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All Things Footie | Tuesday, September 3 | Jordan

Calamity Keane

He's really done it this time. Without wanting to dwell on Roy Keane for too long, I think he's crossed a line that he'll find very difficult to retreat from. As Paul Hayward of the Daily Telegraph wrote yesterday, ‘It's time to debunk the myth that Roy Keane is indispensable to Manchester United’. The truth is that Keane no longer gives a monkeys about Manchester United football club, he resents the supporters, most of his teammates and half of the footballers in the Premiership. Sir Alex Ferguson must now realise that the Irishman is often more trouble than he's worth and a bad defence is not made any better by being treated disrespectfully by the club captain.

He has done as much to undermine the strength of Manchester United on the pitch — despite his own efforts. His push on Phil Neville, his blasts at the ‘Rolex Culture’ among players and the ‘Prawn Sandwich’ brigade and most significantly; his putting petty, small-minded revenge above winning a match. The consummate inspirational winner and ultimate team player that was Roy Keane has gone; only a bitter, selfish and moronic individual remains — and what use is that to a team that need all the spirit they can muster?

Maybe it's the realisation that he'll never play in a World Cup? Or maybe he's still frustrated at missing his team's finest hour in Barcelona? He'll have three months to think about it now while he has his operation. While he's away I suspect that Juan Veron will relish the opportunity to be the man on whom the team is built — that is if Ferguson chooses that path, and I don't see any alternatives at the moment. The Argentine is used to being the centre of attention and though he can't bring the energy and hard work of Roy Keane, he can dictate a game with his distribution and remarkable ability on the ball.

Oh Yes, The Football

Concentrating on the actual football this weekend, it was a mixed day for the midlands with Birmingham and West Bromwich Albion picking up their first three points of the season but Aston Villa folding under a Michael Ricketts penalty. Merseyside fared just as erratically with Everton losing out to an inspirational Nicolas Anelka hat trick and Liverpool throwing away a 2-0 lead to finish 2-2 with Newcastle. The Geordies nearly nicked the game in the dying moments only for Alan Shearer to direct the ball straight at Jerzy Dudek.

Meanwhile Andy D'Urso confirmed his status as the worst referee to ever set foot on a Premiership pitch, completely losing control of an unusually mild (at least until D'Urso really provoked the players) London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea. To compound his incompetence, the man in black has refused to look at Patrick Vieira's two yellow cards again even though the player who got him sent off (Jesper Gronkjaer) admitted after the match that he kicked Vieira, not the other way round. Not to mention that the challenge was identical to the one for which Aliou Cisse was sent off at Higbury for, and had his second yellow rescinded. What more does it take Mr D'Urso?

Aside from the Vieira decision, it was plain to all that Sylvain Wiltord should have gone for raising his hands to Gronkjaer — only for the Dane to attempt a double pike, full twist with a somersault, and get a yellow card for his troubles — I thought that was one of the more black and white rules?

There's a reason that officials often get a bad press, it happens when spineless, weasely, self important little Hitlers like Andy D'Urso refuse to admit that they are human and — like all humans — make mistakes. If I was that bad at my job I would expect the sack and now referee's are professional I, as a fan of the game they control, expect some accountability for their actions (or lack of them).

West Ham United are also beginning to confuse me. One week they're running Arsenal ragged and unlucky to only pick up a point, the next they're losing a poor game away. ‘Poor away form!’ everyone cries; then they lose 2-0 at home and find their selves propping up the Premiership with a measly one point. Charlton now have the best away form in the league (the only side to get 6 points from 2 games), and much of that is down to their outstandingly in form defender Richard Rufus. Over the past three weeks Rufus has been simply superb and will do well to keep it up over the season — one to keep an eye on.

Performance of the Week goes to Birmingham City for inflicting Leeds' second defeat in a week and picking up their first three points in the Premiership. The 2-1 scoreline just about did justice to the graft and craft of Steve Bruce's side and the Brummies can rightly claim to have played the better football and deserved all the points.

Goal of the Week has to go to Birmingham's Damien Johnson for the wonderfully crafted and beautifully finished match-winning goal against Leeds.

Player of the Week is awarded to Man City's Nicolas Anelka. In a week where no one player really stood out it's difficult to look past the contribution of Anelka for this award, a hat trick and a lot of hard work he's back to his best (for now).

Team of the Week ;

Mark Schwarzer
Middlesbrough
  Richard Rufus
Charlton
Sol Campbell
Arsenal
Marcel Desailly
Chelsea
 
Dietmar Hamann
Liverpool
Robbie Savage
Birmingham
Chris Marsden
Southampton
Matthew Etherington
Tottenham
  Alan Shearer
Newcastle
Nicolas Anelka
Man City
Tore Andre Flo
Sunderland
 

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