- Plays of the Day
Are you Solskjaer in disguise?
In this week's plays of the day we have a player giving blood for the cause and a couple of impersonators.
Arsenal and Fulham served up a cracker for the Emirates crowd, with both sides attacking with abandon. 93 minutes were on the clock when Andrey Arshavin gathered the ball in the box on the left and whipped in a cross. A full two feet away, the ball struck Sascha Riether on the arm. Yes it hit him on the arm, but his arm was by his side and did I mention he was a full two feet away? It looked harsh in real time, equally so on replay. Fulham boss Martin Jol was prowling like a man chewing a wasp. He clearly wanted a word with referee Phil Dowd, but his keeper Mark Schwarzer made sure that conversation was a little less strained than it might have been with a quite brilliant save low to his left to keep out Mikel Arteta's penalty.
Head and shoulders above
In the same game, Olivier Giroud helped himself to two headed goals - that's three headed goals in a week for the Frenchman (the other coming against Schalke). He took both pretty well, but the second of his goals against Fulham came about after he'd passed up a gilt-edged chance with his right foot. He only had the keeper to beat from the centre of the goal but somehow struck the ball against the post. It was thankful to the alertness of Theo Walcott who retrieved the ball and crossed back in that Giroud got the chance to atone. He looks pretty good in the air, pretty good in his approach play. But the finishing with his feet leaves a bit to be desired.
The sweetest of strikes
Andreas Weimann was guilty of wasting a chance early in the first half, delaying his pass and seeing the ball cleared. He made up for it on the stroke of half-time to fire Aston Villa ahead against Manchester United. Christian Benteke, the man keeping Darren Bent on the bench, shrugged Chris Smalling aside before rolling the ball towards Weimann. There was not a lot of pace of the ball, but Weimann struck it with the instep so sweetly that it flew over David De Gea in a flash and into the roof of the net.
Solskjaer in disguise
Weimann's efforts will be effectively forgotten, thanks to a Mexican goalscoring superstar. United had been given the runaround by Villa in the first half, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to mix it up. He sent for Javier Hernandez and he netted three brilliant goals of different styles. The first came from a fine pass from Paul Scholes which he collected and shot under Brad Guzan. The second was a volley which deflected in off Ron Vlaar and the third was a brilliant header from a Robin van Persie free-kick. He may lose the second when the goals panel sit, they won't take the three points away.
Terry Butcher 2
No can accuse Jon Walters of not giving his all. 'Puts in a shift' 'a manager's dream' are just a couple of lines that are trotted out to describe the powerhouse. And against QPR, the Stoke man shed blood for the cause. Towards the end of the first half, Walters put his head in where it hurts and came off worst. With blood pouring from his head, he trotted away only to be called over for a bandage to be applied. Terry Butcher, Italia 90 all over again.
Cut out the mistakes
When you're bottom of the table, you really need to cut out the mistakes. Southampton did that pretty well for 70-odd minutes and were 1-0 in front thanks to a goal from Morgan Schneiderlin. But keeper Paulo Gazzaniga and defender Maya Yoshida got in a bit of a tangle on 73 minutes. Nathan Dyer needed no second invitation as he strode forward to score for Swansea. Still the point took them off the bottom of the table, but it will feel like one that got away.