Fireworks as Balotelli asks 'why always me?'
Balotelli lights the touchpaper, nine-man Chelsea beaten by QPR
THERE was no shortage of talking points this weekend after a quite extraordinary round of games on Sunday. Events at Old Trafford will go down in the folklore of both clubs and City's 6-1 win will be talked about for many years to come.
But there was plenty going on elsewhere as Chelsea had two men sent off against local rivals QPR and lost to them for the first time since 1995, Arsenal's recovery continued and there were some brilliant goals.
Here's what the fans will be talking about this morning:
WHY ALWAYS BALOTELLI?
After scoring the first goal in City's extraordinary rout of United Mario Balotelli calmly lifted his shirt to reveal a question stitched onto his vest. "Why always me?" it read, and it's a good question. The oddball Italian certainly has a knack for landing himself in the headlines. On Sunday Balotelli lit the blue touchpaper at Old Trafford by scoring the first two City goals, a day earlier he had done something similar in the bathroom of his Cheshire mansion, starting a blaze at his home by letting off fireworks. Apparently Balotelli and some of his chums were throwing rockets through the windows of his home (something of a hobby for Balotelli) when one set fire to a pile of towels. The fire brigade put out the blaze, but Balotelli was forced to celebrate City's win at the hotel he moved into.
THEATRE OF NIGHTMARES
Old Trafford styles itself as the Theatre of Dreams, and already this season it has hosted two of the most outlandish games of football ever seen in the Premier League. United fans were in dreamland as they destroyed Arsenal 8-2 back in August, but Sunday was an absolute nightmare for them. It was United's biggest home defeat for 56 years, and the first time they had conceded six at home since 1930. It was also their first defeat at Old Trafford for 18 months. The last time City scored six at the home of their local rivals was in 1926. Given those stats Alex Ferguson's dreams may well be troubled for the next few nights.
CHELSEA SEE RED
What with events in Manchester it would be easy to overlook another remarkable derby in west London where QPR overcame their bitter rivals Chelsea, who were reduced to nine men in the first half as Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba were shown red cards. The decisive goal came after just 10 minutes, when Heidar Helguson scored from the spot after David Luiz had barged him over in the box. QPR boss Neil Warnock, who so often criticises referees, was for once full of praise for Chris Foy. Understandably, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas was less impressed, describing the ref as "very poor".
JOHN TERRY RACE ROW
John Terry not only had to contend with Chelsea's defeat to QPR on Sunday afternoon, but also allegations of racism after video of the game emerged in which he appeared to abuse Hoops defender Anton Ferdinand, calling him a "fucking black cunt". However, the Chelsea man dismissed the claims, claiming it was all a "misunderstanding" and people were taking the video out of context. "I thought Anton was accusing me of using a racist slur against him. I responded aggressively, saying that I never used that term," clarified Terry.
VAN PERSIE AT THE DOUBLE
On any other day Arsenal's 3-1 win over Stoke would have been a noteworthy affair. It was the first time they had won back-to-back league matches since February and it sends them rocketing up the table to seventh. However, Sunday was not any other day and events at Old Trafford and Loftus Road put Arsenal in the shade. Things may not be perfect at the Emirates, but their calamitous start to the season has been put behind them. The key reason for the Gunners' resugence is the form of Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman came off the bench after 66 minutes to replace the increasingly ineffective Marouane Chamakh and scored twice, for the second league game running, to earn the Gunners the victory.
Everton defender Royston Drenthe marked his first start for the Toffees with an absolute screamer of a goal, which sadly very few people will remember, thanks to the goings on elsewhere in the Premier League. But the Dutchman should have been very proud of what will surely be a goal of the month, if not season, contender after unleashing an unstoppable curling shot from almost 30 yards. Having seen that, Fulham new boy Bryan Ruiz pretty much matched it with an exquisite chip to level the scores. But after the glamour goals it was Everton who took home the spoils. A glaring Bobby Zamora miss after 89 minutes was capitalised on by the Toffees who immediately took the lead through Louis Saha, and Jack Rodwell made sure of the points in injury time.