With league leaders Chelsea distracted by FA Cup trifles this weekend Arsenal and Man Utd were both greedily eyeing up top spot, albeit for only a brief while. Both achieved it, though for Arsenal it proved as fleeting as the form of Theo Walcott… who incidentally was on form this weekend!
ARSENAL 3 -1 BURNLEY
With Burnley mustering just 1 win in their last 14 I never really expected much of a contest here, and so it proved. But that was just one of the inevitabilities I perceived about this game.
Inevitability number 2 was that Cesc Fabregas would be the guy to get stuff done for Arsenal. Bored with half an hour of the Gunners prancing daintily around Burnley’s hapless defenders to little effect, captain Cesc decided enough was enough and strode decisively into the box to latch on to Nasri’s delightfully lofted pass. 1-0.
The 3rd inevitability comes in the form of the Arse’s oafish front-man Niklas Bendtner, and his comically erratic approach to trying to score. Arsenal must have laid more chances on a plate to him than I’ve had hot dinners… on plates, but with a head and two feet seemingly shaped like 50 pence pieces the ball kept poinging horribly wide every time he ventured near it. For a moment it looked like it might cost Arsenal, but quickly after David Nugent showed Bendtner how clumsy shinnies should be done to make it 1-1, Theo Walcott reminded us that he is capable of productive football every now and again by placing a precise left footer past Burnley’s Brian Jensen from 18 yards, much to the delight of Arsene Wenger.
In the end a trio of Arses went home happy. Arsene was happy with a routine home win, Arsenal were happy to go top of the table for half an hour, and Andrey ARS-havin was happy to help himself to Arsenal’s third goal in stoppage time. Altogether now, UP THE ARSE!
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 0 – 1 MANCHESTER UNITED
So. The arguable one man team (One-Man Utd) without their one man, Wayne Rooney. Could the United part get the vital win without him? Well, just abouts, thanks to a bit of vintage Paul Scholes. But boy did they take their sweet time about it. And, but for a miss in the last minute by Wolves substitute Sam Vokes that made Niklas Bendtner look like Marco Van Basten, United would be looking at 2 priceless points dropped.
United for the most part looked devoid of urgency and inspiration without their talismanic scouse striker, but then they’ve been below par with Rooney on the pitch for much of the season too. This time it was Paul Scholes to the rescue, popping up in the penalty area with 20 minutes remaining, to claim his 100th Premier League goal with a cleverly efficient finish. My favourite United player for so long this was a fitting goal to mark his century, arriving right on cue in the penalty area and flashing his shot ruthlessly into the bottom corner.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when Vokes spooned his last gasp effort over the bar, so I ended up doing both. The poor lad will have more regrets than an alcoholic waking up to a stonking hangover from falling off the wagon.
United and Arsenal move above Chelsea, who have a game in hand.
CHAMPION PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
Paul Scholes: 100 Premier League goals achieved with a decisive strike which rolled back the years to a time when he scored this sort of goal on a weekly basis. A golden nugget!
CHUMPION PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
Niklas Bendtner: Did his best to give Burnley a chance by spurning all of his. About as useful as a wardrobe without any hangers.
Still Chelsea, but the pressure is on!