It was a weekend that saw more goals in one game week than any other in the Premier League so far, but it will likely be remembered for a couple of notable shots that didn’t hit the back of the net.
Ronnie Rosenthal probably raised a glass to Fernando Torres last night, but to be fair to the Israeli former Liverpool striker, he did at least manage to hit the bar with his own miss of the century.
Torres will be doubly frustrated as he appeared to be returning towards the sort of form that once had established defenders left in pieces; the old adage is that ‘you have to be there to miss’. It remains to be seen but Torres would probably wish that he was nowhere near there.
Wayne Rooney’s horror penalty doesn’t really fall into the same category – he clearly slipped as he was about to strike the ball – but he too had a mixed day in which he could and should have been entering the record books for a third consecutive league hat-trick.
None of the glaring misses should detract from Nani’s wonder goal; for all the hyperbole that surrounds Cristiano Ronaldo, his successor is making very good progress along the same path.
Manchester United’s triumph coupled with Manchester City’s surrender of a two-goal advantage at Fulham means that Alex Ferguson’s side has opened up a two-point lead at the top. For City, there will be annoyance at letting the grip on the match that the brilliant Sergio Aguero had given them but solace in the fact that they have started the season as their city rivals’ only genuine challengers.
Tottenham put Liverpool to the sword at White Hart Lane, and while they were helped in their cause by the dismissals of Charlie Adam and Martin Skrtel, Spurs were full value for their win with Luka Modric pulling the strings. Emmanuel Adebayor grabbed a brace, the first of which involved an exquisite touch that belonged on a PlayStation.
Adebayor’s former club Arsenal continue in their quest to finish 7th, with an abject defensive display at Blackburn seeing them succumb to a 4-3 defeat. That’s a third defeat of the season already for the embattled Arsene Wenger, and it would take a brave man to put money on their ending the six-year wait for a trophy – over a third of Wenger’s reign – this time around.
The Joey Barton Circus arrived in Wolverhampton this weekend, with the Orwell-quoting, cigar-stubbing midfielder resuming acquaintances with Wolves skipper Karl Henry at Molineux. For all his faults, Barton is a very good player and he won the personal battle on a great day for QPR’s new-look side. They brushed aside Wolves with a performance that suggests they are gelling very quickly.
Fellow new-boys Swansea and Norwich also fared well. Swansea recorded their first Premiership goals and win, easing past West Brom, while Norwich put in an impressive display to come away from Bolton with a win. Bradley Johnson scored with his head – the radar for that appears to work brilliantly, as opposed to the one governing his left foot; Norwich fans sat behind either goal this season at Carrow Road would do well to borrow the hard hats that are no longer needed at Elland Road since his departure.
Steve Bruce finally had something to cheer about at Sunderland, as Stoke’s European jaunt caught up with them. The Mackems were in control from start to finish and ran out convincing 4-0 victors.
The Stadium of Light supremo had every reason to be delighted with a comprehensive performance from his team, but instead chose to use his post-match interview to target one reporter who said he had 48 hours to save his job and lament how the gossip was just ‘something about the North-East’.
Is it really that grim up north, Brucey?
In Spain, Real Madrid surrendered the title chase with defeat at Levante. Barcelona’s 46-0 triumph over Osasuna the day before saw them recover from their self-inflicted draw against Real Sociedad last week and pursue their chase of Valencia and real Betis, who continue to set the pace.