By Nick PriceMopping up the best of the worst from the weekend’s football action…
The Ashley Cole award for throwing it away
Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal)
After the Polish goalkeeper goaded Ashley Cole – in fairness, it is this column’s favourite act of football gloating this season – for “throwing Chelsea out of the FA Cup” by shanking over from the spot against Everton, we eagerly anticipate his next cocky Twitter update following his disastrous error in the League Cup final.
The Kevin Davies award for most industrious use of the elbow
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s ridiculous claims to the contrary, there was absolutely something in the elbow Rooney planted to the back of James McCarthy’s head in the first half of the game at the DW Stadium.
There should be no debate about whether he should be given a retrospective ban or not. It was a chair to the face and a piledriver away from belonging to a hardcore wrestling ring or the roughest pub in Moss Side.
Quote of the Weekend
“I have had a chance to see it. There is nothing in it. But, what will happen, the question has been asked and because it is Wayne Rooney the press will raise a campaign to get him hung by Tuesday or electrocuted or something like that. It is unbelievable. Watch the press. It will be interesting to see it.”
– Sir Alex Ferguson fools nobody and totally makes a prat of himself by defending the indefensible.
The Dick Cheney award for shooting a colleague
Ashley Cole (Chelsea)
On Sunday a national paper alleged that the England full-back had shot a student on work experience at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground.
What on earth is a grown man doing playing around with an air rifle at work? It’s like a naughty kid bringing in a slingshot to school and then smacking a bookish class-mate in the face with a few pebbles.
If the player’s previous indiscretions are anything to go by, he probably lent over the stricken staff member and told him he should feel privileged to have been shot by Ashley Cole.
A rifleman’s salute | Ashley has shown Torres how to hit the target
The aspiring politician award for most naked hypocrisy
Jose Mourinho (Real Madrid)
He won trophy after trophy in Scotland, but winning a trophy in England and getting Birmingham into Europe must rank as one of his finest achievements.
Came on, only his third appearance in a Birmingham shirt, to win the cup for a club whose trophy drought stretched for over 40 years.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s just Wojciech Szczesny throwing away Arsenal’s best chance of ending their trophy drought. How do you say “if in doubt, kick it out” in Polish?
MTW very much dislikes the notion that football should be played in a certain way, that it has to entertain and that any kind of defensive display is some sort of sin against the spirit of the game.
And MTW very much dislikes when managers moan about lesser sides taking the safety-first approach against their own money-laden superstars.
So when Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho – one of the best coaches in the sport and probably the best player of the blame game – whinged like a baby after Deportivo held his side to a draw, this column was more than a touch annoyed and amused.
”We played against one goalkeeper and 10 defenders for the second half. Only one team played to win. The other played to exhaustion and defended and they won the prize. We, who tried to win, are penalised for this,” fumed the indignant Portuguese boss.
This coming from a man whose Inter side parked the bus, a plane and a tank in front of the goal at the Nou Camp last season.
There are fewer things funnier in football than a hypocritical manager (like Arsene Wenger bemoaning rough-house tactics when his Premier League-winning sides were among the dirtiest around, or Rafael Benitez when he used to moan about having no money but then spend what he had on Robbie Keane).
Mourinho then bleated on about the scheduling of the game, which took place a full four days after Real’s draw at Lyon, and claimed the fixture compilers were sitting back and laughing at him.
They’re not, chief, but we are.
Fantasy football hero
Scott Parker (West Ham)
He seemed to be just about everywhere on the pitch against Liverpool, sticking so tight to Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva that he could have wiped their noses whenever they touched the ball, and set in chain a lovely move before stabbing it in from the edge of the area.
A heroic display.
Fantasy football zero
Pepe Reina (Liverpool)
For pleading with the referee to book Carlton Cole and then allowing the bumbling England striker to blast one past him on his near post. Instant karma.
The Darren Bent award for angry Twitter rant of the weekend
DJ Campbell (Blackpool)
MTW loves Twitter because it also allows us to tap right into the brainwaves of footballers – some of whom should really think about giving up the whole social networking thing.
Take DJ Campbell. After getting himself sent off at the weekend for a petulant shove on Richard Stearman when Blackpool were a goal down to Wolves, a fairly innocuous tweet was sent to his account to let him know that he’d let the side down and cost them three points.
The striker swiftly popped up and bounced back with: “Cost you three points?! You weren’t saying that when we played Spurs! Or f***** Liverpool, Stoke, Sunderland was you?”
To be fair, Dudley Junior did then go on to apologise for letting the team down, but having a pop at one of your own fans really isn’t a classy thing to do, especially after dropping their team in it on the pitch.