x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Charlie Adam keeping Scholes' spirit alive

The Liverpool midfielder does a great impression of the Manchester United legend as Paul Radley reviews the best and worst of the Premier League weekend.

Liverpool's Charlie Adam, left, earns his second booking yesterday with a knee-high tackle on Tottenham Hotspur's Scott Parker. Adrian Dennis / AFP
Liverpool's Charlie Adam, left, earns his second booking yesterday with a knee-high tackle on Tottenham Hotspur's Scott Parker. Adrian Dennis / AFP

Worst tackler - Adam

So much has been lost since the retirement of Paul Scholes, the Manchester United great, in the summer, but Charlie Adam is doing his best to keep his legend going.

What is it about gifted creators who can seemingly see everything when they are going forward, yet are suddenly wholly lacking in coordination when they need to make a tackle? The last time Charlie Adam was at White Hart Lane, with Blackpool, he nearly broke Gareth Bale's ankle and put him out of action for the season.

On his return with his new club, Liverpool, yesterday, Adam trained his sights on the other footballer of the season from last term, Scott Parker.

Adam escaped last time, but saw red for his rash challenge on Parker. It was the centrepiece of a neatly-packaged catalogue of poetic justice for Kenny Dalglish, whose cynical complaint about a refereeing conspiracy the week before backfired spectacularly.

Worst miss - Torres

A lot has been made of Fernando Torres' profligacy in front of goals since his £50 million (Dh290m) move from Liverpool to Chelsea in January. One goal in 23 games for the London club before yesterday's trip to Manchester United, he has demeanour of a man who thinks the world is against him.

Yesterday, to his credit, he was possibly Chelsea's best player as they were second best to United at Old Trafford in a 3-1 defeat. He scored with a lob in the second half and caused the United defence problems with his quick feet.

But his miss towards the end of the match is what people will remember. Having beaten the offside trap and rounded David de Gea, Torres had the whole goal to aim for and make it 3-2.

Instead, he hooked the ball about three yards wide. Woeful.

Best late business - QPR

As the chief executive of Air Asia, Tony Fernandes knows all about giving away last minute deals.

Having completed his takeover of Queens Park Rangers with little time left in the summer transfer window, the Malaysian businessman proved adept at finding the best late deals in the football industry, too. With the transfer deadline looming, the QPR chairman clicked on lastminute.com and found himself a Joey Barton, an Anton Ferdinand, and a Shaun Wright-Phillips, each at bargain rates.

The rushed recruitment drive bore immediate fruit on Saturday, when the new-look QPR claimed a resounding 3-0 win away to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Barton, the unlikely leader of QPR's potentially combustible motley troop, struck the opener. Another newcomer, DJ Campbell, scored the clincher, while Wright-Phillips was otherwise outstanding.

Worst late business - Arsenal

Not all business needs to be late business. What were Arsenal's human resources department doing all summer - watching the cricket? Trying to work out how to use Photoshop so they could make fancy invitations to Cesc Fabregas's leaving party?

Fabregas's transfer to Barcelona was approximately two years in the making. Samir Nasri was stalling on re-signing ages before he eventually made his move to Manchester City. So why did the hunt for their replacements only take place with hours left in which signings could be made?

You do not need to wear tweed jackets with patches on the elbows to know that Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker are good players.

If you deign that they are the answer, why not get them in sooner? Then perhaps you can all work together on formulating a plan to stop your side leaking eight goals at Old Trafford, then four in a relegation six-pointer at Blackburn.

Best Welsh team - Swansea

A Welsh team got a significant monkey off the nation's back this weekend. Wales had never beaten Samoa at a Rugby World Cup before yesterday. Granted, the triumph of Sam Warburton's team of rugby players in New Zealand will have been far more universally enjoyed, but Swansea City's home win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday was arguably more noteworthy.

Swansea are the first Welsh side to play in the Premier League. As such, their win over West Brom was a landmark first for the Principality.

Little big men such as Leroy Lita and Scott Sinclair, two of Swansea's goalscorers, would never win a fight with the likes of Warburton, the Welsh rugby union captain, or his teammate, Alun-Wyn Jones.

Neither are they Welsh. Minor details, however, for two players who were the toast of Wales at the weekend.