Great sporting weekend

This last weekend was a great weekend for watching sport. England had a great game against France in the rugby. They are still a long way off being able to properly defend their World Cup title, but they did manage to get a good win without Johnny Wilkinson playing. This looks to be even more important now that he is unavailable for the match against Wales this weekend.
Football wise there were some great games. Middlesborough nearly beat Manchester United – let’s just hope there can be a repeat of the game at the replay. Spurs should have beaten Chelsea in a cracker of a game which ended up 3-3 and Alan Hansen saying it will probably be the best match of the season. Watford beat Plymouth in their ridiculous game – the FA has no scheduling sense – why they made Watford fans play their game last on the weekend and have to travel all the way back instead of the London derby?
The draw looks to have been a bit of a fix keeping Chelsea and Manchester United apart:
Blackburn v Chelsea or Tottenham
Watford v Middlesbrough or Manchester United
And by some miracle it seems like the FA Cup Final will finally be back at Wembley having been away from there since 2001. Although the FA’s website then crashed with lots of people trying to buy tickets for the first game: the U-21s playing Italy U-21. Hopefully they might get it sorted – let’s just hope these type of problems don’t happen with the Olympics.

Hammers are going down

How gutting – to be 2-0 up, then 3-2 up against Tottenham Hotspur and then to end up losing 4-3. Unfortunately that really seems to be it for West Ham. The Hammers are now 10 points from safety, with nine games to go, and are facing a run-in that includes fixtures against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. If we’re honest they don’t really stand a chance. It is especially sad for Alan Curbishley who is such a great manager, but seems to have really struggled to get them sorted out in the last few months.

Henrik Larsson

Henrik Larsson has to be one of the best signings of the season. Alex Ferguson has shown he still has what it takes to get the best talent. But it is interesting that Larsson is not interested in extending the contract. Partly it seems he is keen to get back to playing in Sweden and honouring his commitment to his club there, and partly he hasn’t settled fully in the UK and has been commuting from Sweden. But it is refreshing to hear a footballer turn down, what I am sure, would have been a much better deal than he has got in Sweden.

Mike Newell’s dodgy comments

Mike Newell is certainly courting controversy at the moment. On Saturday he managed to make some pretty stupid comments – criticising Amy Rayner, the assistant referee, and his chairman. He had now been asked to meet the Luton board and it looks like he has some explaining to do.

It is sad that he made these comments – there is no need. You can criticise a match official without having to bring their gender into it – that is completely irrelevant. She has earned the right to officiate at that level by doing all the qualifications.

A couple of years ago Ron Atkinson was forced to resign after making racist comments in the wake of Chelsea’s Champions League game against Monaco in April 2004. While I am not keen on people being sacked I do think that we should treat sexism in a similar way to racism.

Who’d be a goalkeeper?

After the Reading v Chelsea game who’d want to be a goalkeeper. Both the Chelsea keepers took quite big hits – with both ending up having to come off Chelsea finished the game with John Terry in goal! Check out BBC Sport’s report on the game.

What is interesting is listening to the comments afterwards with Jose Mourinho wanting the FA to investigate the challenges and then Steve Coppell and goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson saying there was no intent shown by Hunt and Sonko in their challenges.

What is fair to expect off a goalkeeper?

Possible goal of the season

Robin van Persie scored an awesome goal on Saturday – a real contender for goal of the season – as Arsenal beat Charlton. It was a goal worthy of winning any match. Check it out: