Saturday Clockwatch - as it happened | Simon Burnton
Drama! Action! Incomprehensible madness! And the most goals, plus the most penalties, in a single Premier League afternoon, ever
Good afternoon world! Time to sit down, strap yourselves in and get set for another afternoon of frantic goalflash-based entertainment. At this point you might well want to see today's fixtures in full. Outside the Premier League, I'm liking the look of:
Nottingham Forest v Watford Forest are unbeaten at home this season, but Watford's record there is pretty good (four wins and just one defeat in their last seven visits)
Leeds United v Coventry City Marlon King goes back to his former club having scored in his last three games
Peterborough v Southampton Any fears that Posh's entertaining habit of scoring loads and conceding almost as many wouldn't survive their recent change of managers are surely over – they've scored 11 and conceded eight in four games since Darren Ferguson's appointment, including Tuesday's 5-3 win over Sheffield Wednesday
Yeovil v Charlton Yeovil may be 17th but they're behind only Bournemouth on current form (though they're doing better away than at home)
Rotherham v Crewe Crewe are seventh in League Two, but a win would see them overtake third-place Rotherham
Hereford v Lincoln For the possibility of them repeating the cracking cup tie they contested the other week. This is their fourth meeting of the season, Lincoln having "won" the previous three by an aggregate score of 8-7
Who have I forgotten?
So the Premier League team news is starting to roll in, and you'll see it all here. To get the ball rolling, Tottenham v Bolton:
Newcastle v Arsenal teams!
Are Stoke's tactics basically all about disconcerting the opposing goalkeeper to such an extent that he becomes totally discombobulated and starts making ludicrously bad decisions? And linesmen as well, it would seem.
Those team sheets are flying in now! Wigan v Blackburn:
And Everton v Blackpool:
And more – Aston Villa v Fulham:
And Man City v West Brom – Edin Dzeko only makes the bench:
"Michael Bradley just introduced to the crowd at Villa Park," notes our very own @Barneyronay on Twitter. "Small, dainty, bald, gloomy. Could easily have been Moby in a suit."
"Haven't Stoke simply realised that as defences have become more and more organised (pace Jonathan Wilson's Inverting the Pyramid) goalkeepers have become worse and worse?" argues Gary Naylor. "The World Cup standard of keeping was the worst I can recall and the Premier League isn't much better." That's a fair argument, but still doesn't explain Craig Gordon's mad rush for Stoke's second equaliser – he might not be a brilliant goalkeeper, but he's better than that.
GOAL! Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1 We knew Theo Walcott was speedy, but 27 seconds?
GOAL! Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2! Johan Djourou with a bullet header after two minutes. Ouch.
GOAL! Tottenham 1 Bolton 0 Kevin Davies handballs and Rafael van der Vaart buries the penalty.
Spurs have another penalty!
Tottenham 2 Bolton 0 Sam Ricketts fouls Aaron Lennon (though Chris Kamara insists he got the ball) and Rafael van der Vaart scores again! Oh hang on, they're retaking the penalty! And Van der Vaart has missed! Tottenham 1 Bolton 0 after all!
GOAL! Newcastle 0 Arsenal 3! Robin van Persie taps in Walcott's cross, and Arsenal are three up at 11 minutes past three! Djourou's goal, by the way, was his first for Arsenal, in his 103rd game.
GOAL! Aston Villa 1 Fulham 0! Serial own-goal threatener John Pantsil scores another, his third of the season, heading in Stewart Downing's cross.
More penalties! Well, just one –$at the City of Manchester stadium, Manchester City the beneficiaries...
GOAL! Manchester City 1 West Brom 0! Carlos Tevez, on his 27th birthday, converts the penalty in the 17th minute.
GOAL! Everton 1 Blackpool 0! Louis Saha slams in a 20th-minute opener and only one Premier League game remains goalless at 3.20pm.
GOALS! Carlos Tevez plays a one-two with David Silva and slaloms through the opposition defence before making it Manchester City 2 West Brom 0, while Jason Roberts is celebrating after making it Wigan 0 Blackburn 1!
