By Alex Netherton and Andi Thomas
In a world almost utterly bereft of joy, those of us who look towards football to provide distraction and satisfaction are probably misguided. Having said that, some of us need to pay the rent, and as such work gets done, words get written, and you get to enjoy some works of towering excellence. This is one of them. This is the Premier League Diary.
Fulham 0-1 Manchester United
Sans Berbatov, Fulham were able to perform to the standard you could expect: quite well. Sans Berbatov, Manchester United were able to perform to the standard you could expect: quite well, and able to rely on past expenditure and muscle memory to get them through another game that they would have cantered their way through a few years ago. Remember Ronaldo? He had, what was that thing? Flair. And he’d do goals as well. He was the complete package, so obviously he was booed at most grounds in England. Anyway, he’s gone now, so the booers must be very happy watching Manchester Sleepwalking Their Way to Another Title United.
Arsenal 1-0 Stoke City
A real potential banana skin for Arsenal, you may have been told by the experts on Sunday Supplement (one of whom, Martin Samuel, claimed that David De Gea was United’s third or fourth keeper to replace Van Der Sar). Except, of course, Stoke City have never taken a point from the Emirates, despite it being roughly as intimidating a fortress as a really small sandcastle after a really big wave. At which point it might be worth pointing out that Tony Pulis can no longer justify the sight-offence of his team if he’s not able to get them to rise above their average offering at least once. The novelty has worn us for everyone else, surely it must have done the same for Stoke’s fans, and you’d hope, players. Footnote: With that stat about Stoke City we became the king of stats, address us as such from now on.
Everton 3-3 Aston Villa
As Everton return to type, to be overtaken by Arsenal, at least there’s the chance to comment on Aston Villa’s battling performance. Taking unexpected points is the kind of thing that can inspire relegation survival: the kind of thing you can see being put into a montage called ‘The Great Escape’ with sentimental music playing along in the background, which, after two and a half long minutes brings a tear to your eye, which you then wipe away and say was just your hay fever and start a brawl to defend your honour, resulting in you going to hospital with a collapsed lung but you got the other guy better than you so it’s all happy in the end. However, losing a 3-1 lead is the kind of thing that can encourage everyone in the squad to just sit down on the grass and just wait for the summer. Goodbye, Villa. It’s been misc.
Newcastle 3-2 Chelsea
Poor Rafael Benitez. Scribbling helplessly in his notebook as Chelsea escaped St James’ Park with absolutely no points. We can reveal the contents of the notebook: ‘I am finished.’ There were also some sketches of a possible new beard style he wants to try, but it didn’t look good.
Reading 2-1 Sunderland
Don’t care. The most interesting thing about these two teams is that one, Reading, give a squad number to their fans, while the other, Sunderland, give a squad number to their manager. Relegation’s too good for the pair of them.
West Ham 1-0 Swansea
Don’t care. They’ll stay up, so they won’t have any emotions for the foreseeable future. You think that not caring doesn’t count as an opinion, and yet here it is in what is essentially an opinion piece – work that one out.
Wigan 2-2 Southampton
Nobody watched this. All the match reports in the papers were made up, a group of journalists who couldn’t face watching it just agreed to report this score and not kick up a fuss. And good on them for it, not enough lies are told in football or sport in general.
QPR 0-0 Norwich
As ones who have stayed in one of Tony Fernandes’ hotels, let us be the first to say that he has questionable opinions on what truly represents value. If you employ Harry Redknapp after everything that is obvious, and everything that isn’t reported as fact, then you deserve everything you get.
West Brom 0-1 Tottenham
This week on Twitter, the hashtag #AskBale became a popular way to ask everybody’s preferred Welshman a question. While our favourite was, ‘Is it true that it’s big enough for you to tie it in a knot?’ the most apposite one to report after yet another excellent goal is, ‘Can you please stop doing that celebration?’ Look at him, every week, acting like he’s so great, just because he happens to be great, it’s offensive.
Man City 2-2 Liverpool
Before the game, we were all told that Liverpool had yet to win a game against a top 10 team. Well, shows what the media knows, doesn’t it? Because after yesterday, when Pepe Reina gifted an underwhelming Manchester City – who appear to be in a passive aggressive argument between players and manager – an equaliser, we all saw Liverpool put that little statistical oddity to bed. Nope, hang on, they drew 2-2 and remain without a victory against a top 10 team. Brendan Rodgers, onwards and upwards. Well, onwards.