It came, it saw, it conquered. The Premier League that is, after the opening weekend threw up its fair share of controversy, surprise, and even a one sided goal fest as it was welcomed back by fans up and down the country – Peter Crouch, however, will not be expecting quite the same welcome from fiancé Abbie Clancy.
Action kicked off Saturday when Man City visited Spurs, and City’s summer splurge was usurped by the one who cost them £500,000, goalkeeper Joe Hart. Anyone who had the Englishman in their fantasy team will have been thankful for the 11 saves, clean sheet, and bonus points for man of the match the City keeper received. Monkey spawn Gareth Bale tried his hardest, by not even he could beat the on-form keeper.
Then there were the 3 o’clock games, and the biggest surprise came up at Wigan. The home side’s 35 fans were streaming out of the gates long before the final whistle as they saw their side demolished by promoted Blackpool, tipped by many to have the worst sports season ever seen – even worse than San Marino’s national team, 0-6 being a good result.
4-0 was the score. Egg on the face of yours truly who tipped them to not even win a game. This is where the predictions end.
Villa recovered from the loss of Martin O’Neill to register a 3-0 victory over West Ham, with the help of a goal which looked like one of those goals you see in kids football when offside isn’t enforced. The linesman was probably just trying to liven up a boring game or something. By winning the game though, Villa have garnered the attentions of Diego Maradona. He wants to be boss. Diego, they don’t have any ex-Boca, Napoli, Argentine players, and you’re only allowed a squad of 25, not 75. Leave them alone!
Elsewhere the hotbeds of record-breaking crowds that are Bolton and Blackburn hosted games. Every man and his dog took a well earned 90 minutes nap, waking up only for half-time, as Bodog-sponsored Fulham took a point from the Reebok. Blackburn, meanwhile, capitalized on a howler from Everton keeper Tim Howard to win 1-0 through female striker Nicola Kalinic. You can’t help but think it might be slightly more exciting were the two clubs to give away free-tickets for the entire stadium – might fill it, instead of feeling like you’ve intruded on some cultural experiment into crowd groups, where everyone feels slightly awkward if the stadium’s more than half-full.
Sunderland and Birmingham also drew, as Lee Cattermole’s attempt to turn the game into his own version of the film Fight Club failed, as he was dismissed after around 40 minutes of battery. Sunderland had taken a two goal lead when Birmingham suddenly sprang into action as the 25 foot tall Nicola Zigic caused havoc at set-pieces to hand the blues a memorable draw.
You then had the lambs to slaughter encounter everyone had awaited – West Brom’s visit to Chelsea. Score 6-0. Enough said really.
By Sunday the country’s collective mouth was watering to uncontrollable levels, but by half time of Liverpool v Arsenal it was dry like the Gobi desert. Joe Cole’s heinous attack on Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny lit up the game just before half time, David N’Gog then putting the ten men ahead. All this before Pepe Reina decided that, after seeing it on holiday in Spain, beach volleyball was more his forte than football, and handed Arsenal a draw.
Tonight sees the much vaunted return of Monday Night Football, where you can see Manchester United beat Newcastle 3-0, Rooney hat trick, while Andy Gray fiddles around with an array of gadgets.