The truth is, everyone failed to do their job very well. Clattenburg had already infuriated most United fans by not awarding a penalty before he played a poor advantage. Nani was being petulant grabbing the ball when on the ground, but you cannot blame him for opportunism. Heurelho Gomes was well within his rights to assume it was a free kick, but when you play at the level he does his mistake was pretty amateur. The only person who saw everything was the linesman. His panicked flag waving as the Spurs players turned on him show that he didn’t really know what was going on!
Aside from the confusion, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United played out a fairly entertaining match that showed how much the Premier League has improved in the last couple of years. The Tottenham midfield was a far more glamorous selection than the home side’s, but the reaction of most Spurs fans to seeing Robbie Keane’s name in the starting eleven shows that the squad still has holes in it.
Chelsea had a result that most commentators are contractually obliged to describe as ‘a game champions win’. Blackburn showed enough clever, intricate play to make you wonder if Sam Allardyce is really allowed in the changing room and the second half counter attacking made you wonder if he is even allowed onto the training ground. Brett Emerton and Mame Diouf showed the rest of the league how to take the game to the champions. Any side with a better strike force than Blackburn will take confidence from the performance. Carlo Ancelotti will just be delighted that he has a couple of players who can turn it on when things are not going very well.
The Emirates finally got to enjoy a quality goalkeeping display as Robert Green kept a potent Arsenal attacking display at bay until the 88th minute. With moments to go Gael Clichy swung a cross in, which found Alex Song’s forehead about two feet from the goal line. The relief on Arsene Wenger’s face as he jumped from the bench mirrored the fury on Roberto Mancini’s face as he watched his side go down 2-1 at the Molineux.
The opening quarter of an hour also reflected the Emirates as City hammered Marcus Hahnemann’s goal only to fail to produce anything. Adebayor eventually scored from the penalty spot but City were not looking convincing. Once Wolves started getting the ball wide they never looked back. With 15 minutes to go and now chasing a 2-1 deficit Roberto Mancini looked to his bench to change the match. What confused everyone watching was his decision to throw the full back Pablo Zabaleta on and take Adebayor off.
Two weeks ago City looked like genuine title challengers. Somehow they have dismantled their reputation with the intricacy their on-field play lacks.
Sunderland fans will be doing their utmost to forget this weekend’s results; unfortunately Newcastle fans will probably never let their Wearside neighbours forget it. As if 5-1 wasn’t enough of a score line, they saw ex-Newcastle player Titus Bramble sent off and enjoyed seeing Newcastle born Steve Bruce utterly humiliated.
Fernando Torres provided Sunday’s other talking point. While his side may have stolen a late winner at Bolton, the Spaniard continued to play as if he couldn’t care less. Roy Hodgson may be feeling slightly better after recent results, but the manner of his side’s star striker will be giving him serious concern.
Mark Hughes took Roy Hodgson’s job at Fulham, and he is probably very grateful for the work his predecessor had done. Clint Dempsey scored both goals from crosses by each full back as Wigan continued to look fairly unimpressive.
Birmingham and Villa fans will have been drawn together by their experiences at Villa Park. Apart from Nigel Reo-Coker’s desperate attempts to get a red card the game was a grim affair.