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Arbeloa to join West Ham - sources


Fifth official: The last look at the weekend

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 five-star weekend.

A Stylish attempt to make friends
There's only one place to start dear readers, and that is pointing at referee Rob Styles and cackling inanely until your vocal chords stop working. Exactly what was going through his tiny little brain as Jlloyd Samuel clearly won the ball in a tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo one can only speculate. Maybe it went something like this, "la la la, dum de dum, de dum, what to have for tea, la la,"

It was the most shameless attempt to get on Ronaldo's Christmas card list I have ever seen. Styles may as well have bent double and licked Ronaldo's boots just before he took the pen. Fair play to Fergie though, despite being gifted the softest of all pens he still found time to have a go at Styles for not having given United enough in the past. Knighthood or not, that man is astonishing.

Glory glory Tottenham Hotspur
Hello Spurs fans. How are you? Really? That bad? Oh dear. It just doesn't get any better eh? Well, allow me to cheer you up. Errrm, Juande Ramos' Engleeesh is getting better eh? That must be a cause for optimism, surely. No? Ok, how about this as a small crumb of comfort. At least after Wisla Krakow knock you out of the UEFA Cup on Thursday you can concentrate on your relegation battle eh?

And, you've got Hull City at home in the Premier League next weekend. Yes, the same Hull City who've just taken three points off title-chasing Arsenal and who executed the perfect smash and grab raid at Newcastle United just a few weeks ago. That should be straight forward don't you think? I mean, if you fail to win that one then you truly are a club in crisis. But you will win, won't you? WON'T YOU?!

There's a Joke In 'Ere
Last week I complained at having to write 150 words about how rubbish Spurs are, this week I'm furious I haven't got 15,000 words to elaborate on the farce at Newcastle United. I mean, how on earth am I supposed to sum up the sheer hilarity of the situation at Sid James' Park (What a carry on!) in just 150 words? It's like a comedian with four hours of top notch material trying to squeeze his best gags into a 20-minute slot. Plus, I've just wasted 100 of them complaining about the injustice.

So, Joe Kinnear. Eh? What! Who? Sorry, is this Plough Lane circa 1992 all of a sudden? It seems the only way anybody gets a job at St James Park these days if you are in Dennis Wise's gang of mates and that must be a very small gang because let's face it, he's about the most despised man in the game. Let's all hope he's out of a job soon and the process of repairing the complete mess Mike Ashley has made of running a football club can begin in earnest.

Tigers tame terrible Gunners

God bless you Hull City. One of the Premier League's most unfashionable sides (I'm sorry Tigers fans, but you are) swaggered into the very heart of cosmopolitan top-flight territory at the Emirates on Saturday and strolled out two hours later with the most unlikely three points since Steve McClaren outlined his three-point plan for England success during his interview for the top job.

Forget continental culture vultures like Fabregas, Clichy, Denilson and Adebayor; it was all about the gritty industrialists like McShane, Dawson and Ashbee; the sort of players I like to call the plumbers of the Premier League. Unspectacular, but vital to the success of your cistern, or team in this case. It was every man for the cause for those lads, who went about their gameplan expertly, namely get it off one of their glamour boys and give it to our one vaguely talented player, Geovanni, and see if he can lash one into the top corner from 30 yards out. Oh, look at that. It worked.

Torres finds his shooting boots
Well thank heavens for that, the first Merseyside derby of the season is out of the way and all the high pitched Scouse squeaking can stop. In the end it was a pretty tame affair, with only two goals and one sending off. Usually you can bank on at least three red cards from what is usually a feisty encounter. Saturday's seemed like it was being played in slow motion, or maybe it looked that way because I drank too much on Friday night.

It was quite predictable in the end; Torres ends his goal drought of, oooh, six games and Everton's defence capitulates in their own back yard in this season's customary manner. Poor old David Moyes looked at a loss to explain it, those beady eyes scanning the pitch and seeing no bottle or spirit whatsoever. That is until Tim Cahill tried to hack Xavi Alonso's ankle off with his right boot, and probably got a pat on the back from his ginger boss for being the only one who showed any passion at all, even if it was in the form of an attempted maiming.


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