At the weekend there were some excellent matches, but it was marred by people being unable to keep their traps shut on Twitter and by being narcissistic on the pitch. Like every weekend, then, but here are the particular highlights of annoyance.
Lampard's muted celebration
Everybody loves Frank Lampard. Unless they’re not Chelsea fans. If they’re not they see a self-regarding man with an established line in self-conscious celebrations.
Lampard stopped his habit of celebrating goals against Chelsea after scoring for Manchester City, his new club. He could not, movingly, bring himself to celebrate against his old club because he was just so damn emotional about it. Obviously, you might suggest to Lampard that if we was really so upset about the prospect of scoring against Chelsea he could have stayed in New York after joining a club there. But of course there was simply no way that Lampard could know that was a possibility when he joined. There is no way at all he could have known he would be loaned to back to Manchester City.
Ozil and Welbeck silence their critics
It was three minutes. Against Aston Villa.
Wayne Rooney picking his position
In June 2013, Wayne Rooney told the world that he was, ‘definitely a centre-forward.’ Fast forward a year and Louis van Gaal informed the public that Rooney was playing as a number 10 because he told his manager that was his best position. In 2013 Alex Ferguson said that Rooney had requested to be played as a centre-forward. As a striker and now as a number 10, he has failed to meet expectations of a generally competent footballer.
He has certainly failed to meet expectations of a footballer with a five-year contract who earns the best part of a million pounds a month. No matter, though. Radamel Falcao, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie, Adnan Januzaj and plenty of other talented footballers will be moved around as Rooney is indulged yet again. There’s a good side - with a dodgy defence - waiting to break out at United, it just needs someone to realise it doesn’t have Rooney in it.
WATCH: 5 of United's Worst Ever Premier League Defeats
Zabaleta tweets his way to a moral victory
In January 2012, Vincent Kompany was sent off for a reckless challenge against Manchester United in the FA Cup. It was, admittedly, a harsh red card, but there you go - at least it didn’t happen in a competition that mattered. After the match, Micah Richards said that, ‘In our heads we won’, and Roberto Mancini and Kompany claimed the moral victory. It was all fairly pathetic stuff - people only really want the moral victory when they know they’ve missed out on the actual victory. There is no Guinness Book Of Moral Records.
Cut to this weekend, and, urgh, Twitter. After Pablo Zabaleta was sent off for raising his hands against Diego Costa - a man who lives to score goals and get others sent off, with no little skill - he took to Twitter. So far Chelsea are undefeated and clearly had the measure of Manchester City in their own ground, just as they did last year. Chelsea are favourites for the title and have the players and experience to win the league comfortably, as City fail to bother to start trying this season.
Zabaleta apologised for being sent off, and then complained that Costa was also not sent off. The subtext was clear: City were hard done by. It was another moral victory. After hundreds of millions of pounds, and with a grown up as a manager instead of Mancini, they really should be past all this. Chelsea know how easy City are to wind up, still, and Jose Mourinho is hardly the manager to let that go.
After the match Manuel Pellegrini complained that Chelsea were playing like a small team. Now, Chelsea are top of the league and undefeated - what kind of small team is that, exactly?
Balotelli racial abuse
'Annoying' doesn’t do it justice, obviously, but it is certainly one of the worst events of the weekend in the Premier League.
When Mario Balotelli enjoyed a hearty slice of schadenfreude at Manchester United’s loss at Leicester, there were plenty of options ready for the internet United fans. The easy one would be to point out that he lost against West Ham the previous day, and an even better one was that he got sacked from Manchester City before the useless Mancini did. But no, because it’s football, and because it’s the internet, he was racially abused by hordes of idiots. This isn’t so much annoying as it is thoroughly dispiriting.
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