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Diving gags and the managerial merry-go-round

ESPN staff
November 17, 2012
Emmanuel Adebayor had an action-packed 17 minute cameo © PA Photos
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Hero to villain

Emmanuel Adebayor has a history of making headlines when playing former clubs. He once charged the length of the field to celebrate in front of Arsenal fans while playing for Manchester City. It was Arsenal in his sights again, this time for Tottenham, and he had scribes penning celebratory headlines when firing Spurs ahead on 10 minutes. But he went from hero to zero eight minutes later as his lunge at Santi Cazorla earned him a red card.

That Arsenal went on to win 5-2 will only rub more salt into open wounds.

The Mertesacker role

Arsene Wenger signed the big German as the man to solve his defensive problems. He's looked anything but secure and was made to look a bit of a mug by Jermain Defoe for Tottenham's opening goal. He was also seen chugging alongside Gareth Bale when he scored Spurs' consolation.

So, with the defensive frailties in mind, he went forward for a corner and as Spurs cleared, he decided to stay up front. It proved something of a masterstroke, as the ball broke to Theo Walcott who dug out a cross that Mertesacker met with the sort of authority Alan Shearer used to do in his pomp and the ball flew past Hugo Lloris into the top corner.

On second thoughts

Having said all that, considering Chelsea love to play David Luiz - a defender who, nine times out of ten, doesn't actually appear to know how to defend (watch his marking of Shane Long for West Brom's opener in their win for the latest evidence) - perhaps footballing tactics have advanced to such a stage where top clubs don't actually want to put in defence players who can, you'know, defend?

All of this could have been yours

We may have to watch 'Being: Liverpool - Season Two' to find out for sure, but we feel pretty confident Brendan Rodgers is one of the happiest Premier League managers tonight.

Saturday had the potential to be an embarrassing day for the Northern Irishman, as he welcomed the Wigan side of Roberto Martinez - the man who, despite his "aw shucks" act on the matter, was almost definitely offered the Liverpool job but turned it down; paving the way for Rodgers to come to Anfield.

A defeat would have raised unfortunate questions about whether Liverpool got the wrong man. As it was, a 3-0 win had everyone on Merseyside looking to the future with optimism - especially Rodgers.

Fire up the managerial merry-go-round

After giving us the worst pun of the season - 'El Sackico' - Southampton's victory over QPR could finally see a bit of movement in the managerial markets. Hoops owner Tony Fernandes has insisted that he is fully behind Mark Hughes, but surely he will consider a change after the club fell four points adrift at the bottom of the table with a 3-1 home defeat to the side directly above them.

The Premier League has never reached December without a manager being sacked. If Hughes manages to break that streak, it could be a miracle. A probably foolish miracle, but a miracle nonetheless.

Tom Daley ... or Ashley Young? © Getty Images
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Hashtag: chant banter

Who knows if it is original (it's not like we are paid to actually do the research. What's that? Oh, apparently we are), but we really admired the Norwich faithful's early chants in the direction of Ashley Young.

The former Aston Villa winger was serenaded with a rendition of 'There's only one Tom Daley' from the Carrow End faithful. Geddit? Because Ashley Young is regarded as something of a diver on the football pitch, while Daley actually is a professional diver. Genius!

Phantom penalty

Referee Jon Moss's decision to award Manchester City a penalty - with the score just 1-0 - against Aston Villa for quite literally nothing was certainly bold but, speaking frankly, we really can't see it being incorporated into the written rules of the game.

'FIFA Rule 17.5 : The referee has the right to award a penalty to the home side for absolutely no reason, should he be bored and/or incompetent'.

No, it just would never happen. Still, Manchester City went on to win 5-0, so I'm sure they won't be complaining...

Say it until you believe it

And we'll leave you with this somewhat questionable quote from Andre Villas-Boas after the 5-2 defeat: "We controlled the game from the first minute to the last."

Maybe Arsene Wenger is no longer the manager with the worst eyesight in north London...

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