Carlos Tevez was celebrating today even before he scored two goals (and counting) –$it's his birthday, and he's got some lovely balloons!
GOAL! Newcastle 0 Arsenal 4 (Van Persie, 26) Is anyone else starting to feel a little bit of pity here? At this rate, Arsenal will be seven up at half-time...
Another disallowed goal at White Hart Lane! Tottenham, having been forced to (unsuccessfully) retake a penalty, see Jermain Defoe's header from Aaron Lennon's cross ruled out for a very marginal offside.
GOAL! Wigan 1 Blackburn 1! James McCarthy equalises in the 35th minute
GOAL! Everton 1 Blackpool 1! Alex Baptiste equalises for Blackpool, almost inevitably following a Charlie Adam corner. Apparently they have been under a very large cosh for most of the game.
"After conceding after the 90th minute in the last three of the last four games, presumably Alan Pardew has been working on Newcastle's concentration at the end of games," ponders Mark Guthrie. "Now, if they could concentrate at the beginning, things might look a bit better."
GOAL! Manchester City 3 West Brom 0! It's a birthday first-half hat-trick for Carlos Tevez, and a second goal from the penalty spot after Thomas handballs.
Everton (and Saha) have a goal disallowed, the referee deciding that he had already awarded Everton a free-kick for an offence a couple of seconds earlier. David Moyes is, apparently, fuming.
"Actually, at this rate, Arsenal will only score one more goal, in or around the 81st minute, as they seem to (roughly) be scoring in minutes that are powers of 3 (1st, 3rd, 9th, 27th...)" calculates Stuart Yates.
"As well as believing that children are the future I believe that penalties should not be counted as part of a hat-trick," argues Ian Copestake. Nonsense, if you ask me.
Mark Clattenburg awards Spurs another penalty! Jermain Defoe grabs the ball and places it on the spot, but a linesman had already decided that Peter Crouch was offside and once he tells the referee, the decision is reversed and Bolton have a free-kick. Got that? Good.
"It seems Any Carroll was also somehow the best defender Newcastle had," writes Saurav Samaddar. "No wonder he cost so much."
Half-time everywhere so I'm going to scoot canteenward to procure a carbonated beverage.
"Wasn't the official definition of a hattrick three goals scored via right foot, left foot and header?" asks Val Davey in Denmark. "Or is that just in Scandinavia?" I think the right-left-head combo is known as a "perfect hat-trick" or somesuch, but it's perfectly possible to claim a standard hat-trick without one.
GOAL! Everton 2 Blackpool 1! Louis Saha gets on the end of Leighton Baines' cross and prods Everton back in front in the 47th minute.
"Van Nistelrooy after scoring a supposed perfect hat-trick claimed that he actually thought a perfect one was one scored in one half of the game," writes Shane Doherty. Crikey, these hat-tricks are getting harder and harder.
GOALS! Wigan 2 Blackburn 1! Hugo Rodallega goes round Paul Robinson before rolling the home side in front, while in Birmingham Andrew Johnson pounces on a loose ball to make it Aston Villa 1 Fulham 1!
RED CARD! You may not be surprised to find out it's Joey Barton. You may be surprised to learn that he was the victim of Abou Diaby's push and it's Arsenal who are down to 10 men.
Tottenham took Van der Vaart off at half-time, incidentally.
GOAL! Tottenham 1 Bolton 1! Heurelho Gomes flaps in Daniel Sturridge's shot to gift Bolton an equaliser.
GOAL! Wigan 3 Blackburn 1! James McCarthy scores to surely put the game beyond Blackb ... oh ... hang on...
GOAL! Wigan 3 Blackburn 2! Christopher Samba's bullet header brings Blackburn right back into it.
"Tevez missed his last two penalties before today's game, so to score both today was worthy of a hat-trick as was his stunning solo second goal!" insists James Hopkins.
