Walcott delivers as Giggs and Lampard prove their class

Feb 27, 2012

Premier League talking points from Arsenal's comeback to City's super strikeforce

It was another remarkable weekend of action in the Premier League as the top two both won again and extended their lead over third-placed Spurs, who were routed by Arsenal an in extraordinary north London derby.

There were landmark moments for veterans Ryan Giggs and Frank Lampard while none of the bottom five managed a win, but Wolves and Wigan both picked up a point.

Here's what the fans will be talking about this morning:

From Theo to hero
With his team 2-0 down to their biggest rivals on their own turf shortly after 2pm on Sunday, and large sections of the Arsenal crowd taking out their frustration on him personally, Theo Walcott probably wanted to be anywhere but the Emirates. But an hour later he was the king of all he surveyed as two goals in the space of three minutes capped the Gunners' extraordinary comeback against Spurs.

The fact that Walcott emerged for the second half was something of a surprise given the roasting he received from the fans. But the great enigma did come out and did what he always does, confound expectation. This time little was expected of him and therefore he produced a lot. His two finishes showed what he, and Arsenal, are capable of as they cut Spurs to ribbons.

It was an extraordinary turnaround for Arsenal and Walcott, and it could provide the spark the club needs to salvage its season. Certainly the talk among fans in the aftermath of the game was about catching Spurs and finishing third. But let's not get carried away just yet.

Evergreen Giggs
Goals from Scholes and Giggs and the winner for Manchester United coming in injury time... fans at Carrow Road on Sunday could have been forgiven for thinking that we were back in the 1990s. It was an extraordinary finish to the match for Ryan Giggs who, at the age of 38, was playing in his 900th game for United and after 90 minutes still had enough puff to ghost in at the far post to latch on to Ashley Young's cross and score his 107th Premier League goal.

Some of his team-mates were not even born when Giggs made his first appearance for United 21 years ago this week. That he has now appeared 900 times for the same team is nothing short of extraordinary, and the fact that every appearance has been under the watchful eye of Alex Ferguson is even more remarkable.

The age of Giggs, Scholes and Ferguson will inevitably coming to an end. None of them are likely to be around in three years' time, and when they go it really will be the end of an era, and one that is unlikely to ever be repeated.

Lampard makes a point
Chelsea eased the pressure on Andre Villas Boas with a 3-0 win over lowly Bolton on Saturday, although anything other than victory probably would have sounded the death knell for the Portuguese.

Tellingly he restored Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole to the starting line-up despite his well publicised conflicts with the pair.

The crowd made it clear where their loyalties lay as they sang Lampard's name. And he responded in typical fashion by scoring the Blues third goal. It meant that he became the first player in the history of the Premier League to score ten goals in nine consecutive seasons.

Afterwards Lampard admitted that his relationship with the new Chelsea boss was "not ideal" and said: "There have been certain issues... Certain players, we don't like not to play."

There may have been more veiled criticism when he said that he was happy to abide by decisions that were in the best interests of the club. The problem is that he believes that it is not in Chelsea's interests to leave him out. And he may have a point.

City strikers
Perhaps it was intended as a message to Carlos Tevez, but the scoresheet for Manchester City as they eased past Blackburn to maintain their lead at the top of the Premier League read 3-0 thanks to Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. In other words, all three of City's strikers found the net as Roberto Mancini's men won at home yet again.

Goals have not been a problem for City this season and they have plundered 67 of them in 26 games, and all three strikers are in double figures for the season. They have scored 40 in their 13 home games, and are on course for a 100 per cent record at the Etihad.

Tevez may not get the chance to redeem himself in front of the City fans if things carry on like this.

Hughes an angry man
Defeat to bitter rivals and former employers Fulham must have been hard enough for QPR boss Mark Hughes to take, without having to deal with avunvular Dutchman Martin Jol trying to pat him on the head at the end of the game. So that may explain why Sparky almost sparked a touchline brawl as he pushed the Fulham manager's hand away after defeat at Loftus Road on Saturday.

The 1-0 defeat leaves QPR in serious trouble, they have now won just one of their last 14 league games and are only outside the relegation places on goal difference.

The Hoops will have to fight hard to stay up now, but someone might have to tell Samba Diakite, who was sent off on his debut, that it doesn't mean literally.

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