Monday, 28 November 2011

Three Things We Learned This Weekend

The Urbanite's weekly football round-up is back by popular demand.  After an eventful weekend of football, here are the three key things we learned:

Man Utd Do Get Dodgy Decisions Given Against Them at Old Trafford

Ask any seasoned football fan, and they will tell you that Man Utd always get favourable decisions at Old Trafford.  Remember Wayne Rooney's dive that ended Arsenal's 49 game unbeaten run?  Or how about the countless times Christiano Ronaldo fell over in the penalty box, unaided by nothing other than the wind, only for the referee to point to the penalty spot.

Well this weekend, Mike Jones (the referee, not the rapper) showed us that like swings and roundabouts, dodgy decisions at Old Trafford do go round full circle.  The blame cannot all fall on referee Jones, who had initially given a corner and only changed his mind after the linesman flagged for a penalty.  Blame should also go to Hatem Ben Arfa, whose claim for the penalty was as ludicrous as it was dishonest.

It is, however, hard for one to feel sympathy for a team that continuously gets dodgy decisions in their favour.  For one of the first times, Sir Alex Ferguson will know what it is like to come away from Old Trafford feeling cheated.  And maybe that may change his stance the next time one of his players goes down like a ton of bricks in the box and 'wins' United a penalty.

Steve Bruce is in Real Big Trouble

Sometimes in life, you just have to put your hands up and admit that you got it wrong.  After impressing The Urbanite against Liverpool in their first game of the season, Sunderland were our tip for a top six place ahead of....ahem....Spurs.  I know, bad call.  Since that game the Teesiders have been on a constant freefall, culminating in a loss this weekend to lowly Wigan.

But maybe the warning signs have been there since not only the start of the season, but the start of the year.  Sunderland have only won two games at home since the New Year, and their away form is not much better.  They have taken only 11 points from 13 games this season and, on form like this, are slowly becoming favourites for the drop.

It is not like Bruce has not had the means to do well.  With over 45 million in the bank from the respective sales of Darren Bent and Jordan Henderson, Bruce has been unable to revamp his squad to a considerable degree, with strikers like Conor Wickham, Sun Ji Yung and Nicholas Bendtner failing to fill Bent's shoes.

Reports on Monday suggest that Bruce has two games to save his career.  Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but if Sunderland fail to beat Wolves and Blackburn in the next two weeks, Bruce's big head will be turning off the Stadium of Light for good.

And the Spurs Keeping Marching On, On, On

Sometimes in life, you have to admit that you got things wrong....twice!  Along with predicting big things for Sunderland, The Urbanite seriously thought that Spurs would struggle to get a top four finish this season.

We had good reason to believe this.  Modric was on his way out, 'Arry had failed to sign a big boy striker who could finally put away all the chances that Spurs created and Ledley King looked like he would struggle once again to make the final Tottenham squad, let alone play consecutive games.

Well all that has now changed.  Modric is staying, with his chance of going to Chelsea now looking highly unlikely (and why would he go, anyway!), 'Arry wheeled and dealed and got his target man in Adebayor (who has not forgotten how to score goals) and in Scott Parker, Spurs may have made the best piece of transfer business in the Premier League. They are now unbeaten in ten league games, winning 9 and drawing 1, and when 'Arry says that Spurs can challenge for the title, we all laugh but nervously look around, hoping that it can't be true.

This is most probably his last season at the club, before he takes the England job, and Redknapp has got Spurs on fire.  Laugh at your peril, because Spurs are only going to get better and better.  Until King gets injured, of course!

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