It sounds predictable enough but sadly we have had another weekend of predictable controversy, detracting from some magnificent football, and instead focusing on handshakes, goal-line technology and diving.
All the furore surrounding handshakes is ridiculous and only fuels the anger and hatred expressed in the stands. It’s such a nonsensical, minuet part of football that doesn’t deserve the coverage it receives.
The fact that we don’t have goal-line technology has now gone beyond a joke – it’s instantaneous in tennis and proves crucial in cricket.
At Goodison Park on Monday, a classic second half unfolded between Everton and Newcastle United. Victor Anichebe’s header was partially saved but still deflected off the bar and over the line.
To add to Everton’s frustration, a liquid move was capped off by Marouane Fellaini, only to be ruled out as ‘offside’.
Too many of these decisions are spoiling games and putting the officials under unnecessary pressure and harsh scrutiny.
Furthermore, it’s clear from Danny Welbeck’s acrobatics on Saturday that the incessant diving in modern football needs to be punished.
These issues have sparked drawn out debate for months and even years and masked over two great performances this weekend.
The action at Goodison Park on Monday had a captivating collection of drama, skill and tenacity. Both sides demonstrated why they will challenge for Europe this campaign, injury lists permitting.
It is refreshing, in an era of outrageous spending, that two managers are utilising their resources to the utter maximum to produce fine players such as Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar.
Back in a sun soaked London, Arsenal rocketed up to third and announced themselves to the title race.
Thanks to Steve Bould’s immediate impact at Arsenal, the defence appears relatively solid, releasing the plethora of attacking talent on offer to the home crowd.
The impressive new boys Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski ripped a sorry Southampton apart but was most noticeable on Saturday was the depth Arsenal showcased from the bench.
Theo Walcott came on to score, Aaron Ramsey popped up to set up Gervinho and summer signing Olivier Giroud desperately tried to grab his first goal for the club.
Compared to last season’s disastrous start, Arsenal are in looking far more healthy, positive and dangerous to their rivals.
Next up after an away day in the Champions League, the Gunners face Manchester City in their first major test of their title credentials.
Roberto Mancini’s men have been frail at the back to say the least – which was highlighted by Peter Crouch’s volleyball goal on Saturday – and lack the devastating force they acquired early doors last season.
If Arsène Wenger’s side can play with the same fluidity and confidence displayed against Southampton and can sustain it for 90 minutes, then Mancini has a real headache ahead on Sunday.
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