It was one of them weekends when it was easy to forget that powerbases are shifting all over the place in England.
The Big Three all won. And Liverpool more than snuck a win too.
United and Chelsea played averagely but prevailed against a team of honest huffers and puffers. Gary Neville proved that the way to get away with brainless challenges is to make sure you wear the red of Manchester. Lee Cattermole could be an all time great if only Fergie’d buy him.
Chelsea’s victory was ensured as, alarmingly, it often is, by a late goal by Kalou. Which meant that we got the limpest goal celebration in modern football. What’s Salomon doing exactly? Cleaning the visor of his motor-cycle helmet? Wiping snot from a nose as red and tender as a Glaswegian managerial God’s? Wafting away the stench of his own halitosis?
Actually, it’s not as feeble as Fernando Torres who enjoyed his goal so much he stood there like a reprimanded schoolboy while his mates tried to cheer him up. Carragher looked less dejected with his own goal. Incidentally Tony Thompson (Blue Bell regular and right feckin’ know-all) reckons that carthorse Jamie has scored more goals against Liverpool than any other current Premiership player – which I find somehow very cheering.
Any road I just hope sulkin’ Nando doesn’t get a hat-trick next week or he’ll be locking himself in the nearest cupboard under the stairs while Stevie G tries to talk him out.
All the while, the British media pack was resigned to not having a crocked Wazza to point their audio-visuals at. Rooney was in Dubai. Presumably he entertained himself by playing Football Manager on his Nintendo Doo-dah and wiring the results to the Glazer family. Well, that and watching a tachometer of his minute-by-minute income whirring around like it was the date on the De Lorean in Back to the Future.
In his absence the crock of shite (his words approximately, not mine) the poor lad will still be forced to throw his lot in featured a brilliant performance by a Mexican child. Javier Hernandez prefers to wear the moniker of Chicarito which I’m told means ’little pea’ (but not the sort that Wazza has up against a dustbin, more the sort that fell out of Andre Marriner's whistle when Neville took out Etherington).
I am Little Pea - fresh as the moment when my mum went pop
It’s sweet of course – and thank God the lad hasn’t signed for French club or they'd be putting Petit Pois on his back – but you do wonder if he’s not setting a dangerous precedent by having a nickname on his shirt.
If they all followed suit there’d be a right motley collection on the Man U team-sheet: Scholes, Giggs and G-Nev would quickly become Ginger Ninja, Teacher’s Pet and, well... I don’t know quite what but I guarantee it’d be four letters long. And when Wayne does come back, how are they going to fit Greedy Scouse Bastard onto his back?
Still you can get away with a name like Little Pea if you’re good and little Javier is certainly that. We spent a long time in the Blue Bell trying to work out how he scored with that header and decided it was the bonce equivalent of a cheeky backheel - what you might call a backwards nut. It’s the kind of move Jackie Chan would use to get out of a full nelson.
I’m sure Rooney will walk back into the side with the casual lope of a Dimitar Berbatov but nevertheless there were reasons to be cheerful for Fergie in his understudy’s brightness.
Not that Wayne doesn’t, to be fair, have a point regarding the rest of the side. It appears United need more marquee signings, whatever that means. I believe a marquee is a big tent of the type that you’d put an almighty circus in, which is of course what United is most of the time.
But Nani apart – and there’s a bloke who’s managed to put a lot of his pointless circus skills behind him and actually contribute more than the odd double-shuffling mince and Olympian gymnastics floor routine to the cause – there’s not much inspiration to be had.
The midfield is a creativity wasteland when deprived of GingeNinje: they work hard enough but if a middle four of Gibson, Anderson, Fletcher and Carrick then you’re looking at faces as blank as a Holby City actress.
The older she gets the smoother the forehead becomes
Compare them with, say, Modric, Bale, Van der Vaart and Huddlestone... well it’s like a choice between a fat bowl of strawberries and cream or a dry biscuit. Reports that Sneijder was being tracked seem to represent a much-needed investment. Otherwise blood Wazza for the soon-to-be-vacant Scholes role and keep Hernandez up front. (And hope that someone like De Jong or the lovely Carl Henry doesn’t make Mushy Little Peas of the lad).
Meanwhile Arsenal continue to threaten to become that which Wenger craves so much. Winners. Barn-door Bendtner returned with a goal and my personal player of the season thus far, Samir Nasri, continues to play out of his skin.
Here's Nasri proving that Arsenal can win ugly too
Plus they beat the upstarts and I have to say the longer Man City go without lifting the Premier League trophy the better I’ll feel. Mancini’s getting into the swing of being the manager of a big English club now – complete with a whinge about a stonewall red card from his callow Belgian centre-back. All right if he’d have been wearing a red shirt with Vidic on the back it might have been a yellow but come on, Roberto, get over yourself.