Is this Tiannamen Square?
Why? Because someone needs to be brave to step in front of the bustling Chelsea tank that comes through. Good heaven, it is devastating. How Palace could have deserved a 1-1 draw, perhaps even scored to be ahead 2-1. Yet the difference on Saturday was Joe Cole. Far, far better than before, no time taken to showboat, no wasted passing or loose balls due to lapse of concentration, he got on with the game and passed, created space and ran pass players. Much better and no surprise being called for the national side. Chelsea were different come the second half.
Man Utd and Arsenal were different themselves. Not much to add to that, they won by a single goal when they should have had at least two, but it was enough for the win. Their wins were not on par with that of Real, who unconvincingly beat Malaga yesterday 1-0 after being held 0-0 at half time. Giannakopoulos struck a superb, what turned out to be, winning goal for Bolton. Similar to Henry against Palace at Highbury. Norwich help to defeat themselves, and it is hard to motivate this rock bottom team, as Delia Smith found out during the home match against Man City. Speaking of which, Pearce was unlucky not to have started his tenure with a win, though Spurs made enough of the game to earn it. Atouba must be punished before the FA for what appears to have been a nasty intended elbow that left Joey Barton with a gash above his right eye, which required stitching. Atouba has skill and strength to be better than that.
The talking point for me was Charlton v WBA. Where were Charlton? Did they go off, thinking it was an away match? For Horsfield's goal, Mark Fish marked him then strolled away, leaving the striker with a free header. Kiely saved excellently from Gera's freekick, despite a deflection, and WBA waltzed at the back enough to allow Johannson to tuck away the equaliser. Why had El Karkouri jumped in as he did? Two footed. Curbishley said afterwards that in other eyes it was a bad challenge. I recommend he remains using his glasses. He cited the early contact between Luke Young and Paul Robinson as a similar challenge that Robinson wasn't booked for. No it wasn't. Andy Gray again, makes the point. Two players who come together, two forces, Robinson won, their tangle was a result of those forces coming together. We expect no less. The Moroccan had to go.
So when Earnshaw comes on, for Richardson, he seemed eager to get on and he paid off. Superbly, exposing Mark Fish at the back again, he waited for Horsfield to head across goal and then moved in between Charlton players to head yet another free header. he was onside for his second, Konchesky played him, and then put away the third from the spot, after Bryan Hughes decided to swipe recent Burnley acquisition Richard Chaplow in the box, I don't know why the ex-Brum player felt he had to.
It's rare for Bryan Robson to celebrate publicly but he had to Saturday. they shouldn't have won at The Valley on paper, but then paper can burn, luck runs out, while desire is earned and kepted. Charlton lost some of theirs, WBA ensured on taking advantage.