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Sep 14, 2009

Adebayor's Antics

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.

Adebayor's Antics

How to spoil a perfect day, by Emmanuel Adebayor. He was so keen to stick it up his former colleagues, not to mention fans, that he allowed his exuberance to get the better of him, by way of a "mindless and malicious" stamp" and a "ridiculously over-excited goal celebration." Anyone would think he'd been having lessons off George Burley.

He clearly didn't get on with half the Arsenal dressing room (neither did Kolo Toure, given that Arsene Wenger practically begged Emmanuel to take the defender to Manchester with him) so he thought he'd let his boots do the talking. Quite literally. Just ask Robin van Persie's eye.

Not content with trying to blind his one-time colleague, Adebayor then sullied a splendid goal - his fourth in four games - by running at a previously unseen pace (one that would have Usain Bolt looking over his shoulder), directly to the supporters that used to tut indifferently whenever he fluttered his eyelids at a bigger club. He did at least have the good grace to say sorry. For the celebration that is.

Fergie bursts Spurs' bubble

I will never tire of watching Tottenham have their lofty ambitions cruelly beaten out of them at the start of every season. It's my favourite spectator sport, until television chiefs finally commission my idea for a half hour programme that consists entirely of Phil Brown being pelted with rotten eggs and dead gerbils while clamped in particularly chafing stocks.

This time it was so utterly crushing for the White Hart Lane faithful because for a third of the match Manchester United had ten men and STILL managed to make Spurs look like they only had six. Rooney, Fletcher and Giggs et al merely set about their work with renewed vigour when Paul Scholes was sent off for a mistimed tackle (shock, horror).

Despite having Keane, Defoe, Crouch and Lennon on the pitch Spurs were reduced to playing on the break, then inexplicably were caught two-on-two at the back whenever the visitors made it over the half-way line. Their ambitions have already been downgraded from 'Champions League' to 'Top Six'. Who's to say after next month's reverse at Pompey they won't sink even lower, from 'Europa League' to 'Survival'. Can't wait.

Have a Hart

It can't be easy being Paul Hart, Portsmouth manager. Not only is the man probably being paid the minimum wage for his role as the footballing equivalent of a supply teacher, but he really doesn't seem to be getting any luck from the Gods above either.

He probably thought with the club's protracted takeover now completed, and about 156 new players filing through the door on transfer deadline day, he may be able to give this whole Premier League survival thing a shot but there he sits, bottom of the league with five defeats from five games and already on a goal difference of minus seven.

Bolton rolled into Fratton Park without a point either, but thanks to Tamir Cohen's thunderbolt, ex-Pompey midfielder Matt Taylor's penalty, and Gary Cahill conversion of some aerial ping-pong inside the Pompey box they stole three points and ensured it was Hart not Gary Megson who was conducting the post-match inquest. Again.

The Calpol Derby

It is known as the Second City derby, one that can always get a bit naughty, but after watching Birmingham and Aston Villa for 90 painful minutes I was overwhelmed by the feeling that those were minutes I could never get back. Derbies are supposed to be full of steel and grit, this one was as weak as a thimble full of Calpol.

For a start, there were 5,000 empty seats. I know that vastly inflated ticket prices multiplied by the credit crunch equals a difficult ask for a lot of people these days, but if you were an ardent Birmingham fan surely you could afford to pitch up for their most important game of the season? As a result, the atmosphere was insipid and the players took their cue from it.

Thankfully, it was saved from the seeming inevitability of a goalless draw by Gabriel Agbonlahor, who Blues fans must hate the sight of. Last time Birmingham were in the Premier League, Agbonlahor notched goals in both games as Villa ran out 7-2 winners on aggregate. Still, at least it is over six months until they meet him again, and I have the misfortune of watching the derby again.

Goal glut but no P45

This weekend was not one for defences, goalkeepers or Alan Hansen. The net bulged with yo-yo style regularity and there were more examples of incompetent defending than internet clips of George W. Bush saying something incredibly stupid. The 35 goals scored were the most in a weekend for, oooh, ages.

There was more than enough intrigue without the rumblings at Eastlands, though a maiming is always good for the viewing figures. Lord help Emmanuel Adebayor at the return fixture in April 2010. Methinks he'll be getting a few espresso macchiato's lobbed in his general direction. We even had a red card too, after a famous Paul Scholes challenge. "I got there as soon as I could," he wasn't reported to have said.

In fact, the only thing lacking to make this a complete Premier League weekend was a sacking. By this stage last season Alan Curbishley had resigned and Kevin Keegan walked out (or was forced out) of Newcastle, depending on your point of view. Surely it is only a matter of time before we have ourselves the first managerial casualty, so, who's your money on? Ok, apart from Paul Hart...

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