Hot or Not: Fernando Torres on Fire but Arsenal Dull at Home to Hull

Andrew McNairSenior Writer ISeptember 29, 2008

Hello and welcome back to this Premier League Hot or Not column.

We start with congratulations to Matt Derbyshire on getting a start in the English Premier League. Sadly, it seems he can only score off the bench.

The writer would like to be serious for just a second and call on the referee’s association to drag every referee in the country in this week to watch the “It’s a penalty, made easy” DVD after another shocking weekend of dodgy decisions. The assistants could possibly practice offside.

But now for the fun as all four of England’s largest clubs played on a Saturday for a change.



Obviously we start this week with Hull City after their first ever win at Arsenal. Hull beat the log leaders 2-1 at the Emirates after going 1-0 down thanks to an own goal from Paul McShane. Oh we do love a true underdog story here on Hot or Not.

“I don’t know why the keeper’s diving, just admire it,” Alan Shearer said on Match of the Day when commenting on Giovanni’s fantastic equalizer against Arsenal. Hot or Not weren’t the only ones listening and I can inform you that Manchester City’s Joe Hart watches MOTD. The keeper was left standing by Antonio Valencia’s unstoppable opening goal in Wigan Athletic's 2-1.

Robbie Keane has come in for some fierce criticism since his £20m move to Liverpool but on Saturday he looked great alongside Fernando Torres. Even though it was Torres on the score sheet, he wouldn’t have had his goals without the involvement of a certain Irishman.

They may have been two of the easiest goals he’ll score all season, but Fernando Torres still deserves some credit.

Alan Shearer may have been calling for 'keepers just to stand still but luckily they don’t all listen as closely as Joe Hart. Thomas Sorensen has been in terrific form this season for Stoke City and kept Chelsea at bay for long periods a week after keeping Liverpool out. His close range save from Didier Drogba was the pick of the saves.

There will be no mention of Stewart Downing this week as Middlesbrough didn’t get a penalty. Okay so we’ve mentioned him so we may as well rub it in. Stewart, what you can’t do from 12 yards, Ashley Young can do from 20 odd. He can also cross, shoot, dribble and take a better penalty.

Hot or Not is sure Downing’s England place isn’t under threat though…

If there was an award for cheekiest goal of the week then it would have to go to John Carew for his nifty back heal against Sunderland. Well a mention on Hot or Not is as good as it’s going to get John.

A £30 million court order, their star striker is out as usual (this time Dean Ashton is out until the new year) but West Ham United win again. So what are Newcastle United moaning about?

Three more teams deserve a mention after clocking up impressive wins this week. West Bromwich Albion picked up three vital points on the road at Middlesbrough. Wigan Athletic beat the richest football club in the world 2-1 at home.

Last but not least Portsmouth showed great courage (after a week in which they conceded 10 goals in two games) to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0.



Everton have been pretty competitive in recent Merseyside derbies but they didn’t manage a single effort on target on Saturday.

If a team gets beaten without being shown a single yellow card, does it show a lack of fight, or simply that Joey Barton and Danny Guthrie were suspended? Maybe a Newcastle United fan could write in and let us know. Whatever the answer, it’s now five defeats on the trot for the Magpies.

For a while on Saturday it looked like Liverpool syndrome was catchy. Lucky there was a doctor in the house. Dr Rob Styles saving Manchester United with a hard dose of anti-Bolton’s.

To most people watching, it was more a case of an hallucination.

There was a less of clean cut case as Wigan met Manchester City but Steve Bennett insists that Wilson Palacios wasn’t diving. I think we can all admit whether he was caught or not, he was definitely diving.

Hot or Not’s verdict: No penalty.

Manchester United had 15 corners and in a week Arsenal couldn’t break down Hull City and Liverpool couldn’t beat Stoke, Bolton Wanderer's performance says a lot for the standard of the Barclay’s Premier League.

Offside is becoming as talked about as wrongly given penalties. This week it was Blackburn Rovers benefiting from another officials mistake. Christopher Samba’s opener at St James’ clearly should have been ruled out.

Everton’s Tim Cahill was sent off during the Merseyside derby but why wasn’t Liverpool’s Alvaro Arbeloa? The wing back clearly kicked out off the ball and deserved to go. More so than Tim Cahill, that’s for sure.

On the other hand Andy Johnson deserved to go for his two yellow cards and arguably for the first one alone.

We can’t forget the miss of the week and today that honour goes to Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba. The midfielder had the chance to put Bolton ahead at Manchester United but missed with the goal gaping. It had “tap in” written all over it.

His miss was closely followed by Craig Bellamy’s return to top flight action. The Welshman needed to attempts to embarrass himself, finally firing high over the bar. Luckily, and most importantly for Hot or Not’s miss of the week, West Ham had already sewn up the three points.

Stoke City are a one man team but it’s not Ricardo Fuller or Dave Kitson. It is in fact Rory Delap, the long throw king. Stoke were an even poorer team without their only working set piece.

There is just enough time left to mention two more disappointments. Man City and Tottenham Hotspur have something in common. They have both been tipped to break the top four this season. Having said that, it’s been a long time since anyone predicted Spurs doing well this season.

Manchester City may be the richest club in the world but on any given Saturday, it means sweet **** all.

Thanks for joining us. Enjoy a working week full of brilliant European football.



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