United cruise, Villa stun Anfield and a heated battle at Stoke ... the Soccer Saturday boys reflect.
Last Updated: 16/12/12 12:23pm
Matt Le Tissier on Manchester United's 3-1 win over Sunderland
LE TISS: Certainly Sunderland gave it a go in the second half and if you thought that if they got another, United were starting to look a bit nervy to be honest. They'd brought on a couple of substitutes and Sunderland were starting to get hold of the midfield. It was a fair effort from Sunderland but you can't start playing when you're 2-0 down again. As for Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie together - the two of them were brilliant. What I like about them is that their combination play is so good; there's no selfishness and they're always looking for eachother. It's brilliant to see two top-class footballers join up the way those two do. Sunderland really need to get Steven Fletcher back fit as quickly as possible.
Charlie Nicholas on Villa's surprise 3-1 win at Liverpool
CHARLIE: We've seen enthusiasm, hunger and desire from Villa before but you have to balance that with winning football matches. They weren't making enough chances to win. In the first half, after an early Christian Benteke header, it was all Liverpool. But then Benteke scored a really good goal - he drilled it in at the near post and the pace of it beat the goalkeeper. When I look at Villa defensively, I'm looking at players like Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker and there's a steel about them. There's a total commitment to the cause. The second goal is a pure footballing goal - it's a Barcelona-type goal and I thought 'this is a statement today.' They rode their luck because Daniel Agger should have had a penalty for me but then Benteke went up the pitch and scored a third amid some shocking defending from Liverpool. What a handful the big fella' is up front. Meanwhile, Liverpool as a team are still learning new management. Raheem Sterling couldn't quite pick the form and Luis Suarez was trying too hard. They made chances and they didn't take them. They always need that first goal to be a bit more expansive and a bit more expressive.
Paul Merson on Stoke's hardfought 1-1 draw with Everton
MERSE: It was a typical Stoke game. You have to go there and you have to battle. If you don't stand up to them then you gave majorly punished and that's why they've got such a good home record. Everton did go there and stood up to them and gave as good as they got. All the papers tomorrow will be talking about Marouane Fellaini's red card and it is unbelievable what he's done. There were two other incidents - he head-butted Ryan Shawcross but there was another when he punched him and another when he elbowed him. These are at three different corners. Everybody's holding eachother and pulling shirts etc but you can't do what he did. Bar that, Everton went 1-0 up due to an own goal from Shawcross from a great Steven Pienaar cross. The equaliser from Kenwyne Jones, I think the goalkeeper should save and it's a bit of a shock because Tim Howard is a top goalkeeper.
Phil Thompson on Norwich's 2-1 victory over Wigan at Carrow Road
THOMMO: It was a sloppy start from two good passing teams. The first five minutes, the ball was out of play. It was Norwich who came into the game and started passing the ball really well. They were up for it and it's a really goal after 15 minutes. Wes Hoolahan, who I think is the star of the show, overruns it and gives it to Emmerson Boyce but robs him again and gives it to Anthony Pilkington. I don't know which Pilkington's best foot is but he absolutely battered in and gave Ali Al-Habsi no chance. Grant Holt pushes the space back and leaves that space for Hoolahan. The Wigan changes helped and substitute Shaun Maloney fired the equaliser into the far side of the goal, but again it's Pilkington at the other end - he jinked one way and jinked the other then dinked the ball in, and gets above the centre-backs to net a good header.