Home > balotelli, Bolton, Football, gerrard, hodgson, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, mancini, Newcastle, Premiership, Soccer, torres, Tottenham Hotspurs > The weekend: From Man City and Nani to Newcastle and Maxi

The weekend: From Man City and Nani to Newcastle and Maxi

The weekend’s talking points:

(1): Man City are eight points off the leaders Chelsea after Molineux shocker.

He's not blind. They're sunglasses.

Wolves claimed a victory over Manchester City whose manager Roberto Mancini described his teams performance as the worst in his tenure as boss. City went ahead through an Emmanuel Adebayor penalty but were pegged back by Wolves who followed up a good Carling Cup performance at City’s rivals Manchester United in midweek with a deserved victory.

City ‘s mutinous dressing room shows no signs of breaking out in peace with Mancini reproaching first teamers including Joe Hart and Adam Johnson for a midweek drinking session in Scotland, after allegations of a bust-up between James Milner and Yaya Toure at half-time of City’s miserable 3-0 defeat to Arsenal last week. Adebayor and Vincent Kompany became embroiled in a row during Saturday’s defeat while big-money signing Mario Balotelli produced a shocking performance, compounded by a yellow card for dissent in the second half.

Verdict: Wolves get a much-needed win their performance deserved but are still lagging behind in the league. Mancini will be nervous after an awful City display and a non-existent team morale. City look nowhere near good enough to challenge for the title on this evidence.

(2): The goal that was. But shouldn’t have been. But was.

Nani scored a controversial second for Manchester United in their 2-0 win over Spurs in the late kick off on Saturday. The Portugese saw appeals for a penalty waved away before stopping the ball with his hand. Spurs’ keeper Gomes placed the ball down (nowhere near the hand ball it has to be said) as if he was taking a free-kick. Nani stopped rolling around and went to close the free-kick down, took a look at referee Mark Clattenburg who appeared to indicate nothing untoward as Nani rolled the ball into the net. Cue consultation with linesman amidst furious appeals and the goal stood.

United manager Alex Ferguson blamed Gomes, rightly so the keeper should have played to the whistle. Spurs manager Harry Redknapp blasted Clattenburg, rightly so, as not only did Nani take a theatrical tumble but he deliberately hand-balled and the referee should have blown his whistle. The goal took the gloss off a good win for United.

Here’s a better look, albeit without English commentary, at the goal.

Verdict: Good game, farcical end. Spurs should be worried about being a club that seems intent on qualifying from the group stages of the Champions League rather than retaining a place in the competition. They will probably qualify from the group. They will have a hard time qualifying for the competition via the league. A good win for United, who are staying in touch with Chelsea and Arsenal, despite not hitting top gear, or anything like it.

(3): Newcastle 5 Sunderland 1.

What a performance from Newcastle. Occasionally brilliant this season, sometimes woeful, a Kevin Nolan hat-trick and cracking performances all over the pitch, particularly from Andy Carroll and Joey Barton helped the Toon Army celebrate a famous win over their neighbours.

Nolan and Barton were outstanding in Newcastle's 5-1 win

But it could have been a different story had on-loan Danny Welbeck squared to an unmarked Darren Bent with the game tied at 0-0 in the first half. A tap-in would have given Sunderland the lead. Newcastle never looked back. Barton was sublime, superb passing and leaving defenders chasing shadows. Carroll showed impressive movement and link-up play and was unlucky not to register a goal. Shola Ameobi scored a perfect penalty and a cracking second. And while Kevin Nolan’s annoying wind-up-the-goalie routine continues from his days under Sam Allardyce at Bolton, seven league goals already this season is an impressive return.

Verdict: Newcastle were arguably better in this performance than the 6-0 drubbing of Aston Villa earlier in the season. Chris Hughton’s future had been the source of great speculation in recent weeks. Today they sit seventh in the league. A decent run recently comes to an end for Sunderland and with just eight points separating Newcastle from bottom-of-the-league West Ham, Bruce knows it will be tight at the bottom and Sunderland could find themselves in trouble if the allow themselves to be torn apart like they did.

(4): Hodgson’s Maxi delight

They left it late and it wasn’t pretty, but Liverpool have won back-to-back games for the first time under Roy Hodgson and gone to a stadium where it is tough to get wins against a well-organised Bolton team under Owen Coyle. A win for Bolton yesterday would have left them joint-fifth with Spurs. Liverpool’s win now leaves them level with Coyle’s men in mid-table.

What's eating Steven Gerrard?

That said, Torres and Gerrard, the men Liverpool fans hope will fire them up the table were awful yesterday. Gerrard hardly managed to complete a pass in the first half while Torres was worse, missing a one-on-one in the early stages that he normally found so easy in his first three seasons at Anfield. That Liverpool managed to win will be a mighty tonic for Hodgson with his star men so off-form. Excellent performances from the likes of Kyrgiakos, Lucas and Meireles helped, but David Ngog’s appearance from the bench will give the manager food for thought. The French man opened up the game as Liverpool applied some belated pressure late-on with Torres limping and out of form. It should of course be noted that bad game or not, the Spaniard’s back-heeled through ball for Maxi to score was sublime. Chelsea next for Liverpool after Napoli in the Europa League. The star duo will miss out on Thursday and Hodgson knows that his team are beginning to grow in confidence and if his stars show up on Sunday it could be a big test for the visiting league leaders.

Verdict: For Bolton, Gary Cahill showed once again why he is capable of performing on the biggest stage. Outstanding throughout, he was unfortunate to be nutmegged by a piece of brilliance from Torres but will have caught the eye regardless. Forwards Davies and Elmander played well without truly threatening Pepe Reina in Liverpool’s goal, but Bolton will fancy their chances of a top-half league place on this performance.

  1. antony
    February 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    manchester united lets go ahead andf make it

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a comment on this story

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: