Premier League Review: The Good, The Bad, and the Barton.

24 08 2010

The second week of the Premier League brought us the other two promoted sides having their day in the sun, Chelsea continuing to score goal after goal without conceding no matter how poorly they play, and Kevin MacDonald discovering the very definition of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’. United stumbled, Arsenal revelled and Manchester City finally showed us what all the money can do. Let us observe the good, the bad, and the ugly…

THE GOOD.

Gareth Bale’s volley. A week after tearing Micah Richards apart over and over at White Hart Lane, the Welsh wonder completed a brace at the Britannia Stadium. If one goal was lucky in being hammered off Bale’s chest and into the net, his second made up for it with gusto. A glorious left-foot volley hit on the turn, the Welshman staked an early claim for one of the goals of the season. It even included a vital feature of any classic goal, clattering the woodwork on its way in. Think Tony Yeboah, Roberto Di Matteo…

Baggies boinging again. After a torrid day out at Stamford Bridge last weekend, Roberto Di Matteo’s men came back with a bang at home to Sunderland. After only gaining international clearance to play in Saturday’s game on Friday evening, Peter Odemwingie scored a late winner on his debut to send The Hawthorns wild. Such was the importance of Albion’s first victory of the season, the club have even released a DVD to celebrate the occasion. Coming soon to a bargain bin near you…

THE BAD.

– Attendances. Do we just not like going to football anymore? Wigan’s first game in the Premier League in 2005 was a remarkable sell-out in a rugby town. The visitors in that game, Chelsea, visited again on Saturday evening, where more than half the ground remained empty. Even the loyal supporters of Newcastle United left 12,000 seats unfilled for their first home game back in the top flight. After Villa Park looked sparse last weekend, and the continual struggle to sell tickets at Old Trafford, the trend for ticket sales in the Premier League continues to be a worrying one.

Refereeing. Again. This time at Craven Cottage, as Peter Walton attempted to win some sort of award for the most horrendous decisions ever seen in one half. Whilst the first period of play passed without any relative incident, Walton’s indiscretions in the second half were numerous. Dimitar Berbatov found himself incredulous at being punished for a completely phantom handball, whilst Fulham were denied the stonewall-est of stonewall penalties when Nemanja Vidic hauled down Bobby Zamora in the box. Damien Duff deflected the ball onto his own arm for a soft penalty at the other end, but Fulham were again denied when the arm was the other shoulder, with furious protests again being waved away by Walton in the United box after the ball struck John O’Shea’s arm. This is all before we mention that Duff had already been booked before his ‘deliberate handball’, which probably means he should have been sent off for the incident. For half an hour on Sunday, Peter Walton couldn’t even get his mistakes right.

THE UGLY.

– Joey Barton is not a Nazi sympathiser. But, when you are Joey Barton, and you go anywhere your top lip in celebration, it’s probably best to avoid raising your arm in the air at the same time. Just saying…

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