Sunday was one of the sort of days that remind us why we are so drawn to sport and in particular football. Over an entire season we pretty much know each year the likely challengers.
But that does not guarantee that the favourites over the season are going to come out on top each week.
There are always surprises but two of the results on Sunday went well beyond that description. And it wasn’t even just the results.
City beating United and QPR coming out on top of Chelsea are not that far-fetched but it was more a case that nobody could have possibly forecast the manner of the wins.
The story of how Manchester City went to Old Trafford and left with a 6-1 win is a story that will be told as long as the game is played in England.
There is enough material for an entire podcast so the weekly Soccer Report Extra.com offering with Eoin O’Callaghan will be devoted to the Manchester derby.
The sight of a team playing with ten men is far from a unusual occurrence nowadays. Nine against eleven not so much so but that was what Chelsea faced for over half of their match against QPR.
What’s is more Chelsea really should have left with a point or even all three. It was just as well that QPR led 1-0 when Bosingwa and then Drogba were sent off by Chris Foy because they rarely troubled a patchwork Chelsea side in the second 45 minutes.
The other games that saw Everton and Tottenham win away from home and Arsenal beat Stoke at the Emirates have been relegated to the equivalent of the foreign language movie awards at the Oscars by the media.
Everton actually achieved something that only one other side in the Barclay’s Premier League has done in 2011 – win at Craven Cottage. Liverpool did it in May and on Sunday two late goals gave Everton a 3-1 win.
A feature of the match was the tenacious tackling of Everton.
Arsenal continued to show some improvement after a troubling start to the season. Two goals from substitute Robin Van Persie will generate the headlines but there were also a couple of other solid performances. Perhaps benefiting from scoring the late winner in midweek against Marseille Aaron Ramsey looked very comfortable in midfield.
Gervinho scored one and added two assists. But his passing was also spot on at 100% – something rarely seen in a striker.
When Arsenal finally took the late lead against Sunderland last week at Emirates I mentioned that they had done an impressive job of managing the game through to the final whistle. The same trait was on display again with only four passes out of well over 100 missing their intended targets in the 12 minutes.
The same goes for Peter Crouch who could only win 5 of 10 aerial duels and known of these in critical areas of the field.
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