x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Arsenal's Frimpong saw the red mist

Emmanuel Frimpong did a superb impression of a bull in a china shop, Howard Webb misses an obvious penalty in Newcastle-Sunderland and the world is looking rosier to QPR in our BEST AND WORST for the week.

Arsenal's Emmanuel Frimpong sends Liverpool's Daniel Agger flying at Emirates Stadium, one of many of his reckless plays.
Arsenal's Emmanuel Frimpong sends Liverpool's Daniel Agger flying at Emirates Stadium, one of many of his reckless plays.

WORST DISCIPLINE - Emmanuel Frimpong

Arsenal's young Ghanaian-born midfielder, Emmanuel Frimpong, must have been kicking himself after his team's defeat to Liverpool.

He spent most of the match kicking opposition players.

On his full debut, the 19 year old did a superb impression of a bull in a china shop, charging around the pitch, flying into tackles and eventually picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Lucas that could easily have been a straight red.

Subsequently, Liverpool scored twice to win the game.

Frimpong is now suspended for next week's trip to Manchester United to further deplete Arsenal's squad.

Frimpong is a great prospect, with lovely technique, but he paid for youthful exuberance, or recklessness, on Saturday. If you are already on a yellow card, it is probably best not to fly into a challenge with your studs up at shin level.

It is just not clever.

Hopefully he will learn his lesson – he apologised on Twitter last night and promised to learn from the episode – and become the latest youngster to graduate with honours from Arsene Wenger's academy. Before probably signing for Barcelona in a few years.

BEST KEEPER - Sebastian Larsson

This could quite easily have been named "worst refereeing" or "worst linesman" instead, and it is only thanks to Ryan Taylor's winner for Newcastle United, in their derby against Sunderland, that this incident is not the talking point of the weekend.

Just 15 minutes into the first half of a fiery derby at the Stadium of Light, a Shola Ameobi header was deflected on its way to goal by Joey Barton straight into the outstretched arm of Sebastian Larsson, Sunderland's new midfielder.

The Swede happened to be stood on the goal-line at the time, thus denying a clear goal. It was the most obvious penalty you will see.

Except neither Howard Webb, the referee, nor his linesman saw it.

That's right - 50,000-plus fans saw it, everyone watching on television saw it, all the players spotted it, but the two men paid to make a call on these things missed it.

Maybe they were distracted by Barton's ridiculous haircut.

Larsson did not stick a hand out on purpose - he was swinging for the ball with his eyes closed before it was deflected - but it would still have been a penalty and a possible red card.

Thankfully it made no difference to the final result.

BEST WEEK - Queens Park Rangers

Seven days ago, Queens Park Rangers' future looked glum. They had suffered a 4-0 opening defeat at home against Bolton Wanderers.

And if that was not enough, bickering and behind-the-scenes politics between the various shareholders in the club had resulted in a summer of little investment for Neil Warnock, the manager. Warnock was reduced to making veiled swipes at the board in his post-match news conference. QPR looked like relegation fodder.

Fast forward a week and the club have a new majority shareholder - the Malaysian businessman, Tony Fernandes - and are basking in the glory of taking three points away from Everton's Goodison Park.

With transfer money promised to the manager, the future suddenly looks bright again.

It shows what a fickle world Premier League football can be.

Best goal - Gabriel Agbonlahor

Two seasons ago, Gabriel Agbonlahor was one of the hottest young strikers in the Premier League. Off the back of his best-ever season - 16 goals - the Aston Villa player was regularly selected in England squads. Things have gone a little wayward since then.

The arrival of Darren Bent at Villa Park last season coincided with Agbonlahor's worst goal-scoring season as a first-team regular, with just five goals in 31 games.

And the likes of Andy Carroll, Bent and Danny Welbeck moved way past him in the England reckoning.

But Agbonlahor is only 24 and one bad season does not make a bad player.

On Saturday, against Blackburn Rovers, Villa's longest-serving player gave a glimpse of his class with the opening goal. It had everything: a turn of pace, a shimmy, a turn and a curled shot straight into the top corner.

WORST HANDS - Jussi Jaaskelainen

Keepers often complain about shots swerving all over the place, especially in the era of lightweight balls, such as the Jabulani at the 2010 World Cup. And they have a right too. It has become more difficult for the men between the posts when a shot starts in one direction and ends up going in another.

But what is the excuse when a shot sets off in one direction, maintains its trajectory and arrives exactly where you expect it to and you still let it slip past you? There isn't one.

For Manchester City's opener Sunday, Jussi Jaaskelainen of Bolton Wanderers got his full body behind David Silva's effort and still let it slip past him. Major howler.

 

twoods@thenational.ae