Man City’s Sergio Aguero has once again proven himself as the Premier League’s brightest star after his devastating performance against Spurs on Saturday and Liverpool have proved the theory that says a team needn’t play well all the time to win games.
Arsenal have a frontline partnership that’s quickly becoming the envy of most as Danny Wellbeck and Alexis Sanchez have the makings of a pairing reminiscent of Liverpool’s S-A-S strike force from last season. Their rear guard could come under scrutiny for not playing to the whistle for Hull’s first goal to make it 1-1, while a spot of ball-watching could be to blame for the visitors’ taking the lead. But the Gunner’s have always looked at their dynamic best when moving the ball forward and pressure told as they showed great resolve to rescue a point on Saturday afternoon.
So these are my picks for another breath-taking instalment of Premier League football:
Result of the Weekend:
There is only one truly astonishing result that practically leaps off the results page, and that’s the 8-0 thrashing metered out by Southampton on Sunderland. Perhaps ‘thrashing’ is inaccurate, as Sunderland did contribute at least three of those goals to their own downfall … though that would still make it 5-0, which is a caning in anyone’s book.
The manner of their defensive collapse will have manager Gus Poyet’s blood boiling as they showed none of the fight and fortitude from last season that spared the team’s Premier League status.
Player of the Weekend:
This one’s another foregone conclusion, I’m afraid, as Sergio Aguero’s four-star performance condemned Tottenham Hotspur to a 4-1 defeat. Aguero has all the attributes to comfortably put him in and amongst the world’s greatest footballers: an unquenchable thirst for goals; he’s hardly ever out injured; and he has pace and guile in equal measure.
Miss of the Weekend:
To be perfectly honest, I haven’t watched all of the games this weekend, so I can’t be entirely sure about who this dubious award should go to. But I am quite sure Maroi Balotelli’s 61st minute miss against QPR takes the tiara.
With the goal at his mercy, after a fine shot and save by teammate Adam Lallana, the Italian blazed his side-foot shot well over the bar – and that under no pressure at all from the QPR defence.
In truth, Balotelli is far too talented a striker to be kept down for too long, but a miss of that magnitude will not do his confidence any favours.
Goal of the Weekend:
We’ve certainly not wanted for quality in the Premier League in this season or any other, and while Alexis Sanchez’s opener for Arsenal was something special, Sergio Aguero’s two goals from open play cannot go unnoticed.
Stephane Sessegnon’s first-time thunderbolt for West Brom against Manchester United after being teed up by Andre Wisdom could also make the end-of-season album, but there is one stand-out effort that eclipses all: Marouane Fellaini’s screamer from the edge of the West Brom area is simply head and shoulders above the aforementioned efforts.
Turning the ball away from his marker off his chest before shifting it onto his right foot was an object lesson in control and technique.
Game of the Weekend:
Manchester City and Tottenham had four penalties shared between them in a riveting match at the Etihad, while Arsenal and Manchester United shared spoils in equally thrilling fixtures they would have been expected to win.
But for sheer spectacle for neutral and hardened fan alike, nothing comes close to Liverpool’s emotional victory over bottom side Queens Park Rangers. Again, with Liverpool in the top half of the table and QPR propping up the league, the Reds would have been expected to walk a result at Loftus Road, but few accounted for the fight in Harry Redknapp’s side.
Rangers, by far the better team in the opening stanza and having gone down 1-0 in the 67th minute battled to get back on level terms with the match winding down. With three minutes of normal time remaining, a beautifully worked give-and-go routine between Eduardo Vargas & Charlie Austin and finished by the former appeared to have closed the game out at 1-1.
Philippe Coutinho had other ideas though, and scored through a crowded penalty area in the first of four added minutes with what was thought to be the winner. But the Londoners showed amazing fortitude to bite back again, as Vargas scored with a glancing near-post header that went through the legs of Joe Allen.
Again, Liverpool’s defence at set-pieces left a lot to be desired, but as irony would have it, it was from a poorly taken set piece (a free kick outside the Liverpoool penalty area this time) that Liverpool found themselves on the break to close the game out at 3-2. Dejan Lovren’s headed clearance found Coutinho, who in turn sent Raheem Sterling on his speedy way and his centre aimed at the hapless Mario Balotelli was toe-poked into his own net by Steven Caulker off an attempted clearance.