6 Things We Learned from Premier League Week 29: All Hail the Chelsea Pensioner
After another incident-packed weekend of Premier League football that was full of captivating drama at both ends of the table, memorable goal celebrations, managerial rants and some more eye-catching strikes to savour, we have chosen six talking points to discuss from Saturday’s top-flight action.
A Bridge Too Far for Sherwood’s "Characterless" Players
Tim Sherwood’s Tottenham Hotspur side arrived at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening with the best away record in the Premier League, while the young, 45-year-old coach was looking to become the first boss from White Hart Lane to record a league win at Chelsea since Terry Venables managed the feat in February 1990.
However, after a performance that Sherwood said was "lacking guts and character," according to BBC Sport, 16 Spurs managers and counting have now tried and failed to end the North London club’s 24-year hoodoo at the home of their fierce London rivals.
Sherwood has lost 6 games this season, the same avb lost in his last 37 games. This season under avb spurs won 2.1 pts/game. 1.7 under Tim— ALEX KAY (@Alex_Kay_DM) March 9, 2014
Defensive-Minded Moyes Can Play the United Way After All
Things may slowly be starting to slip into place for beleaguered Manchester United manager David Moyes, based on the evidence of Saturday’s impressive 3-0 win at relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion—especially from an attacking sense for the Premier League champions.
The Scot has been at great pains ever since the arrival of club-record signing Juan Mata in January to tell his many detractors to judge him when he had his full complement of forward-thinking players available.
And at the Hawthorns, against a side who had earned impressive home draws against Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton recently, Moyes for once threw caution to the wind and started with his dream quartet of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Mata and Adnan Januzaj.
However, it was Rooney who impressed the most, as the England international netted his seventh goal in his last seven matches against the Baggies to put the visitors 2-0 up on 65 minutes. The 28-year-old’s 13th strike in all competitions so far this season also meant that he has now scored or assisted in a remarkable 252 goals in total in Premier League history.
David Moyes tells BBC: "We were more creative and created more opportunities. I was always going to Robin off at some point today." #MUFC— Howard Nurse (@howardnurse) March 8, 2014
Can I Play You Every Week?
What is it exactly about Fulham that Cardiff City captain Steven Caulker likes so much? The centre-back’s crucial brace on either side of half-time helped to beat the Cottagers 3-1 in the Principality on Saturday afternoon.
And the England international’s double strike in South Wales took his total goal tally up to four since he joined the Bluebirds from Spurs last summer, with three of those coming against the West London club.
Either way, though, the Cardiff fans were not too bothered about the identity of their goalscorers. The home team had gone a mammoth 440 minutes without finding the back of the net before the skipper broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time against their fellow strugglers.
Meanwhile for the visitors, they have now conceded an astonishing 65 goals in the league so far this season. Felix Magath’s side remain firmly rooted to the foot of the table—a position they have occupied since Feb. 1, with no real sign of that changing anytime soon.
Steven Caulker has scored four goals in the Premier League this season, three of which have come against Fulham. pic.twitter.com/3GYhKQ82Uo— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 8, 2014
No Travel Sickness for in-Form Saints Forward
Jay Rodriquez helped Southampton record just their fifth victory in their last 18 Premier League outings by scoring the only goal of the game against struggling Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
And the England international’s first-half winner was his 11th league strike of the campaign, with eight of them coming on the road. As a result, the 24-year-old is now the joint top goalscorer away from home in the top flight this season, alongside such stellar names as Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
8 - No player has scored more PL goals away from home this season than Jay Rodriguez (level with Suarez/Rooney/Sturridge). Seated.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 8, 2014
From Hero to Villain in No Time for Record-Breaking Walters
Jonathan Walters’ second-half penalty that earned Stoke City a valuable 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Norwich City on Saturday was the first goal that the Canaries had let in at home in the Premier League all year long. That run stretched back an incredible 465 minutes into 2013.
However, the Republic of Ireland international then proceeded to undo all his previous good work in grabbing the Potters a point, which was the 750th strike in the top flight this season, by getting himself sent off late on after a petulant kick out at Alexander Tettey. The visitors’ key striker will now miss their next three contests as a result.
750 - Jonathan Walters' penalty at Norwich was the 750th goal in the @premierleague this season. Landmark.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 8, 2014
Ageless Eto’o Proves There’s Life in the Old Dog Yet
The record books show that Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o is 33 on Monday, and the Cameroon international celebrated his imminent birthday by playing a key role in his side’s biggest Premier League victory over archrivals Tottenham Hotspur since March 2002 on Saturday evening at Stamford Bridge.
Old man Samuel Eto'o celebrates his goal for Chelsea against Spurs. pic.twitter.com/S78Udddjw1— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 8, 2014
Eto’o, who recently had his age questioned by Blues boss Jose Mourinho in what the Special One thought was an off-the-record conversation with a Swiss businessman, responded in the best possible way to that controversy by scoring the crucial opening goal early in the second half after a terrible mistake by makeshift Spurs left-back Jan Vertonghen.
And the front man, who was only playing in the London derby following an untimely groin injury suffered by Fernando Torres in the pre-match warm-up, then proceeded to make light of his manager’s much-publicised comments with a goal celebration mocking his apparent old age in front a delighted home faithful.