There’s only one place to start this week…
Alan Pardew loses his head
Things were going so well this weekend for Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. His side were 3-1 up and cruising to a comfortable away victory against Hull at the KC Stadium when his Saturday afternoon took a turn for the worse.
When the ball went out of play near the technical area Hull City’s David Meyler went to retrieve the ball for a throw in. Deeming that Pardew had obstructed him from getting the ball he pushed the Newcastle boss in the chest, the manager responded by aiming a headbutt at the opposition midfielder.
While the connection the 52 year old made with the player was nothing compared to football’s most famous headbutt, Zidane in the World Cup final of course, the fact that he would even attempt such a thing has outraged the football community. It didn’t take long for Newcastle United to respond to incident, they released a statement on Saturday night claiming that they had fined their boss £100,000.
But that will not be the end of the disciplinary action, the FA have announced that they will be investigating the incident and are likely to pass down a further fine and possible a touchline ban for the manager.
It’s not the first time Pardew’s touchline antics have landed him in hot water, he was banned for two matches and fined £20,000 on the opening day of the season in 2012 after he pushed a linesman.
Pardew’s dismissal didn’t do much to dampen Newcastle’s performance of the day, they added another goal before the end of the game to win 4-1.
City lay Wembley ghosts to rest
Away from the action in the Premier League this weekend saw the first silverware of the season won as Sunderland played Manchester City at Wembley in the final of the Capital One Cup.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men were overwhelming favourites going into the game but it was Sunderland who took a shock lead after just 10 minutes through Fabio Borini neat finish. The Mackems dared to dream as they held their lead going into the break.
But unfortunately for Gus Poyet’s side there was to be no repeat of City’s shock FA cup defeat to Wigan as Yaya Toure and Sami Nasiri scored two quick fire goals after halftime to turn the game on it’s head.
Jesus Navas added a third in stoppage time to give City the 3-1 win and give Pellegrini his first trophy in England.
Arsenal fail the Britannia test
There are few more hostile environments in the Premier League than the Britannia stadium. A large, windy playing surface surrounded by loud fans and inhabited by a Stoke side prepared to play ugly, aggressive football.
The signs were not good for Arsenal going into the game, they hadn’t won at Stoke since 2010, and this weekend’s trip would be no different. Jonathan Walter’s late penalty kick was the only goal of the game as Arsenal lost ground in the race for the title.
Arsenal will roo this loss especially as they are looking down the barrel of a tricky run of fixtures, they play Everton at home in the FA Cup, then Bayern Munich away in the Champions league followed by league games away at london rivals Tottenham and Chelsea before ending the month at home to Manchester City.
Arsene Wenger’s men are now four points behind leaders Chelsea and have a lot of work to do if they are going to take
Liverpool climb to second
Brenden Rodger’s men have been playing so well recently that Liverpool, who many tipped as contenders for Champions League qualification at the start of the season, are now being talked about as title contenders.
This weekend’s comfortable 3-0 win away at Southampton showed off just how good the reds are coming forward. Premier League top scorer Luis Suarez netted his first goal in six games and Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard finished the scoring.
With Arsenal losing to Stoke and Manchester City in the league cup final this result moves Liverpool up to second in the league, for now at least. The result also means that Liverpool remain unbeaten in 2014, they’ve won seven games in nine taking 23 points from a possible 29.
It hasn’t been easy for Roberto Soldado since his big money move from Valencia to Tottenham in the summer. The Spaniard had only scored one goal from open play and four from the penalty spot before this weekend.
This weekend he set out to make amends for his bad run of form and scored his first goal in nine games, scoring the only goal of the game as Spurs beat Cardiff at White Hart Lane.
The result keeps Tottenham in the hunt for Champions League football ahead of difficult games this month against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Meanwhile Cardiff continue their poor form under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Since the Norwegian took over at the start of January they have scored just four goals and conceded 17. They end the weekend 19th in the league, one point from bottom.