The latest high profile Jerzy Dudek error earned Manchester United their first win at Anfield for 5 years in this week’s main match in the English Premiership.
The spotlight has fallen on Dudek in recent games after the Polish international committed a number of mistakes, notably against Middlesborough, Fulham, and in the Champions League against Basle.
This week, arguably the Premiership’s fiercest rivalry was settled in three second half minutes. Diego Forlan, often the butt of opposition fans’ taunts, had the last laugh this time, profiting from Dudek’s inexplicable faux-pas when he failedto gather a straightforward backpass. The Uruguayan scored a second just minutes later.
“Until Jerzy’s mistake, it was even”, Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier commented after the match.”But you can’t legislate for mistakes like that.”
Sami Hyppia’s consolation was not enough to keep the heat on Arsenal, who started against Aston Villa where they finished against Roma. Thierry Henry continued his terrific run of form, scoring almost an exact replica of the free-kick he scored in the Stadio Olympico, as well as the third in a 3-2 win at Highbury.
Chelsea closed the gap on second-placed Liverpool with a thumping 3-0 win against Sunderland. They had their centre backs to thank this week, as goals from French international colleagues Marcel Desailly and William Gallas piled more misery on the beleaguered Sunderland coach Howard Wilkinson.
Newcastle put a halt to Everton’s recent good run, although it needed Joseph Yobo’s first half sending off to turn the game the Geordies’ way. Midweek fall-guys Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy both scored late goals to ensure at least one success in the north east this weekend.
At the other end of the table, the crisis at Leeds United continued, as Terry Venables’ side crashed at home again, this time 1-2 to lowly Charlton. After seeing the fifth consecutive loss at home, home fans expressed their disgruntlement at El Tel’s tenure, whilst the war of words between Australian counterparts Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka will surely not help matters.
“I am not throwing in the towel”, said Venables after Sunday’s defeat, although he is now the bookies’ favourite to be the next Premiership manager to be sacked.
Wins for West Brom and Man City, over Middlesbro’ and Bolton respectively, plunged Leeds even closer to the relegation zone. The other fixtures this weekend saw Birmingham earn a draw with Tottenham, whilst Blackburn beat Fulham 2-1 at Ewood Park.
Bottom of the table West Ham entertain Southampton on Monday night.