Early Doors

Arsenal make City look silly

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Early Doors's Arsenal coverage invariably revolves around two things; their hopeless goalkeepers, and their unholy war against tackling.

So let ED put it on record that it thoroughly enjoyed their 3-0 marmalisation of Manchester City yesterday afternoon. They were tremendous.

Right, glad that's out of the way.

City were given a proper jolt by a side they normally make mincemeat out of. Before the game, it was assumed their hulking three-man central midfield would be too strong for the Gunners - it appears we forgot that it is possible to pass the ball around opponents.

It was made a sight easier by the fifth-minute sending off of Dedryck Boyata for a challenge so crude and unrefined it could perform under the stage name Cher Lloyd.

Boyata saw red for chopping down Marouane Chamakh when the striker was clean through, and Arsenal thrived against 10 men.

Although Cesc Fabregas rather dubiously asserted: "If we'd been playing against 15 with our 11 we would still have won."

ED doubts it, although it would like to see them try.

Anything that leads to scenes like this bonkers match between the Japanese national team and 100 kids has to be worth a go.

ED can hardly imagine the havoc City are going to wreak in the transfer market after seeing one of their token youth players make such a basic mistake.

The fact that Boyata (and for that matter Micah Richards) got a game will surely pave the way for an epic January spree that sees every quality defender in the world, and John Terry, quickly herded into Eastlands.

It ended an oddly traumatic week for City, who were made to look a bit silly by events totally outside their control.

The Wayne Rooney affair (ED is going to call it that, misinterpretation be damned) initially made it look like City had cracked it - overtaking United in terms of ambition and pulling power.

Their fans did what they always do (or some of them, at least), and jumped the gun, leading to this tittersome photo.

Put it next to the blokes who got 'Kaka' and '2011 Champions League winners' tattoos.

Then Lech Poznan visited City in the Europa League and all their fans went on the Old Trafford stadium tour.

And Rooney's bizarre U-turn and massive new contract left City looking a little bit silly.

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With Rooney enjoying a well-earned break in Dubai after a hard week of agitating, it was nice to see a more traditional hate figure turn out for United at Stoke.

Gary Neville's 600th career appearance had nearly everything you could wish for - Red Nev should clearly have been sent off for a ridiculous chop on Matthew Etherington, but referee Andre Marriner let him off.

Fergie exacted instant revenge, sending Neville out for the second half, only to haul him off before the match resumed, replacing him with Wes Brown.

Say what you like about Neville, but he is probably the only man who can publicly swear in Sir Alex Ferguson's face and live to tell the tale.

And a good week got even better for Fergie, when one of the players slighted by Rooney scored a match-winning double, including one of the most delightfully improvised goals you will ever see.

It is always exciting when we see a player change the way football is played, and Hernandez is redefining the art of the header.

You may remember his debut goal in the Community Shield, when he miscued an open goal so badly it travelled vertically upwards, hit him in the face and went in.

This one was considerably cleverer, as he contorted himself in the air like a dolphin and somehow propelled a back header into the top right corner.

In terms of imagination and execution, it is up there with anything Rooney has done.

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It was a big weekend for own-goals. On Saturday Richard Dunne extended his Premier League record to eight with a calamitous act of self-harm against Sunderland.

Then yesterday Jamie Carragher closed the gap to one by finding his own net against Blackburn, although the assist must go to Paul Konchesky for walloping his clearance straight into Carra's guts.

Watch those, and the rest of the weekend's goals, in our 90-second round-up for people who like football enough to devote between one and two minutes to watching highlights.

 

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FOREIGN VIEW: Anyone concerned about the lack of competitive balance in the Premier League should get a load of Holland, where PSV Eindhoven beat Feyenoord 10-0, the heaviest defeat in the club's history.

Brazilian Jonathan Reis hit a hat-trick with Ibrahim Afellay, Ola Toivonen, Jeremain Lens (2), Balazs Dzsudzsak (2) and Orlando Engelaar joining the party.

Feyenoord, traditionally one of the 'big three' clubs in the country and European Cup winners in 1970, were reduced to 10 men on 34 minutes when midfielder Kelvin Leerdam was sent off.

Their previous worst defeat was an 8-2 loss to Ajax in 1983.

"This really hurts, suffering a defeat like this and it was very emotional in the dressing room afterwards," Feyenoord coach Mario Been said.

"It is hard to realise what happened," added left-back Tim de Cler. "After the first goal and the red card everyone just played their own match and we totally collapsed."

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COMING UP: Plenty of reaction to the weekend's action, including the ethereal delights of the Monday podcast.

Aggro fans will love Leeds United v Cardiff City at 19:45 UK time, while we're also giving full live privileges to Real Sociedad v Deportivo La Coruna at 20:00.

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