"When I was a kid I had the impression that the football hat-trick is similar to the cricket hat-trick, in that one has to score three successive goals in the match, not just any three goals," suggests Saurav Samaddar. So, a hat-trick must be scored with left foot, right foot and head, in one half and without anyone else scoring in between them. Can anyone think of a hat-trick in the entire history of football that ticks all of these boxes?
GOAL! Everton 2 Blackpool 2! Jason Puncheon, on loan from Southampton, brings Blackpool level.
GOAL! Everton 2 Blackpool 3! Charlie Adam has put the visitors in front! Blackpool may in fact be the most fun team ever.
"Looks a half way decent Match of the day tonight," notes Gary Naylor, "but if the Stoke vs Sunderland goals are anything to go by, half of this bumper crop of goals should never have been allowed or been saved by a competent keeper." Grump!
GOAL! Wigan 4 Blackburn 2! Ben Watson scores from yet another penalty, in the 65th minute. To think this was the last top-flight game to see a goal.
"Ruud's confusion probably stems from the Dutch definition of ahat-trick, which involves neither half-time nor other goals breaking the run of scoring," asserts Bertram. "As this is pretty hard to accomplish, Dutch commentators have started to adopt the English definition, with the original Dutch accomplishment now dubbed a 'proper hat-trick'. Tevez's one meets both definitions, so well done to him for his proper hat-trick." But where was the left-foot strike? Where was the header? Nothing proper about it.
"I believe Nigel De Jong once said that the perfect hat trick was a tibia, a femur, and an orbital fracture," says JW Taylor.
Another penalty! For Newcastle!
GOAL! Aston Villa 2 Fulham 1! A stunning strike from on-loan full-back Kyle Walker, I'm told.
GOAL! Newcastle 1 Arsenal 4! Joey Barton slams in the spot-kick. It's a game of two halves, and Newcastle are winning one of them!
Preston now 3-0 down at home to five-games-without-a-goal Bristol City. Are Lillywhites fans the most miserable in Britain?
More on hat-tricks in Holland: "Some only consider 3 goals in one half without another player scoring between them to be a hat-trick, but when the last of those goals is in injury time it's called a German hat-trick," says Sophie van der Berg.
GOAL! Everton 3 Blackpool 3! Another hat-trick, and it's the first of Louis Saha's entire career, a close-range header from a corner.
GOAL! Aston Villa 2 Fulham 2! Clint Dempsey beats Brad Friedel to the ball to head in a corner of his own! Not his own corner, obviously.
GOAL! Newcastle 2 Arsenal 4! They couldn't, could they? Leon Best makes it officially interesting at St James's Park. "They're battering Arsenal, absolutely battering them," reports Phil Thompson.
GOAL! Everton 4 Blackpool 3! An incredible volley from Jermaine Beckford to put the home side ahead again. That's the 33rd Premier League goal of the day.
"Michel Platini scored the perfect hat-trick against Yugoslavia in the 1984 European Championships," suggests Joseph Manoj. "He scored all three of France's goals; one each with his left foot, right foot and his head and all three were scored in the second half. There you go." There I go indeed.
GOAL! Wigan 4 Blackburn 3! And it's yet another penalty! David Dunn, just off the bench, on the mark from the spot.
A more recent example of a perfect hat-trick, courtesy of Micha van der Poel: "Kolbein Sigthórsson scored the first three goals last weekend in AZ's 6-1 win against the mighty VVV Venlo. Right, header, left, all in the first half without anyone scoring in between."
GOAL! Everton 5 Blackpool 3! Louis Saha has a fourth goal, capitalising on some ludicrously naive defending in the 84th minute. What do you call a four-goal spree? Fact fans: today's six penalties equals the Premier League record, while we need one more goal to match the Premier League's all-time most prolific afternoon.
GOAL! Newcastle 3 Arsenal 4! Joey Barton scores from the spot, a record-smashing seventh top-flight penalty of the day! And there have never been more goals in a single top-flight day since the start of history (1992, in other words)
Incredible that White Hart Lane, where they witnessed three penalty kicks and two disallowed goals in the first half-hour, has in the end seen the most boring top-flight match. Oh, crikey...
GOAL! Newcastle 4 Arsenal 4! Is this the greatest comeback in the entire history of humanity? Has anything more amazing ever happened? Newcastle, three down after 10 minutes, are level and pushing for the win! Tioté with an incredible volley, apparently.
"Loudest cheer of the day at White Hart Lane as they hear about score at Newcastle!" writes the Guardian's @Paul_Doyle on Twitter.
GOAL! Tottenham 2 Bolton 1! Nico Kranjcar slams in an incredible left-foot screamer from 30 yards!
I'm getting lots of complaints about the refereeing at St James's Park. Barton and Nolan could both have been sent off, according to Arsenal-supporting correspondents. And there's going to be five minutes of stoppage time at Newcastle. They couldn't, surely?
Interesting statistical poser: "Is Everton v Blackpool the premiership game with the most changes of the lead (4) ever?" asks Martin Ansell, as the final whistle goes at Goodison Park.
"The Italian term for scoring four goals is a 'poker', which also means four of a kind in the card game," notes Paul Metcalfe, helpfully.
Arsenal have a goal disallowed for offside!
Hugh Collins, I should note, sent the following email at half-time: "Surely not even Arsenal can go 4-0 up in the first half and then fail to win the game? Though nothing is beyond this Arsenal defence, I suppose." Nothing, indeed.
"You have to wonder how all those souls who left St James after 15 minutes [quite a lot of 'em, I'm hearing] are feeling now, don't you?" writes Josef K.
"Preston fans the most miserable?" asks Christopher Barrett, as the final whistle goes at St James's Park. "Not now Newcastle have scored a fourth, they're not."
"So that's where the £35m went," writes Iosac Gallagher, as the angry emails keep flooding in, "for paying off referees."
"I'm no Arsenal fan, but your correspondents are right," writes Ed (any relation to Wilf?) Rostron. "Dowd sent Diaby off, but showed Nolan a yellow for the exact same offence (grabbing an opponent by the neck and throwing him to the floor). The second penalty was also extremely harsh: Arsenal can feel hard done by ... but still, makes it more entertaining for the rest of us."
I'd better change the picture, methinks (for later visitors, it was Arsène Wenger giving a thumbs-up, a long, long time ago).
"This game is an absolute disgrace," screams Raffi Hantabli from St James's Park. "Nolan and Barton should have been sent off more than once each. This has been a complete scandal refereeing-wise. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so wrong."
"So now we have witnessed Arsenal's 'Birmingham' moment; cue implosion of our season," sniffs Chris Langmead. "I've never known a team with such talent be so mentally weak and frustrating ... Still, football, bloody hell!"
"Louis Saha's four-goal spree is definitely a quadtrick," writes Adam Rickart. "I'm much ridiculed for this assertion, but I'm certain it's correct."
Email and Twitter both going totally berserk about Phil Dowd's performance at Newcastle. I fear he should be turning off his phone and going to hide in a cave. "When Ed Rostron (4.59pm) states that Phil Dowd 'showed Nolan a yellow for the exact same offence (grabbing an opponent by the neck and throwing him to the floor)' he is mistaken," argues Owen Thorpe. "That yellow card was actually shown to the Arsenal keeper, the player who had been thrown to the floor. And then both penalties were very soft, to say the least. And I'm not sure Arsenal got a single free kick in the entire second half, despite Newcastle's midfield being combative to say the least. The fourth goal was alright though."
Stat heaven! The most goals ever in a single top-flight day, courtesy of Davy Allan:
"Are the irate arsenal fans mentioning poor refereeing also mentioning the legitamate Newcastle goal that was disallowed," asks Senthu Nagappan (no, obviously, is the answer), "or has mass myopia struck again?"
"How can they go berserk about the referee, any team that loses a 4-0 lead SURELY can only look at themselves in disgust," says Antoni Vanloffelt. "That's why they never win anything of consequence anymore, it's always someone else's fault."
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