The tongue-wagging, ref-tripping Prem review

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RESULTS Sat Feb 27 Birmingham 1-0 Wigan, Bolton 1-0 Wolves, Burnley 1-2 Portsmouth, Chelsea 2-4 Manchester City, Stoke 1-3 Arsenal Sun Feb 28 Liverpool 2-1 Blackburn, Sunderland 0-0 Fulham, Tottenham 2-1 Everton

This weekend’s big match-up contained more tension than The X-Factor, Pop Idol and Strictly Come Dancing put together – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Ex England captain John Terry even got his haircut for the occasion.

As Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge stood his ground and refused the hand of John Terry, you couldn’t help thinking how hilarious it would have been if Bridge had pulled out the classic teenage trick of reaching out to the Chelsea captain then pulling his hand away at the last second – maybe even sticking his tongue out too.

The game itself was a classic, with City giving Chelsea a real shock to their title challenge; their 4-2 away win also sent a message to other Champions League chasers. Continuing his outstanding season, Craig Bellamy took advantage of Chelsea’s lack of pace at the back, causing havoc and scoring two. 

The league leaders certainly looked to be lacking in confidence in defence all day long; stand-in goalkeeper Hilario hardly helped matters with an erratic display. But anyone who’s played the game at any level must have felt some sympathy for Ricardo Carvalho.

The Chelsea centre-back's reaction after witnessing Carlos Tevez’s mis-hit effort agonisingly rolling past Hilario, can be seen on football fields all over the planet any given weekend. Head in hands, Carvalho gave his Portuguese compatriot a glare which could have killed from 100 yards.

After a fabulous two weeks which included beating the clubs in first and second spot, Everton were being talked about as the next big thing and possible contenders for the Premier League’s version of the Holy Grail – fourth spot. But the Toffees were chewed up and spat out by Tottenham, a team who consistently display exactly what Everton are showing right now: inconsistency. Instead, Luka Modric’s spectacular winner boosted Spurs’ chances of reaching the much sought-after prize.

Finally, watching a professional football match can only be said to have given you your money's worth if you witness the following incidents: an own goal, a penalty, your own keeper saving a penalty, a red card, a streaker, and the referee ending up on his backside.

Well, at St Andrew’s, fans came away with a few from the list. Birmingham won their match against Wigan with a soft-looking penalty, but the highlight of the game was provided by Wigan’s substitute Jason Scotland, who took advantage of some typical referee's backwards-running and blatantly tripped ref Anthony Taylor, sending him flying into the turf.

It proved to be a tough game in general for the officials; the linesman was hit on the head by a corner flag dislodged by a sliding tackle.

And in case you’re wondering, Arsenal’s title chances are back on once more.  Best wishes go out to Aaron Ramsey too.

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