Premier Sketch: Snipers, snoods and a birthday present

It sure is nice to see justice done on the football field; it doesn’t happen too much during a season, so let’s make the most of it. For example, an undeserved penalty missed by the player who flung himself through the air to win the kick in the first place – lovely!

Aston Villa’s Ashley Young has been rather too often comically launching himself either into defenders or sometimes thin air to try to win his side a spot kick – and getting away with it the majority of times. It sure was nice to see Bolton keeper Jüssï Jääskëläïnën fling his own body through the air and turn Young’s penalty away on Saturday to contribute to a Bolton 3-2 win.

Young’s latest display could very well see himself in deep water with the big wigs at FIFA after their get-together this week – but not because of his “simulation”; no, Sepp Blatter & Co. have much more important things to worry about.

With immediate effect the Villa winger, and the entire Manchester City squad for that matter, are banned from wearing snoods on the football field as Blatter and his senile friends have decided they are far too dangerous. So look out for sky blue polo necks galore next week.

Speaking of the chilly-necked citizens, Roberto Mancini's men put the distressing snood ban to one side and kept their title dreams alive with a win against meat and potato pie specialists Wigan. The winner was fortunate, to say the least; winger David Silva let fly with a grasscutter that seemed destined to end up in the usually safe hands of Latics’ reliable keeper Ali al-Habsi but instead the Oman international, legs akimbo, let the ball squirm through his hands and trickle over the line. Still, at least he didn’t cry.

No such good luck for Manchester’s other team though, as United were well and truly outclassed by Liverpool at Anfield. Dirk Kuyt gifted manager Kenny Dalglish a late birthday present with a memorable hat-trick that fellow Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy would have been proud of: not one of Kuyt’s goals came from outside the six-yard box.

However, credit must go to Anfield new boy Luis Suarez, who covered more ground in setting up Kuyt’s opener than Fernando Torres did in a red shirt all season – and his mazy run seemed to send a message to his new boss.

So it's two losses in a row for the league leaders and as usual the result was taken well by the Old Trafford coaching staff. Fergie & Co’s decision to blank the media was probably welcomed by referee Phil Dowd, as no doubt the United hierarchy would have blamed him rather than their own inadequate performance. As Depeche Mode said, "Enjoy the silence.”

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