The Weekend Awards are a somewhat serious, somewhat tongue in cheek affair in summary of the best and worst of the Premier League. Touch and go at top and bottom so here’s what stood out.
Highlight of the Weekend
Liverpool show they are more than just Luis Suarez + 10 others
Yeah, Newcastle aren’t great but they did finish 5th last year so it’s not like Liverpool have just put 6 past the 2007/08 Derby County team. Without Suarez a lot was expected of Daniel Sturridge and I tipped him to be successful on the Premier League Stock Exchange and so it proved. Thrust in to his preferred central spot he scored two, including one special one, of which more later. He ran rings around the defence and opened up a whole world of space for Player of the Week Coutinho to run riot in his most impressive display of many since arriving in January. The rejuvenated Jordan Henderson looked great in midfield as did Gerrard and Lucas. Is this the real Liverpool or is it the one that drew 0-0 twice in a row against West Ham and Reading? The great frustration for their fans.
Lowlight of the Weekend
Reading 0-0 QPR
This game was an embarrassment for both football clubs; the players, management and most importantly, the fans. Fair enough, you’re going to draw 0-0 from time to time, particularly two sides which lack a proper goalscorer. But what cannot be forgiven is the lack of application and any sign of quality and purpose that both sides were blighted by. This wasn’t the lively Reading that have pushed big teams at the Madjeski this season. Both teams seemed to be playing an end of season friendly to prepare for next season and it was a disgraceful ‘effort’.
Goal of the Weekend
Daniel Sturridge (1st) vs Newcastle
For the second week in a row it is an excellent Sturridge finish from a sublime pass which wins this. Coutinho robbed Ben Arfa on the halfway line, sauntered forwards up towards the Newcastle box whilst Steven Taylor ran away in panic and then flipped the ball up and over him straight to Sturridge who steadied himself before lashing the ball in to the roof of the net. Beautiful and savage in combination.
Really?! Moment of the Weekend
Figueroa and Robles lax play costs Wigan
You’re in the drop zone, you’re against Spurs, you’ve got Gareth Bale hounding you in your own penalty box. Do you a) smash the ball out to safety? or b) try and play your way out? Well unfortunately for Wigan Figueroa and Robles chose the latter. Robles had two chances to pump it away, Figueroa one, and neither chose to. In the end the denouement was humiliating for Robles who tried to chip it over the onrushing Bale but just kicked it straight at him and it flew in to the net. Oh dear.
What are you doing?! Moment of the Weekend
Bacary Sagna goes in to meltdown
It was bad enough that Sagna had lost a sloppy ball to Robin van Persie by under hitting what was already a difficult ball to play correctly, but then after van Persie had been shown wide by Per Mertesacker Sagna launched a sliding tackle in to him from behind with the inevitable result of a penalty which was slammed home. A moment of zero danger against a lack lustre United suddenly became a disaster and cost Arsenal two precious points.
Most Deceptive Result of the Weekend
Everton 1-0 Fulham
This was deceptive because Everton should have absolutely battered Fulham. The likes of Fellaini missed easy chances against a Fulham team that seems to be on an early summer holiday having secured safety. Everton might well have steam rollered Fulham and yet somehow nearly squandered even what they had.
One man team of the Weekend
Romelu Lukaku vs Southampton
Lukaku is the answer to Chelsea’s problems if they will just realise it themselves. He was dominant against Southampton and was responsible for all three goals as West Brom surprisingly won 3-0 at St. Mary’s against an in form Southampton unit. He ran the recently decent Saints defence ragged.
Best Refereeing Performance
Robert Madley – Southampton vs West Brom
Making his debut in the Premier League Madley had an outstanding game, and contrary to idiotic commentary, a game he would dream of. He gave three red cards, all of which correct. He had a goal given when the ball crossed the line before being hacked out and allowed for a positive flow to the game.
Whilst I’m here, why wouldn’t the referee have wanted to give three red cards? If anything, it showed that he wasn’t intimidated by his new surroundings and made correct decisions. Who cares how many reds he dishes out if they are all fair? He had an excellent game.
Most Bizarre Team Selection
Alan Pardew vs Liverpool
Pardew picked a five man midfield, all of whom are most comfortable in central areas. So who offers the quality and width? Bafflingly, despite this Newcastle were still carved apart centrally at times and despite picking only one attack minded player his team shipped six. No less startlingly in his pre-match summary ESPN commentator Chris Waddle descirbed the team as ‘well balanced’. Uh huh…