Premier League ups and downs - 17
The National staff | December 25, 2012
The holidays are upon us, so who has a present in their stocking, and who gets a lump of coal?
GOING UPFrank Lampard, Chelsea His contract may be up in the summer, but the midfielder marked his 500th Premier League game with a cracking goal from 30 yards – his 130th in England’s top flight – to overtake Chelsea legend Bobby Tambling’s record.
Stewart Downing, Liverpool It seems Brendan Rodgers telling him he can leave next month is the kick up the backside the England winger needed as he scored his first league goal and laid on his first league assist since joining in 2011.
Steven Fletcher, Sunderland Despite playing in a struggling side, the Scotland international scored his eighth league goal of the campaign as the Black Cats secured a rare – but crucial – win on the road against Southampton to ease their relegation worries.
GOING DOWNDimitar Berbatov, Fulham You could count on one hand the number of telling or meaningful contributions the Bulgarian made against Liverpool. His side needed a talisman, his languid style suggested they would not find it in him.
Kevin Nolan, West Ham The Hammers captain has lost his way in recent weeks. Substituted in the stalemate against West Bromwich Albion last week, the midfielder’s clearance resulted only in Steven Pienaar bundling the ball over for Everton’s winner.
Nicky Shorey, Reading Perhaps a tad harsh to find his name in here but the left-back’s lack of height and physical presence was severely exposed by Manchester City time and again before Gareth Barry climbed over him to head in a late winner at the Etihad Stadium.
- No Ajmal, no problem at all as Pakistan dominate Dubai Test
- Real Madrid’s Kroos and Rodriguez enter the El Clasico cauldron
- Jebel Ali Dragons UAE Premiership reign ends with loss to Abu Dhabi Saracens
- Al Wasl wait on Viana verdict as the club praise arrival of Calderon in charge
- Mario Balotelli an easy fall guy for the problems at Liverpool
- Andy Murray into Valencia Open semi-finals