Even Tony Pulis' smiles are ugly
When West Brom and West Ham combined for six goals, you knew it was going to be a crazy day in the Premier League.
Many would've had that pegged as a 0-0 draw or a 1-0 win for either side, yet the two put on a thrilling 3-3 draw that was a great way to kick off Saturday's fixtures.
In other action, Hull City cruised, while Manchester United and Manchester City struggled to gain three points, just to drive home how odd this weekend has been already.
With so much happening, you can count on plenty of talking points to come out of Saturday that will have supporters arguing all week.
Who is this man, and what has he done with the real Nicolas Anelka?
For the first time all season, Nicolas Anelka found the back of the net. He liked the feeling so much that he scored another goal six minutes later.
It was a strong performance from the French striker, as he was a hassle for the entire game. Even when Anelka wasn't scoring, he was moving around the box, dragging defenders with him and dropping deeper in the pitch to help facilitate the attack.
You couldn't have expected any more from a target man.
Maybe Anelka's trying to put himself in the January shop window or something.
For West Brom, it would be a major boost if the 34-year-old can find consistent form. A reliable scoring option is the one thing that would help the Baggies avoid the relegation scrap for good. They're a solid team, but they've yet to find a suitable replacement for Romelu Lukaku.
Do you like Danny Welbeck now?
Over the past few seasons, Danny Welbeck has drawn the ire of Manchester United supporters and neutrals alike for his perceived inability to score goals. The criticism has always been a bit harsh, even if Welbeck has yet to crack double digits in league goals over a full season.
At least now the 23-year-old is silencing many of his critics.
He came on as a substitute after halftime and found the winner in United's 1-0 win over Norwich City. That was good enough for him to win Squawka's man of the match.
Danny Welbeck got the Squawka Man of the Match award with a Performance Score of 61. Not bad for a substitute... pic.twitter.com/ytnBV7JWJc— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 28, 2013
Welbeck has been on a rich vein of form recently.
4 - Danny Welbeck has scored four times in his last four Premier League games for Manchester United. Impact.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
With Robin van Persie's injury problems this season, you'd expect that David Moyes has no other option but to play Welbeck up top.
It makes you wonder if the English forward is in the midst of a Daniel Sturridge-like rejuvenation.
Crystal Palace are firmly a Tony Pulis team
Crystal Palace won't win over any neutrals with their style of play, but much like Stoke City under Tony Pulis, they could string enough results together to get a comfortable mid-table finish.
The Eagles bunkered in and, despite losing 1-0 to Manchester City, will likely be heartened by their defensive performance. City usually ravage teams at the Etihad, yet Palace held out for 66 minutes before Edin Dzeko found the eventual winner.
Manuel Pellegrini was less than pleased with how Crystal Palace played, via Ian Herbert of The Independent.
Why would Pellegrini have expected anything else?
Looking ahead, Palace could give some of the bigger sides fits. Their defensive strength will likely result in a title contender dropping two valuable points as it fails to find a goal.
How bad are Fulham?
Fulham conceded six—yes, six—goals to Hull City on Saturday. It was a display of absolute capitulation from the Cottagers and the kind of match that gives you no hope that the club will avoid the drop.
This was the 13th match this year that Fulham have given up the first goal, which is a great record for a club in a relegation battle.
13 - Fulham have conceded the first goal of the game on 13 occasions this season; more often than any other @premierleague side. Setback.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
Some of the club's failings were chalked up to Martin Jol and his aversion to playing a defensive style. He also failed to strengthen the defense during the summer, opting instead to add more attack-minded players that eventually unbalanced the side.
Things haven't gotten much better under Rene Meulensteen. Fulham remain a disorganized mess with little indication they will get better any time soon.