Best of the weekend
Last Updated: 09/11/09 8:44am
Roberts: Super sub
Team of the week
Game of the weekendManchester City 3 Burnley 3
Seriously, what a game this was. Few gave Burnley a prayer at Eastlands, with the club struggling on the road in the league this season. But on 19 minutes, after Joleon Lescott had handled in the area, Graham Alexander slotted home from the penalty spot to hand the Clarets the lead. And then in the 32nd minute Burnley doubled their lead via a close-range finish from Steven Fletcher. But City handed themselves a lifeline before the half-time whistle when Shaun Wright-Phillips' effort deflected home. Mark Hughes' men then restored parity 10 minutes into the second period thanks to defender Kolo Toure. And the comeback was complete, and seemingly three points sealed, when Craig Bellamy slotted past Brian Jensen. However, with three minutes left on the clock substitute Kevin McDonald smashed home at the back post to snatch a massive point for Burnley.
Player of the weekendJason Roberts
Super sub Roberts more than deserves this accolade for helping to inspire Blackburn's comeback against Portsmouth. Struggling Pompey took the lead at Ewood Park through Jamie O'Hara in the 15th minute. Rovers could not level before the break, so manager Sam Allardyce acted: he threw on strikers Roberts and also Benni McCarthy. And 10 minutes into the second half the introduction of Roberts paid dividends as the powerful forward stabbed home, demonstrating excellent striker's instinct. Ryan Nelsen then completed the turnaround before Roberts capped off a fine afternoon as he bagged from McCarthy's cross to seal a much-needed 3-1 victory.
Goal of the weekendTom Huddlestone
There were a number of contenders here. Arsenal's third goal at Wolves was a textbook Gunners counter-attack that was finished off with ease by Cesc Fabregas. And Seyi Olofinjana scored an absolute peach for Hull City that curled past Thomas Sorensen with aplomb. Our winner, though, is Tottenham midfielder Huddlestone. With Spurs leading 1-0 against Sunderland at White Hart Lane, a deep ball was gathered by Jermain Defoe late in the second half. The striker showed sharp feet and awareness to work himself space before getting his head up. Defoe then laid off a perfect pass that meant Huddlestone did not have to break stride, and the midfielder lashed home superbly in off the crossbar to send Tottenham delirious.
Pass of the weekendRobin van Persie
This pass was all about manipulation of a football. Arsenal were on the attack at Wolves, already leading 2-0. Bacary Sagna was in possession after being fed by Fabregas on the right channel, with the latter continuing his run into the box after handing over possession. Sagna hit low into the area at Van Persie who, with just one effortless touch, cushioned the ball perfectly into Fabregas' path. The Spaniard moved the ball once and then slotted home. The Arsenal captain wheeled away before pointing in the direction of Van Persie, acknowledging his role in the goal.
Controversy of the weekendChelsea goal
Before the discussion over Chelsea's match-winning goal versus Manchester United, it is worth touching upon some other controversial moments of this weekend. First, one wonders whether Blackburn right-back Pascal Chimbonda should have been sent off against Portsmouth after he appeared to have a swipe at Jamie O'Hara. And at Tottenham, Sunderland striker Darren Bent had a call for a penalty waved away when Heurelho Gomes clattered into him in the first half. Bent was actually awarded a spot-kick in the second period, which he ultimately missed, but Black Cats boss Steve Bruce may have felt that Gomes should have been sent off for his challenge as Bent looked to burst through. Onto the incident at Stamford Bridge, which came with 14 minutes remaining. The first point of issue is the free-kick that was awarded by referee Martin Atkinson, with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson of the belief that Darren Fletcher did not foul Ashley Cole. Nonetheless, the free-kick was awarded. In went the delivery from Frank Lampard and a combination of John Terry and Nicolas Anelka diverted the ball goalwards. Didier Drogba was standing in an offside position just a few yards out from goal and took a swipe at the ball. He did not make contact and in the header went. However, goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar might feel that Drogba was interfering with play, and also pulled back Wes Brown, and therefore the strike should have been disallowed.
Save of the weekendMark Schwarzer
A truly brilliant stop form the Australian. But before we laud Schwarzer, some praise for other Premier League personnel that helped prevent goals. Bolton Wanderers shot-stopper Jussi Jaaskelainen deserves a mention, despite conceding five at Aston Villa, after he made an excellent save from an Ashley Young free-kick. Tottenham's Gomes was also in inspired form, and on top of his penalty denial he also did well to parry away a Michael Turner header. Also, Burnley striker David Nugent showed awareness when he sprung well to head off the line at Eastlands. Schwarzer, though, is a worthy winner of this week's gong after his fine showing against Wigan. He made a string of top drawer saves, with the highlight from a Charles N'Zogbia effort. The French winger unleashed a vicious strike at goal that looked destined for the back of the net. But Schwarzer stretched outstandingly to tip the rasping drive onto the woodwork. Marvellous.
Miss of the weekendSteve Sidwell
Ultimately Sidwell's blushes were spared. But had they not been, then surely more furore would have been made of this miss. With the scoreline at 3-1, Villa were awarded a penalty after Kevin Davies fouled John Carew in the area. Up stepped James Milner, who saw his relatively poor spot-kick saved by Jaaskelainen, and the ball fell to Sidwell. With the goal at his mercy, Sidwell steered the ball forwards, but his effort cannoned back off the foot of the post. Fortunately for the midfielder though, Milner was on hand to nestle the ball home.
Gaffe of the weekendTony Hibbert
Fortunately for Hibbert, his own goal counted for little as Everton won their game with West Ham by two goals to one. However, the hapless nature of the incident is worth flagging up. On 65 minutes, Junior Stanislas picked up possession from Alessandro Diamanti's pass and then chipped the advancing Tim Howard. The ball looked set to nestle home only for Hibbert to emerge as a potential saviour. The full-back appeared to have the shot covered and would surely thump the ball off the line and away from danger. Yet his swing was all wrong, with the slice sending the ball spinning into his own net, to leave him decidedly red-faced.