Super Sunday is the Premier League’s illegitimate love child with Sky TV. It is hyped by pundits, pubs and papers alike as a showcase for the best oft English football. Unfortunately though, Super Sunday is an untrustworthy bastard.
It is a lie to suggest the football played will be ‘super’. And it is a con to pretend that the English league has four contenders, not least because the ‘super’ side below Manchester City in today’s table hasn’t won a title as recently as Leeds United.
So as most fans expected, two dull matches signalled another two-horse race when some one scored a 1-0 winner for Manchester United at Anfield, and some one else scored a 1-0 winner for Arsenal at the Emirates.
Fortunately though, Super Sunday has a legitimate brother born and raised in the loving wedlock of the old English league. Inconsequential Saturday.
Inconsequential Saturday is everything Super Sunday isn’t. Honest, exciting, and a showcase for English football.
Lets start with soon to be relegated Wigan. What could be more inconsequential than a thrilling 5-3 home win, a glorious comeback, two hat tricks, and three valueless points that lifted Athletic no league places up to deep trouble in 19th?
And thrilling it was. With no title to pretend to challenge for, Blackburn charitably gave Athletic a three goal lead before Roque Santa Cruz cruelly snatched it back to 3-3 with a hat-trick. Then, as if to signal their pointlessness, Wigan’s Marcus Bent scored two to complete his hat-trick and earn his side a happy memory of their time in top flight.
Next up, what could be less important than a 1-1 draw between Aston Villa and Sunderland, I hear you ask. Good question! The answer can only be a penguin catching fish with his flippers while riding a remote controlled motorcycle.
Even the ref feared that Sunderland’s injury time winner accidentally gave the game importance, and so he disallowed it for no good reason. As such Shaun Maloney and Danny Higginbotham scored the goals in this rip-roaring, end to end, physical battle from which all players and fans alike walked away exhausted.
Then there was Bolton Wanderers v Manchester City. This was more a nostalgia trip than football match as Saturday football struck again. Poor defending at both ends saw City ahead against the run of play before Bolton fought back to 2-1 by half time. In the second half City scored three, one early and two late, ensuring a thrilling ninth home win out of nine for Eriksson.
For a game of almost laughable inconsequence Fratton Park was the place to be. Tottenham are too good to go down and too far behind the chasing pack to catch up. Meanwhile Pompey’s own gafa keeps repeating they will only finish mid-table.
And yet, as much to the surprise of their own fans as the rest of us, Spurs put on a top four performance for all to see, if Sky had bothered to show it. The Lilywhites won away for the first time this season with a comprehensive and classy swagger that made them look worthy of a simplistic prefix. And the late winner ensured suspense.
Elsewhere West Ham fielded a second string side amid a desperate injury crisis and lost 2-0 to Everton. Liverpool’s second side are now level with Liverpool’s finest in the league, but don’t expect a promotion to ‘super’ any time soon.
Already relegated Derby deserved more than their 0-1 defeat to relegation candidates Boro. A different ref who cared enough to pay attention might have awarded a penalty to the home side. Though frankly, a well deserved point to Derby wouldn’t have meant much anyway.
No one noticed Birmingham draw with Reading on Saturday, but it was a stunner of a game. A penalty neutralised a goal mouth scramble to give both sides one goal. And in the second half strikers and defenders alike hit the woodwork, often at their own end.
Finally, Fulham v Newcastle was as close to ‘Super’ as Saturday was allowed to be. Delayed for live TV coverage, this intensely dull match was undeservedly won in the dying seconds. That it was Newcastle that took the points barely mattered to the sleeping audience.