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All Things Footie | Monday, September 23 | Jordan

Cheer Up, It's Not All Bad

If one thing's for certain, it's been a better week for Manchester United. After an easy victory over Maccabi Haifa in midweek — though the Israelis still managed to unpick the reds' defence, twice — a hard fought victory over Tottenham was just what the doctor ordered. In the kind of game that just haven't been going United's way recently, a penalty settled the game, tucked away well by Ruud Van Nistelrooy. There's definitely cause for concern for the Dutchman though, for his last goal from open play in the Premiership you have to go back to April.

A tale of another penalty at Highbury as Thierry Henry missed his third in a row. It failed to diminish the strikers overall performance though, on top of his well-taken goal he tore Bolton apart. In his Saturday Telegraph column, Freddie Ljungberg said he felt like he was going to fall apart after playing against Dortmund in midweek — it certainly didn't show on Saturday. Picking up where he left off last season, Ljungberg's textbook defence splitting movement caused Bolton no end of problems and his assist for Henry's goal topped off a superb performance.

It's worth giving a certain Nwankwo Kanu a mention too. I don't know anyone that doesn't love him as a footballer, he's there to entertain and enjoy the game, coupled with his charity work he a throughly likeable character. Which makes his poor form over the last 18 months so sad. He really made an impact against Bolton and his determination (not a word usually associated with Kanu) won Arsenal the game.

Peter Reid has got a lot of questions to answer. Both the fans and the board will want to know how their team approached their biggest game of the season with nothing more than a whimper. Reid was right to ask questions of his playing staff too because as he said, at the end of the day they failed themselves and the fans as much as he did. It would be wrong not to give Bobby Robson's Newcastle some credit too, on the back of an awful night in Kiev a derby win was just what the team needed to lift their spirits ahead of their midweek meeting with Feyenoord.

In a weekend that saw 400,000 countryside protesters march through London, it was a good week for football's rarest of rare breeds as two of England's most promising left footed players had absolute stormers. Lee Hendrie practically won the game for Villa on his own against Everton with two superb goals in the bag to boot and Blackburn's David Thompson was excellent in his team's superb victory over Leeds.

Both players have promised much and delivered little so far in their short careers. Hopefully Hendrie has finally sorted himself out and can bring his talent to the game without the unnecessary attitude and aggression that has characterised him so far. I've always thought Thompson was a bit tasty, I'm surprised he's spent so much time in Coventry (no offence sky blues fans). He really impressed me in his time at Liverpool and Coventry and I wouldn't be surprised if we see him and his Rovers compatriot David Dunn in the England squad before the European Championships.

Performance of the Week goes to Blackburn for conquering last week's winners of this award. After a luke warm start to the season, a deserved three points against a top six team will certainly boost the spirits.

Goal of the Week goes to Franck Querdrue for his cracking match winning free kick against Birmingham. His team needed inspiration and he provided it, simple as that.

Player of the Week is going to acknowledge the unsung hero for once. Kasey Keller was magnificent against Manchester United, it didn't save his team but he certainly did himself proud.

Team of the Week ;

Kasey Keller
  Darren Purse
Richard Rufus
Sylvain Distin
Man City
Freddie Ljungberg
Lee Hendrie
Aston Villa
David Thompson
John Arne Riise
  Jason Roberts
Craig Bellamy
Nwankwo Kanu

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