x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Premier League best and worst: A dignified celebration by Robbie Keane

The Aston Villa's on-loan striker kept his composure while Loftus Road witnessed a feast of spectacular goals.

Wolverhampton Wanderers were Robbie Keane's first professional club.
Wolverhampton Wanderers were Robbie Keane's first professional club.

Best restraint - Robbie Keane

The Irishman is routinely mocked for his inability to prevent himself from hailing his new club - he has 10 in his impressive career - as the one he supported as a child.

It is now something of a running joke, and you wonder if Keane was in on the gag when he described his summer move to LA Galaxy as a "dream come true".

C'mon, Robbie.

But Keane went someway to restoring his credibility when, to his enormous credit, he showed huge restraint and respect for Wolverhampton Wanderers, his first professional club, by not unfurling his trademark cartwheel / somersault / pistol celebration after either of his clinically-taken goals for Aston Villa on Saturday.

The second one, in particular, was a howitzer and he could have been forgiven if the exhilaration had manifested itself in him kissing the badge of his adopted club and jumping into the stand housing the Villa supporters.

Worst luck - Emmanuel Frimpong

The impetus nature of his tackling and youthful enthusiasm means the Arsenal midfielder on loan at Wolves is always going to have a job staying on the pitch; he was sent off for Arsenal against Liverpool earlier this season and was dragged off before he was sent off on his Wolves' debut against Tottenham Hotspur last week.

In fact, given the injury epidemic which seems to perennially afflict Arsenal, he is probably just grateful to be fit enough to play a game.

So you had to feel for him on Saturday when after a wonderful piece of skill in the build up to Wolves' first goal, he had to leave the field again, this time on a stretcher with a nasty head injury.

Frimpong is a serial tweeter so expect the social networking website to double up as a medical bulletin over the next few days.

Best goals - Loftus Road

One of the first things Tony Fernandes did when he became chairman of Queens Park Rangers last summer was to slash ticket prices which were hiked up under the previous regime.

He might want to consider raising them again - and not just because of the financial commitments he is likely to have to shoulder now Kia Joorabchian is seemingly advising him on the recruitment of players and manager.

Saturday's match with Wigan Athletic was arguably the least attractive fixture of the weekend but ended up yielding not one, not two but three contenders for goal of the season let alone goal of the month.

The executioners, Ako Buzsaky, Hugo Rodellega and Tommy Smith, seemed to be involved in their own mini competition to better what had gone before as each goal thundered into the net past the helpless goalkeeper with increasing power, accuracy and skill.

The remarkable aspect of the goals was that all three were scored by players who have been on the periphery of their respective teams this season. The goals were quite a way to stake a claim for a permanent spot.

Worst initiation - Josh McEachran

The teenager's rich pedigree as a smooth-passing England youth international midfielder at Chelsea cut little ice with his adopted teammates at Swansea City when it came to performing the ritual required of all new players at the club to sing a song in front of the rest of the squad.

McEachran said he had "never been so nervous" as he stood up on a chair and belted out Amy Winehouse's version of Valerie.

McEachran was, you suspect, far more comfortable when it came to match day against Sunderland on Saturday, until he walked out of the players' tunnel at Stadium of Light to discover an icy howling wind was blowing rubbish across the pitch at a faster pace than some of the players were moving.

He will not remember his baptism with Swansea with much fondness.

Best reply - Kenny Dalglish

Even the most myopic Liverpool fan must be starting to tire of the endless public defence of his players from their iconic manager.

Kenny Dalglish tried to justify the eye-watering outlay on the misfiring Andy Carroll as a "minus £15 million (Dh85.8m) signing" - they sold Fernando Torres for £50m and purchased Carroll for a whopping £35m.

He supported the ill-advised decision to wear T-shirts in support of Luis Suarez who was found guilty of racial abuse and then, most recently, said £20m summer signing Stewart Downing, who is yet to score for Liverpool despite nearly 50 attempts at goal, is "a better player than I thought".

Well, how bad did he think he was then?

So it was refreshing to hear Dalglish finally add a dose of realism to his press conferences when he slammed his players for their attitude in the defeat to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Whatever next? Dalglish speaking of his admiration for Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Saturday's FA Cup tie with Manchester United?

Steady on.




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