Football is such an emotional rollercoaster. One minute you’re up, one minute you’re down, and one minute you’re vomiting profusely all over the floor after one barrel roll too many. Okay, so maybe the last part was a bad analogy, but its fair that football has its fair share of ups and downs.
Today saw quite a few of them. Newport County, who have yet to see double figures when it comes to points, came to Yeovil and watched as Tom Eaves bundled in a goal in the 80th minute to give Yeovil a valuable three points and yet another win at home. Newport fans will be gutted, and Yeovil fans will be happy. Rollercoaster. In the Man City vs Everton match, two decent goals were undermined by a fantastic goalkeeping performance from Everton shot-stopper Maarten Stekelenburg, who save not one, but two penalties to keep the sky blues at bay and take a valuable point. For Everton fans, that will be a huge point, and for Manchester City fans, it will represent a huge turning point in the season. If City fail to win the league, they will look back to matches like this and wonder why they couldn’t see the game out. After all, a penalty is the easiest chance to win the game. Being given a second chance and to successfully blow that too is just unforgivable.
However, when it comes to sheer joy and despair, nothing comes close to the match that took place in Bournemouth this afternoon. During the week, Mike Phelan was appointed manager of Hull City on a permanent basis. By 5pm today, he was probably wishing he’d declined the job as his team were on the receiving end of a 6-1 drubbing. Hull fans will be wondering what happened, especially as the appointment of a manager put an end to weeks of indecision and at least gave the club a direction to head in. Eddie Howe and Bournemouth, though, will be jubilant. Hull were poor, admittedly, but Bournemouth weren’t to be denied, and their performance today is the best that they have managed all season. If they can play as emphatically at home as that again, they could easily emulate the performances of last season when they were seeing off the likes of Manchester United. Okay, so Hull will probably be near the bottom of the league by the end of the season, but six goals is six goals. Phelan, my man, you have a lot of work to do.
Meanwhile, Swansea themselves 3-2 down and playing with real passion when Granit Xhaka was sent off for Arsenal, and they must have thought that the extra man advantage would make at least a point easy to achieve. That didn’t happen. If ever a team demonstrated their title credentials, then Arsenal did. To win a match with ten men and a team coming at you to try and equalise is a good performance, no matter which way you look it. Arsenal could yet have what it takes to grind out games and get those all important points of the board. Could Wenger do it in the twilight of his career? Swansea are in desperate trouble, and today’s match went from one full of hope to another bleak one. They will be wondering where the next win is going to come from, and they will also be sickeningly puzzled by how their team couldn’t get something today. Leicester, too, must finally be starting to believe that they won’t be winning the league again. Let’s be honest, they knew that it was unlikely to happen, but a 3-0 defeat today to a rampant Chelsea- a Chelsea who felt confident enough to bring on some youngsters from the bench to get them blooded into the first team- will not fill them with confidence. They will probably be too good to stay up, and they will have half an eye on the Champions League group stages, but today should be proof to any of the believers still left that Leicester don’t have it in them to defend the title. Especially not when they’re fighting on more than one front this time around.
Finally, too, West Ham got a win. They went down to ten men but were already ahead, and they saw the game out against Crystal Palace to win. Okay, so the match was played at home- which doesn’t exactly solve their major problems at their new home stadium- but they do at least have three more points on the board. A win, is a win, is a win, as they say. Besides, if it gives them the confidence to go on a run and win matches in front of their home crowd, it could be the turn of form that they need. Most importantly is the fact that they’re out of the relegation zone. That is a morale boost if ever there was one. Finally, Aston Villa shared a point with Wolves, with both teams being awarded penalties and scoring them. So Steve Bruce has at least stopped the rot at Aston Villa. There’s something to build on there.
So yeah. Once again the football was an up and down situation for all fans. But never fear: if your team lost, they might win next week. And if they don’t, there’s always alcohol. And it could be worse- no really, it could be. You could be a Newport County fan!