After a week in which the British transfer window was smashed up like a boxer facing Mike Tyson in his prime, not once but twice, the world’s favourite soccer league had to do quite some work to save face. Add to this that the Super Bowl was taking place on Sunday night and they needed a compelling case to show why they were still the best sport to be attributed the word football.
The Premier League couldn’t offer Christian Aguilera, the Black Eyed Peas, or Usher, but even without a Susan Boyle cameo the league managed to stick up for itself in the best way it knows how – GOALS!
By the end of what was quite possibly the craziest day in the league’s history we’d had headlocks, red cards, poor officiating by the bucket load, penalties, and wonder goals – and that was all just in one game.
After going 4-0 down after just under 25 minutes at home to Arsenal, Newcastle would have been forgiven for thinking that selling Andy Carroll was one big mistake. The fact that the game ended 4-4 would have dumbfounded all those hardy souls that felt like leaving the game just after the fourth Arsenal goal had gone in.
It seemed to hinge on Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby being sent off for taking a particular dislike to a tackle from Newcastle’s Joey Barton. Not known for his underzealous tackling, Barton did fly into the challenge as if launching himself into a bar room brawl but he got the ball and it was fair. Diaby pushed him to the ground by his neck and then captain Kevin Nolan was also floored and that was it.
With only 22 minutes left on the clock Newcastle were awarded their first penalty, Barton scored it and Nolan wrestled the ball from Arsenal’s keeper, complete with a customary head-lock. Next up it was Leon Best’s turn to score and suddenly there was a game on with 15 to go.
The second penalty to be awarded was dubious to say the least, but Barton tucked it away and then the stage was set for Cheick Tiote to seal the draw with a wonder volley from 25 yards. Each side had a chance to win it in the closing stages, but this is what the Premier League should be priding itself on every week.
Chelsea, who signed Fernando Torres and David Luiz for a combined £70-odd million, did the other big transfer window business but they lost out at home to Liverpool, thanks to a Raul Meireles strike, putting more pressure on boss Carlo Ancelotti.