A record equalling result for Fulham on Saturday! We’ve drawn level with Ipswich for the most number of draws in the opening 17 games of a season! Whoo! Go Team!! I imagine Sparky, and us fans, had hoped for more at the start of the season. And lets hope that just as Ipswich did that season, we too escape the drop (albeit they had a larger league back then).
The Fulham Sunderland fixture has hardly been a goal gold mine in the past and given our recent form it was not really any surprise it ended this way, though expectations were of a full three points to be taken from it. With Bobby and Dembele missing up front the side have lacked any sort of cutting edge or confidence. Though Sparky thinks it’s more down to luck that we’re not picking up points in three’s rather than singular:
“We’re lacking a bit of luck… We’re scrambling to get that win that will settle everyone down. There was initially some anxiety in our play. In the second half I thought we took the game to them and deserved to win.”
Whereas Bruce seemed quite content with his sides outing.
“I couldn’t fault the effort or endeavour and this was probably the youngest side we’ve ever put out in the Premier League
And he wasn’t wrong, it was also the youngest side out on show in the Premier League too. The Black Cats side’s average age was 23 years and 362 days old, whereas the Whites was 31 years and 21 days – which was the oldest in the league.
Afterwards Sparky would be asked if the rumours the Dempsey was being lined up by Wolfsburg and Liverpool for a January move and he laughed down his sleeve at the suggestion. He also went on to pooh-pooh recent speculation about recruitment in the goalkeeping region too.
“There has been a bit of confusion about that [Guillermo Ochoa on trial at the club].
“I think he is actually on holiday here from Mexico and he knows Carlos but he hasn’t been at the club and he hasn’t trained.”
For the first time since January, thankfully for us, Man City mustered a win without Carlos Tevez in the side. It’s something they will have to get used to doing more often seemingly after the story broke after the game that the Argentine handed in a transfer request last Tuesday night for the club to reject it. It appears the forward, although the highest paid player in Europe, isn’t happy. Though things appear to have changed fairly swiftly in the world of Carlos. Way, way back on December 7th 2010 he said:
“A sacrifice has to be made when you make a commitment like I have done with City and it is something I am going to see through. Once that job is done I will have plenty of time with my kids.”
And then flash forward to Sunday:
“I wanted to leave in the summer, but was convinced to return to the club. Sadly, my feelings have not changed.”
The win at Upton Park lifted the Blues to joint top of the table on Saturday evening, level on points with Arsenal, and kept the Hammers bottom. Toure, a Green own goal and Johnson ensure the Hammers didn’t move in table with a consolation goal late on from Tomkins.
Gerrard Houlier improved his standing with the Aston Villa fans by beating local rivals West Brom by the odd goal in three at Villa Park. Emile Heskey getting on the score sheet has got to be the worst part of it for Baggies fans. Also in local derby action in the midlands were Wolves who picked up a win to draw level on points with us by defeating Birmingham City. Brum having won just four of their last 27 league games are starting to get drawn towards us at the foot of the table. Steven Hunts first half goal was enough to secure the win against a poor blues side, making them look the most likely out the current bottom three to put up any kind of a fight to not get cut off from the rest of the pack.
If only away points counted this season Blackpool would be sat third (can anybody guess where we’d sit?) after their fourth away victory of the season at Stoke. A one nil victory through a DJ Campbell goal ended Stokes five match unbeaten run and gives them an impressive 22 point haul from their first 16 games.
Alan Pardew got off to a winning start with the Barcodes. Though with Uncle Roy’s record sitting at one away win in his last 27 attempts the result at the other St James Park probably wasn’t a surprise. After a demonstration outside the ground before kick off the home side took an early Nolan goal lead before being cancelled out through Kuyt, the home side won the game with goals from Barton and Carroll’s tenth goal of the season.
Everton drew their 201st game in the Premier League against Wigan. Only two points off the relegation places themselves Everton couldn’t breakdown a surprisingly resolute Latics defence. And with Toffees boss Moyes admitting he could flog Pienaar in January to raise funds for a much needed goal scorer, things aren’t too Rosie and Jim at Goodison. Afterwards, he said:
“The worrying thing is we are not beating teams at Goodison Park who, over the years, we have done.
“I am saying ‘Is this something else other than just not scoring goals?’ and I am finding it hard to look further than that.
And with Saha having not found the net since the early part of 2010, recruiting a forward must be a priority in January for the Blues as well as ourselves.
Yesterday in the Premier League, and for the second Sunday running, every goal scored was done so from the left foot. Drogba missing a late penalty kept this fact intact and meant that honours were even between Spuds and that lot down the road. Still without a league win since they sacked Wilkins, the blues went behind to a Pavlyuchenko strike in the first half thanks to a nervous looking defence. After being introduced as a substitute during the second half Drogba levelled the game before failing to convert the spot kick.
Also on Sunday Bolton beat Blackburn 2-1, which turned out to be Big Sams final game at Ewood Park. Monday afternoon saw Big Sam get his marching orders with Cookies old mucker Steve Kean taking temporary charge there. Now the first managers gone, could this be the start of the Managerial Merry-go-round?
And of course, last night Sky dished up Man Yoo versus Arsenal for us. A PArk goal was enough to see the home side take the spoils and return them to the top of the tree. Along the way Rooney found time to blast a spot kick over the bar too.
Next weekend we’re popping up to see Uncle Roy for a Saturday Evening date on ESPN. Until then, we’re sat in 17th place saved from the horror of occupying a bottom three place by thanks to out better goal difference than the other losers. Still, worse things happen at sea.