cup, lets hope for Englands sake he bucks his ideas up before the Euro 2004 qualifiers. There's no doubting that the headlines for this game belong to Senegalese forward El Hadji Diouf, who contributed two goals.

Sloppy defending and a simple lack of class in their own third cost W.B.A. the game. With Lee Bowyer and Harry Kewell providing a cutting edge as sharp as a razor for Leeds, the truth is that the Yorkshiremen cruised to a victory. Birmingham too were overwhealmed on St. Andrews' first Premiership home game, a strong David Dunn inspired Blackburn team won through a Dwight Yorke goal. The Trinidad and Tobagan striker had taken a fair bit of stick from the home fans due to his history with the claret side of England's second city, making the goal even sweeter. It's good to see Andy Cole still missing the odd sitter too, proves he's still got it.

Everton's Richard Wright will no doubt be delighted to have a great game on the back of his nightmare last week and his team taking three points from the Stadium of Light will no doubt cheer him up even more. Another player who's put a bad performance last week behind him is Middlesbrough's Massimo Maccarone, who scored twice for Steve McLaren's team and put in an impressive performance all round. McLaren will not be so happy with the way his team capitulated and threw away the two nil lead that Maccarone provided them with, though it would be fair to say Fulham deserved something out of the game. Tottenham took a good three points at home to Aston Villa through a Jamie Redknapp strike — Villa really should have won though and if the truth be told, Graham Taylor's Villa are a lot better than you might think.

Time for the awards...

Performance of the Week goes to Man City for a commanding performance against Newcastle. Superb performances from Benarbia, Berkovic and Huckerby simply destroyed the team who beat West Ham 4-0 five days earlier.

Goal of the Week is awarded to Arsenal's Thierry Henry for that unleashing that EXOCET missile masquerading as a shot against David James. Not just a great goal but an extremely important one for a team two nil down.

Player of the Week is awarded to Liverpool's El Hadji Diouf. If there's a way to endear yourself to Liverpool fans there's few better than by scoring twice and trying to nutmeg players with a backheel. A great home debut and an inspirational performance from the Kop's new hero, Robbie who? Emile what? Micha…

Team of the Week ;

Richard Wright
  Richard Rufus
William Gallas
Steve Howey
Man City
David Beckham
Man U
Claus Jensen
David Dunn
Harry Kewell
  El Hadji Diouf
Massimo Maccarone
Darren Huckerby
Man City

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