THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Premier League ~ Misplaced attacks from tribal fans
The phrase "a great advent for English football" isn't the best advert for English punditry, but even the dourest of curmudgeons must be enjoying the games between the teams at the top of the Premier League this season. Manchester City's trip to Spurs provided six goals; Arsenal's defeat at Manchester United had ten; Manchester City scored six of the seven at Old Trafford; and Chelsea shared six with United yesterday. Attacking is in vogue and long may it continue. It is a shame the behaviour of the supporters at the games has not matched the improved football on show.

The abuse directed at Patrice Evra by Liverpool fans last weekend was as predictable as it was frustrating, but the booing of Rio Ferdinand yesterday was a new low. It is difficult to understand why Evra was booed – he reported he had been called a "negro", a fact that the Liverpool hierarchy admit. Evra didn't ban Luis Suárez; the FA did.

Discerning Ferdinand's crime is even more difficult. Chelsea fans presumably booed him because, according to a fan in attendance at Chelsea's match with QPR in October, Rio's brother was racially abused by John Terry. In the past few weeks football tribalism has been extended beyond all bounds of taste and degrees of separation. For all the FA's campaigns against racism, the fans in the stands illustrate why players will think twice before reporting any abuse in the future.

Rovers maintain their scoring run
Blackburn Rovers may have been on the wrong end of a 7-1 hammering at the Emirates on Saturday but their record of scoring in each of their Premier League away games this season remains intact. Morten Gamst Pedersen's strike in the 31st minute means Rovers are still the only team to have that record, with Manchester City failing to score at both West Brom and Everton this season. Manchester United couldn't find a way past Newcastle's defence at St James' Park. The statistic will be little comfort to Blackburn fans, though, as Wolves' win over QPR means Steve Kean's side are now three points from safety.

Championship ~ Millwall still without a win at Upton Park
Television viewers of West Ham v Millwall on Saturday may have been baffled by the bank of empty seating behind one goal at Upton Park. Only 1,436 Millwall fans were allowed into the stadium, with police looking to avoid the trouble that has marred the fixture in the past. The hopes of the few Millwall fans were raised when West Ham's Kevin Nolan was sent off in the eighth minute. However, the Lions couldn't secure their first ever League win at Upton Park and West Ham triumphed 2-1. It leaves the Hammers four points clear at the top of the Championship, while Millwall hover just above the relegation zone.

League One ~ Wycombe take advantage of postponements
Only four games survived the cold weather in League One and Wycombe Wanderers took the opportunity to jump out of the relegation zone. They may have feared the worst when they found themselves 1-0 down to Tranmere Rovers after five minutes, but a debut goal for Matty Whichelow and another from veteran Gareth Ainsworth secured the three points. They will still be nervous though, as three of the four teams below them have games in hand.

League Two ~ Plymouth warm up after 80 minutes
Southend United's trip to Plymouth Argyle was the only League Two game to go ahead this weekend. The Pilgrims were wishing it had been postponed after their defence froze in the first minute to allow Michael Timlin to put Southend ahead. By half-time they were 2-0 down, but Plymouth fought back in the final five minutes. Nick Chadwick and Alex MacDonald scored for the home side to leave it all square at Home Park. A point moves Southend up to second in the table, while Plymouth remain second bottom.

Serie A ~ Surprises at the top in Italy
It was a bizarre weekend of results in Italy, with none of the top five teams winning. Leaders Juventus and second-place AC Milan were held 0-0 at home by Siena and Napoli respectively. Third-place Udinese were beaten 3-2 at Fiorentina, fourth-place Lazio lost by the same scoreline at Genoa, while Inter were beaten 4-0 by Roma. Little has changed at the top of the division. Juventus, who have a game in hand, remain a point ahead of AC Milan. Tom Hocking & Paul Campbell

Comments (2)
Comment by DaveWallace 2012-02-06 19:04:34

As a Tranmere fan I can say with absolute certainty that if Wycombe had done their homework before the game they would have known there was absolutely no need to fear the worst when they went behind to Tranmere given that Tranmere had blown an early lead in both of their previous two away games.

Comment by Skowz 2012-02-07 03:42:16

That erroneous "a" comes back again.

Liverpool have not admitted he called him "a negro", prounounced nee-gro, but "negro" (ne-gro), in Spanish, meaning black.

Just becuase two words are spelt the same in two different languages, it doesn't mean they mean the same.

That little "a" makes a whole lotta difference.

Related articles

From David Beckham to Olly Lee – are goals from the halfway line over-rated?
Despite it boiling down to lumping a ball forwards 60 yards, the appeal of goals from a long way out to both fans and pundits seems to be endless...
The Man Who Kept The Red Flag Flying by Wayne Barton
Jimmy Murphy – the family authorised life storyTrinity Sport Media, £16.99Reviewed by Joyce WoolridgeFrom WSC 376, June 2018Buy the book...