Events in the Premiership over the weekend were tainted by events at St James Park.
Graeme Souness felt as though he was in ‘Celebrity Newcastle United, Get Me out of here!!’ as two of his players were planning a pay per view fight on Sky Sports.
The fight that erupted between Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer was an embarrassment to the club, with Lee Bowyer proving once again that he defines the phrase a ‘loose cannon.’
It was an ugly sight as a snarling Lee Bowyer threw punches at a defensive Dyer. Souness leapt to Dyer’s defence, but on looking at the television replay, it is clear that words were exchanged before Dyer squares up to his team mate.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, a pundit on Sky Sports on Sunday morning commented that there would definitely be a history the pair although according to Souness, Dyer and Bowyer have since “had a laugh about it”.
The game by this stage was already out of Newcastle’s reach, they were 3-0 down to a Villa team looking to recapture the form of last season. A neat finish by Juan Pablo Angel put the visitors ahead, before two controversial Gareth Barry penalties sealed the points.
Inevitably, events off the pitch runied should have been a happy end to a relaxing week in Dubai for the Newcastle players, and the good news that Alan Shearer is playing on.
Chelsea edged ever closer to their first championship in fifty years with a comfortable 3-1 win over Southampton. Frank Lampard gave the blues the lead with a deflected free kick which beat a wrong footed Niemi.
The second goal was created by great individual play from Glenn Johnson, with the England pretender beating three men before squaring it to Gudjohnsen for an easy finish to make it 2-0 to Chelsea. The Icelandic forward finished neatly again in the second half from a lovely passing move by Chelsea, this was after Kevin Phillips had made it 2-1 with a good finish.
Chelsea turn their attentions to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, wondering whether Jose Mourinho’s touchline ban will hinder their chances of progression. But, on current form, it should not really matter. Lampard and Terry are leaders and drive the team forward and as long as they are intact, they should be too strong for Bayern.
Arsenal regained second spot from Manchester United with a 4-1 win over Norwich.
It was a surreal atmosphere at Highbury, with London rivals Chelsea about to win the league, optimisic North Bank chants of ‘Champions, Champions, Champions…..’ were greated with a stirring pain in the stomach of Arsenal fans.
Thierry Henry scored two opening goals of individual class and great finishing, a third goal was added by a Ljunberg header and Henry completed his hat-trick with an uncharacteristic sloppy tap in.
The biggest chear of the day was saved for the name of Gilberto, who looked excellent on his return from a lengthy layoff.
Elsewhere, Manchester United were frustrated by Blackburn Rovers in a 0-0 draw.
Wayne Rooney and Roy Keane both cracked shots against the frame of the goal, but Huhges’ resilient side defended extremely well, with New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen impressing,
Manchester United slip below Arsenal on goal difference and Blackburn look to be too good defensively now to go down. Hughes has done a great job sicne his appointment earlier this season and they are in a good position to build a good side.
West Brom recorded another superb result, beating fourth placed Everton 1-0 at the Hawthorns.
Hungarian international Zoltan Gera scored the game’s only goal with a close range header beating Nigel Martyn.
Everton looked poor and unimspiring as they continued their bad run of form. Manager David Moyes will be looking to turn things around quickly or they could risk losing their Champions League spot with Liverpool and Bolton are on their tail.
The chasing pair played each other on Saurday, with Liverpool sneaking a 1-0 win over Bolton. Croatian Igor Biscan won the game with a header four minutes from time.
Bolton looked good as well, and created some good openings, but it was the in-form utility man Biscan who was the hero for the day. Biscan has been compared to a new signing for Rafa Benitez, his form in Europe being one of the highlights of Liverpool’s season. After playing mainly at centre back under Gerard Houllier, Biscan has revelled in midfield in the absence of Didi Hamann. The Croat currently looks like a formidable creative force for Liverpool, a key player, especially in the upcoming game against Juventus.
Franck Quedrue, who will soon be eligible to represent the Republic of Ireland, scored the only goal of the game as Middlesbrough defeated struggling Crystal Palace.
Palace deserved something from the game, and would have secured a point if Andy Johnson had not squandered a number of chances.
Middlesbrough boss Steve Mclaren will be pleased with the win after a poor run of form, and hopeful that his team may have turned the corner.
Crystal Palace have a good chance of survival, but many teams at the bottom of the table are playing well, most notably West Brom and it looks like the battle to avoid the drop will go to the wire.
Portsmouth were sucked into the relegation battle when they took the lead at Craven Cottage through Lua Lua but conceded three second half goals to go on and lose 3-1.
Portsmouth looked extremely vulnerable defensively, as Andy Cole, Brian Mcbride and Luis Boa Morte all pounced for Fulham. After Malbranque missed a penalty in the first half, Coleman wound his team up and achieved a very important win for the west Londoners. For Fulham, this win moves them clear of a relegation battle.
Stuart Pearce looked to have secured his first win as caretaker boss of Manchester Ciy at the Valley, but unlikely goal scorer Chris Perry popped up to score on the back post and the game ended 2-2.
In truth, Charlton did not deserve any points from the game. A Herman Hreidarrson’s own goal was cancelled out by Shaun Bartlett after good work by Jerome Thomas. Robbie Fowler looked to have won the game for City but the unlikely hero Perry scored towards the end of the game.