The Fifth Official: Some angry young men
Few of us like Monday but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from a five-star weekend.
Is Lee Cattatonic?
During a bit of downtime this week, Mrs TFO and I happened to be watching a programme that featured a collection of half-witted former winners of the UK's version of Big Brother (her choice, of course). During the course of four dinner parties we were treated to questions like "Do potatoes grow on trees?" and the sight of a grown man trying to extract the juice of a lemon with a potato masher.
What on earth has this to do with Premier League football you might say? Well, here's the link. The next time tired television execs want to put together a collection of imbecilic chimps to entertain us with their limited brain functions, perhaps they might include Lee Cattermole, because the young man clearly has the stale filling of a Cornish pasty for brains, after he chalked up his second red card of a fledgling season.
Cattermole harnesses the dangerous bedfellows of rage and stupidity with an unbridled sense of joy. Seconds after being booked for a hack on Mohamed Diame he then chased Hugo Rodallega a full 40 yards with all the intent of a serial killer, just for the chance to scythe him down and earn a second helping of yellow. His manager said he was "inconsolable" when he surely meant to say "his stupidity is incurable." Who wants a bet that Lee of limited intelligence will end up with more red cards than goals this campaign?
It's great when old friends pop over for a catch up isn't it? Except when those old pals are the crushing feelings of embarrassment, despair and stupidity gently tapping on your kitchen window asking you to pop the kettle on and crack out the Eccles cakes. They are the same affable trio who tipped up a split second after West Ham's hapless 'keeper let England's World Cup chances slip through his grasp and into the net against the USA in Rustenburg.
In many ways Rob Green's part in Chelsea's second goal against West Ham was even more comical, given that it included two other unwitting parties in the same priceless comedy sketch. Green spilled an aimless Drogba free-kick, Matthew Upson whacked it at Salomon Kalou's ankle, and the ball spiralled over Green's head and into the net in super slow motion. It was an unlikely sequence of events that even Einstein and Newton would have struggled to concoct. But then, where there is calamity to be found, Green will find it.
At least he was in good company, as the current England No. 1 Joe Hart also displayed his fallibility in Manchester City's draw with Blackburn. Hart looked like he'd wandered into the twilight zone as he and Kolo Toure played an embarrassing game of 'after you, sir' that led to Rovers claiming a point. Perhaps the two of them can form some sort of Goalkeepers Anonymous meetings, where they can discuss their feelings of emptiness in the company of like-minded buffoons. Scott Carson and David James anyone?
Quite apart from the collection of incompetents detailed above, it seems there was an unstoppable amount of ineptitude on display in the Premier League this weekend, and naturally one of them was a referee. Stuart Attwell is a mere toddler by officials' standards, and it appears as if he's been fast-tracked straight from primary school after yet more blundering at the Emirates.
Don't forget, this is the man who allowed the' phantom' goal at Watford and nearly caused a riot during the East Midlands derby. On Saturday, he denied Bolton a blatant foul before sending their best defender off for the tackling equivalent of tickling someone with a feather seconds later. A less restrained man than Owen Coyle would have strode onto the pitch and embedded the young upstart's whistle somewhere it definitely wouldn't peep.
On the playing side, West Ham striker Frederic Piquionne registered his contender for miss of the century, after somehow failing to score with a free header from two yards out. As the West Ham faithful stood open-mouthed the rest of us were smugly pointing out that's what you get when you sign a striker from last season's worst Premier League team. Apparently Piquionne attempted to put his head in his hands immediately after his error, but missed.
All that and I haven't even mentioned Roberto Mancini's pathetic post-match excuse for not beating Blackburn: "We have six important players injured." So let me get this straight Rob, the other 150 players you've got at the club won't do? There are less people in Zion than in City's squad.
Look Hou's back
I confidently predict Gerard Houllier's unlikely return to the Premier League will coincide with Aston Villa teetering off the map as a credible, top six Premier League club. I appreciate that maybe K-Mac wasn't cut out for the job, or any role that involves him leaving the house, but surely they could have done better than a has-been no-hoper? Even Curbs at 12-1 might have been worth a punt.
After all, this is the man who is joining Villa from an overwhelmingly successful stint as technical director at French Football Federation. He can clearly walk out of there with his head held high, comfy in the knowledge of a job well done. Except no-one really knows when he'll be able to walk out, or take charge of his new club. Given the French's love of striking, it may be that he becomes the longest manager in-waiting in history. Even though he hasn't left his current job to take up his new job, he is already wibbling on about his old job, claiming credit for Liverpool's Champions League win. The kahunas of the man.
Yes he won a clutch of trophies at Anfield, but all the while playing attritional, one-dimensional football, and he becomes paranoid, prickly and belligerent when he comes under pressure. Sound familiar? Oh, and he's a liar too. Remember Robbie Fowler's 'cocaine snorting' celebration in a Merseyside derby? Hou tried to pass it off as a Cameroonian grass eating celebration, learnt from team-mate Rigobert Song. Now that's what I call imagination.
The rage of Moyes
Should Manchester United be pipped to the title by the odd point in four, they may well point to their opening two away games of the season as the reason they fluffed it. Fergie's mob went one better than they did at Fulham, by shipping two goals in three minutes to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory at Goodison Park on Saturday. And all that without the Roonatic, who was, shall we say, indisposed (I can't make any of the jokes I'd like to for legal reasons – it's devastating, but I'm sure you understand).
Strolling thanks to goals from Darren Fletcher, Nemanja Vidic and Dimitar Berbatov – who played astonishing well, given that he maintained his 'I could really do without this, lads' demeanour the whole way through - Fergie probably thought it was time to crack out the cigars on the bench before another stonking capitulation handed the Toffees an unlikely point.
After two goals in as many minutes had drawn Everton level, there they were smashing it upfield looking for a winner. Referee Martin Atkinson decided to call it a day with the final whistle, but immediately felt a burning feeling on his cheek and turned to see a rage-fuelled David Moyes sprinting towards him with a face so scary, even Freddy Krueger would have needed a change of underwear.
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