Previous
Wellington Phoenix FC
Western Sydney Wanderers
6:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Melbourne Victory
Newcastle Jets
1
0
FT
Game Details
Hibernian
Rangers
12:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Celtic
Ross County
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
St Johnstone
Dundee United
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
KSC Lokeren
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
Read

That's why they call them the Blues

Few of us like Monday, but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from a week brimming with potential victims.

Clatt's life

What a good decision it proved for Sir Alex Ferguson to rest Howard Webb and bring Mark Clattenburg in for Manchester United's trip to Stamford Bridge. The Geordie referee played a blinder, infiltrating a classic top-flight match to such an extent that all the talk afterwards was about him and not the football.

No wonder Chelsea lodged an official complaint against him post-match, after he'd sent off Fernando Torres for having the temerity to invite Jonny Evans to rake a boot down his shin, reducing them to nine men, then allowing Javier Hernandez's winner even though the Mexican scamp was half a yard offside. All hell broke loose then, as a shower of coins rained down on Chicharito and a steward hit the turf with a knee injury. I'm surprised Clattenburg didn't book him for simulation too.

Di Matteo was fuming, naturally - even attempting to engage United's bench in a spot of wrestling at one stage - but Fergie was in his element, claiming Torres' dismissal was "his own fault". Offering not a shred of irony, he then said he was due a few calls at the Bridge, because "it is very difficult to get decisions down here". Oh, and unsatisfied with two red cards, one completely erroneous, he also insisted John Obi Mikel should have had his marching orders. Shall we just leave you in charge of the red cards next time, Lord Ferg? Would you prefer that?

Liverpool loves/hates* Suarez

David Moyes hinted in the build-up to the 219th Merseyside derby that Luis Suarez was fond of the odd swan dive now and again, and Everton's wild-eyed gaffer was proved absolutely right. He probably hadn't anticipated getting such a close-up view of the striker's tendency to go to ground, i.e. right in front of his dugout, but Luis was hardly going to let that dig go unpunished was he? It was like Klinsmann-lite.

Suarez's jokey dive was only marginally more comical than the one Phil Neville executed towards the end of the first half, a lamentable attempt at simulation that rightly earned a yellow card. Hilariously, Moyes found the funny side of Suarez's effort but not that of Neville, who received a severe telling off at half-time. What a way to go to make your manager look stupid, Phil. And you're supposed to be one of the experienced ones.

But a derby that was defined by Suarez, comprising the good (a goal, an assist and some delightful trickery), the bad (a potentially ankle-snapping stamp on Sylvain Distin) and the ugly (his front teeth) sides of his game, should also have been settled by him: a perfectly legitimate goal was ruled out for offside. Spare a thought for Steven Gerrard, too, as he'd run a full 30 yards to celebrate with the visiting fans before realising the flag was up and sloping back into formation.

*Delete where applicable

Cisse, you're taking the Papiss

It's a well-worn football cliché: when a striker is out of form in front of goal, his manager will say "he just needs one to go in off his backside" as withered hacks in the press pack roll their eyes. After last season's heroics, Papiss Cisse has looked about as potent as a wet lettuce in the current campaign, but his luck changed on Sunday when the cliché came true and his bumcheeks perfectly diverted a row Z-bound Sammy Ameobi shot into the net.

His inadvertent strike, at the opposite end of the spectrum to his Stamford Bridge showstopper, secured a thoroughly undeserved three points for Newcastle at the newly renamed (after 119 years of consecutive history) St James' Park. It also meant for only the second time since he joined Newcastle back in January that the planets in the solar system finally aligned as he and Senegalese soul-mate Demba Ba had found the net in the same game.

It could have been a completely different story if Romelu Lukaku had his shooting boots on, but for the second week in a row the bulky Belgian squandered a litany of chances. It was the perfect way to toast Newcastle's new deal with loan shark Wonga, which charges eye-watering interest on its short-term loans, and now has one of the North East's major institutions beaming its name far and wide around what is historically one of the poorest areas of the country.

Mike Ashley took plenty of stick, but he cares little for the club's soul - he's had it in a headlock since taking over. Alan Pardew has implored his players to forget the clamour and just go and there and give it 4,214% (the same as Wonga's interest rate).

The Man in the Glass (half full)

Nine games in and still no Premier League sacking, but two of our newly promoted gaffers are doing their best to get the heave ho before Santa has had time to let out his first boozy ho ho ho. Southampton and Reading are offering oodles of entertainment but both look as though they are making a comfortable little nest for themselves in the bottom three.

Southampton do at least have a Premier League win to their name - over the equally awful Aston Villa - but they seemed hell bent on shipping goals for fun at St Mary's. Even Nigel Adkins' burst of poetry in his pre-match presser failed to inspire his troops, all of whom I doubt have ever heard of Dale Wimbrow, or his 1934 poem "The Man in the Glass". Perhaps something from Wilfred Owen would have been more appropriate.

With the Saints suffering at home to Spurs, Reading rescued a point from their titanic tussle with Fulham. Brian McDermott clearly uses the same brain conditioner as Adkins, as both manage to be relentlessly positive despite results being anything but. In his scramble to varnish Reading's point in a shiny light, B-Mac even referred to the Cottagers as the 'Harlem Globetrotters'. If he's saying that about little old Fulham, what'll he say when Manchester City come to town?

Call me Sue

Saturday's early kick-off at Villa Park between Paul Lambert's new side and his old side was probably a Premier League record in terms of the amount of people involved in a match who are currently suing each other. Norwich are suing Paul Lambert, who is, in turn, counter-suing Norwich. It's like an episode of flippin' Dallas.

With a quarter of the season gone already, Lambert's decision to swap East Anglia for the Midlands seems to have been as successful as Red Dwarf X. The Scot left club record signing Darren Bent on the bench again and saw his team of unheard of and unheralded youngsters toil against a bright and enterprising side led by Chris Hughton, a man so genuine that the only chance he ever has of going to court is to do jury service.

Both clubs are being made to feel a little better than perhaps they should by the aforementioned newly-promoted sides, as well as the hapless QPR, who at least showed some pluck in their defeat at the Emirates. Mark Hughes now has one week to save his job according to our national press, with Reading at home to come next weekend - a match that may well be watched by Harry Redknapp. From the Loftus Road directors' box.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.