I felt, at one point during Saturday’s games, that naff-all might happen, and that I might as well go shopping for soft furnishings; defensiveness (yawn) reigned supreme at Swansea-Sunderland and Villa-Wolves. The latter result leaves Wolves (for whom Jamie O’Hara and Roger Johnson) in third spot – for the top eight or thereabouts, the more points they can get on board early on the better.
Blackburn missed two penalties in a 1-0 defeat against Everton, whose own winner came from a contentious injury-time spot-kick despatched by Mikel Arteta. I feel bad about sniggering now, but would wager they’ll beat the drop.
It doesn’t look good at the moment for QPR, whose hopes will rest upon newly-philosophical Joey Barton and investment from new owners. A 2-0 defeat at Wigan, for whom Moses, Di Santo and Rodallega looked excellent, really highlighted the deficiencies that QPR need to address. Similarly, Newcastle never really needed to break sweat against a Fulham side that look worryingly tired and under-strength.
No such issues at Man City, of course, with a comprehensive rout of Spurs. In North London there will be twitching (not least from ‘Arry) and wailing aplenty now that both its teams are falling away from the top table; not so at Eastlands. Nor at Liverpool, for whom the return of one of its favourite sons in Dalglish has really galvanised the club.
And all this after their star striker departs, only to fire blanks at his new club. Who’da thunk it? Torres and Chelsea made heavy work of a determined Norwich side in a game that augured rather better for the visitors.
Finally, another good result for Stoke at West Brom, following European exertions and if they can push through a deal for Palacios and/or Crouch of Spurs, they’ll have a real chance of matching last year’s achievements.
By Alex Hales