Bad Weekend For: Sidelined strikers, slow starters and overwhelmed managers

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Wayne Rooney
To some extent, this depends on your point of view. Manchester United did win, so from that perspective Wayne Rooney can be relatively happy with the Bank Holiday weekend. Even so, there was a lot here to suggest that Colleen would be well-advised to give her husband a wide berth for at least a few days.

Starting on the bench on Saturday after taking his Euro 2012 form into Monday’s game with Everton, Rooney saw his dual roles of talismanic goalscorer and deep-lying forward filled admirably by home debutants Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, who both found the net and generally impressed against Fulham.

With United struggling to contain a resurgent Cottagers late in the second half, Rooney replaced Kagawa – but found himself off the pace and leaden-footed before finding Hugo Rodallega’s boot inadvertently driven deep into his thigh. The indications are that Rooney will be missing for the next four weeks.

The tabloids didn't bring any respite, with rumour that United were ready to cash in and sell him before his contract wound down… followed by claims that none of Europe's super-powers were interested in buying him. It could be some time before the England man has a good weekend.

Lightweight Villa
While Manchester United may be somewhat lightweight at the back, their stable of returning central defenders (not to mention their goalscoring prowess) suggests that they shouldn't struggle for long. Not so for Aston Villa.

Following last week’s listless defeat to West Ham, Paul Lambert – and the Villa fans – will have hoped for so much more than Saturday’s weak showing at home to Everton. While it’s clear that Everton are enjoying an excellent start to their season, the manner in which the home side were repeatedly carved open will set alarm bells clanging.

It had seemed that Villa’s main problem would be scoring goals, and Lambert was set to build on the justifiably sacked Alex McLeish's semi-solid foundations (they conceded just two goals more than fifth-placed Newcastle United last season). However, the performance against Everton and the general lack of character visible in the team led Lambert to admit post-game that he faces a “huge task” at Villa Park.

On the bright side, Villa did rally following the sending off of Ciaran Clark, scoring once and hitting the post (albeit in a period of the game where Everton evidently relaxed), which does suggest that there is potential in this young side. Unfortunately, it’s Newcastle away next week.

Slow starters
History has repeatedly shown that a good start does not always translate into a good season and vice versa. But that certainly doesn’t make a bad start any easier to digest and all four English divisions house teams that will wish they could go back 10 days and start again.

The hapless Aston Villa are one of 10 clubs who have started the Premier League season without a win; both Peterborough and Crystal Palace made it three defeats from three Championship games, while Birmingham have one point from nine; Scunthorpe’s 4-0 home defeat to Yeovil was their third League One defeat in a week (how they must yearn for Cliff Byrne); and League Two promotion tips Southend picked up only their first point of the season in a crazy second half at Northampton.

Of course it’s not about how you start, but how you finish and a good start isn’t always what it seems. Before Saturday, Ipswich, Barnsley, Crewe and Wimbledon will all have felt relatively confident for 2012-13, but after conceding an eye-watering 21 goals between them, some re-evaluation may be required.

Those who witnessed Mark Lawrenson’s shirt
Where to start? FFT is no style bible but nobody would recommend Lawro’s super-tight glossy grey shirt complete with weird button formation that he sported on Saturday’s Match of the Day.