Where has the time gone
18 March 2018 00:21 (South Africa)

Premier League Naphand: Five talking points, week 2

  • Antoinette Muller
    still-a-boy copy.jpg
    Antoinette Muller

    Antoinette thinks of the world and the people who live in it as a bear with a sore paw. She has a stick covered in thorns and she’s poking the bear. When she’s not doing that, she’s watching cricket and longing for the days of the boring, boring Arsenal.

  • Sport

It was a tedious weekend in the Premier League with a bunch of whole draws. So tedious it was that we’ve even found a way to mention the Championship in this weekend’s wrap. ANTOINETTE MULLER picks five talking points from a very dreary time out.

Wins for Liverpool, Arsenal and Stoke City on Saturday made for a rather timid afternoon in the English Premier League. It was followed by more subdued action on Sunday - that was until Cardiff beat Manchester City. It was an outstanding performance from the Welsh club. City was poor and Cardiff's Ben Turner was outstanding. He made 10 clearances for his side, more than his entire team combined. City struggled to defend from set-pieces and corner kicks and Fraizer Campbell became a household name, netting a brace and not winning a single tackle. For the first time in over 50 years, Cardiff played a home game in the Premier League and their fans celebrated doing the Poznan. It was a game that once again proved that, the more soccer is littered with errors, the more entertaining it is - and this didn’t even make our five points to talk about.

Will Arsenal actually sign anyone now?

Arsenal looked a different team to the side which lost to Aston Villa on the opening day. Between Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, they found the back of the net three times. Giroud now has three-in-three and Podolski looked equally apt. It’s curious to even think that Arsenal was trying to sign a striker just a few weeks ago. The strike force isn’t exactly Arsenal’s issue, though. They are pretty thin on defenders and since Alex Song departed for Barcelona a couple of seasons ago, they haven’t quite managed to replace that holding midfielder either. Jack Wilshere is starting to fill that role and he will grow into the role, so the attacking aspect of the squad is fairly balanced. A couple of injuries to the back four will leave Arsenal in some serious trouble and that is the real concern for the North London club. Arsene Wenger, coy as ever, cooed that he couldn’t say anything about transfers because he, well, didn’t have anything to say. After 17 players left the Grove and with just a week left before the transfer window slams shut, Arsenal looks unlikely to bring in reinforcements.

How exactly does one wave one’s forehead?

Yannick Sagbo was sent off for Hull City in the 1-0 win over Norwich. The referee showed Sagbo a straight red for what he deemed a head butt on Russell Martin. The commentator on the game referred to it as Sagbo “waving his forehead”. We’re not sure if the commentator was part of ANN7’s network of journalists, but it was certainly odd. It was a silly red card; Sagbo was hardly aggressive, and while he did put his head down and walk towards Martin perhaps a bit faster than usual, he should never have been sent off. On a rather dull Saturday in the Premier League, the commentary at least made for a mild bit of entertainment for a few seconds.

Sometimes, the Championship is more entertaining than the Premier League

Anybody who watches “lower league football” will always tell you that the lower league stuff is the real thing. None of this falling over and getting paid far too much money for kicking a ball around. That was (sort of) true this weekend, but most of it involved off-field antics in the Championship. Charlton and Doncaster's game was called off at half-time, with Doncaster 1-3 up, but that's not where the entertainment started. After 26 minutes, with Rovers 0-3 up, the pitch was so wet that play had to be suspended. With Rovers desperate for play to get going again, the players themselves got stuck in to help clear the water. They managed to get things going, but the pouring rain meant that the referee deemed conditions unsafe at half-time. The match was abandoned, much to the dismay of Doncaster. Things will have to start all over again once a new date has been set and just to rub salt in their wounds, Doncaster will be without Paul Keegan for a few games as he was given a red card which will still count, despite the abandonment of the match. Elsewhere in the Championship, Millwall’s kit man forgot to take their kit with to their match away against Sheffield Wednesday. Play had to go on and The Owls kitted Millwall out in one of their old strips. It was as shambolic as things could get and by half-time the Lions had managed to get hold of their won kit. Not without being thoroughly embarrassed, though.

Chamakh and Arsenal were never suited to each other

Remember Marouane Chamakh? He of the brill cream hair who was seemingly built for no other reason than to frustrated? He’s playing at Crystal Palace now and he’s looking pretty solid. The Morrocan international is best when he is attacking directly, since he's not very good on the ball. That didn't suit Arsenal's style of play. He has looked far more natural at Crystal Palace and he even completely bossed Stoke's Ryan Shawcross in the box to find the back of the net. He’s unlikely to become a leading goal scorer, but the move away from Arsenal will be the best thing Chamakh has done for his career and he could very well be the player to help keep Palace from dropping back into the Championship.

Bye, bye Bale

At the time of writing, the Gareth Bale to Real Madrid deal was all but done. Tottenham Hotspurs X-Factor man was soon to be sent on his way to Spain for a mammoth transfer fee. Despite Madrid being in massive amounts of debt, they weren't shy of shelling out a little bit more on their overdraft to secure the signature of the Welshman. It's not all bad for the Spurs, though. They've already done good business in the transfer window, perhaps anticipating the departure of their main star. Losing Bale is a big loss for the Spurs, but at least their dealings in the transfer window would have created some sort of optimism amongst the fans and, perhaps, a sense of realism. When Bale was at Spurs, he could change games. That often results in delusions and unreasonable expectations. This time, there will be far more realistic expectations of the team. As for Bale's ridiculous transfer fee, the less said about that, the better.

Premier League weekend results:

Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool

Southampton 1-1 Sunderland

Hull City 1-0 Norwich

Fulham 1-3 Arsenal

Stoke City 2-1 Crystal Palace

Newcastle 0-0 West Ham

Everton 0-0 West Brom

Tottenham 1-0 Swansea

Cardiff 3-2 Manchester City

To play on Monday

Manchester United vs Chelsea

Photo: Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger reacts before their English Premier League soccer match against Fulham at Craven Cottage in London August 24, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

  • Antoinette Muller
    still-a-boy copy.jpg
    Antoinette Muller

    Antoinette thinks of the world and the people who live in it as a bear with a sore paw. She has a stick covered in thorns and she’s poking the bear. When she’s not doing that, she’s watching cricket and longing for the days of the boring, boring Arsenal.

  • Sport

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