A weekend in ratings: Chelsea best of a bad bunch

Let's be honest: bar the cracker at Goodison, this was hardly an enthralling weekend of Premier League action.

Here's how we rated the 18 teams that played on Saturday and Sunday in terms of performance, result and entertainment: 

Chelsea – 8.0
With the Blues suddenly finding playing at Stamford Bridge a bit of a burden, it’s probably just as well that they’ve now won 11 successive Premier League away games.

Bouncing back from their defeat to Arsenal was vital and, despite some out of character random clogging from Petr Cech, they found the going relatively comfortable at the Reebok.

Not bad, but can you do it in the 93rd minute?

Aston Villa – 7.5
We’re not really quite sure how, but Villa are still hot on Arsenal’s heels in the race for fourth. In truth they probably didn’t deserve all three points, but it was still great entertainment.

Shame they’ll probably follow it up with a home draw against Bolton…

Hull – 7.0
Despite his leather jacket, Bluetooth headset and smug grin making him look like a 21st-century Lovejoy (the antiques dealer not the renta-presenter), Phil Brown’s side were fortunate to end their six game winless streak at home to Boro.

Tuncay looked to have won it for the visitors but a Ross Turnbull clanger and a dodgy penalty later they were in front. If Hull play like this in the next six matches it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see them go on another winless run.

Liverpool – 7.0
Having been held by West Ham and Fulham recently, Liverpool must have feared the worst as this match looked like slipping through their grasp like a greased-up hog, but this time round they were rewarded for their persistence.

One man who wouldn’t have been too chuffed was Robbie Keane, who – despite Liverpool firing blanks for 70 minutes and being without Fernando Torres – stayed as resolutely unused as Robbie Fowler.

Fulham – 7.0
Nobody is quite sure how it happened, but having looked only marginally better than Derby 12 months ago, Fulham are suddenly a difficult team to beat. Craven Cottage is never likely to become an inhospitable cauldron of hate, but supposedly superior sides seem to have difficulty playing there.

Maybe the haunting sound of folded cardboard on gloved hand is affecting the away sides? Or maybe Brede Hangeland is just an impassable object...

Fulham fans: Haunting 

Man City – 7.0
At first glance you might think Fulham would be the happier with this result, but City’s poor away form combined with the Cottagers’ impressive home record make this a decent point for Mark Hughes’ side.

Sparky will be keen to start splashing the cash come January, although with City lurking near the relegation zone it might be harder to tempt big names than he first hoped.

Sunderland – 6.5
The Black Cats came and parked the bus on the Old Trafford pitch and almost got a point they truthfully didn’t deserve.

Despite the heartbreak of their last-gasp defeat, Sunderland can take a lot from their defensive performance, particularly after their shocking effort against Bolton seven days previously.

Manchester United – 6.5
Note to Fergie: players who score four goals midweek are generally worth sticking in the starting XI come Saturday, especially when the languid Bulgarian you usually play instead has only scored two league goals all season.

Thankfully for United, they managed to conjure the spirit of the side of the late-'90s and nick a late goal, but it was very nearly a frustrating day for the champions.

Arsenal – 6.5
Although Arsenal got the three points they needed to keep themselves in the top four, it was hardly a pleasant afternoon for Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners really laboured to their 1-0 win, struggling to create the chances their 60% possession suggests they should, and 'Eboogate' is bound to have further dampened spirits in the dressing room.

West Brom – 6.0
A home point which is unlikely to inspire much confidence that the Baggies can prolong their stay in the top flight beyond the one season, but nonetheless a deserved one.

The Baggies always looked likely to get something, bar Scott Carson trying to pull off his now obligatory howler, almost chucking Glen Johnson’s cross into his own net. Will probably need to swallow their pride and play ugly sooner rather than later.

Stoke – 6.0
The Potters picked up their third away point of the campaign, with a last-gasp Abdoulaye Faye goal leaving the usually placid Joe Kinnear thoroughly peeved.

Tony Pulis’s side will have to start picking up more points on the road if they want to keep dining at English football’s top table, so despite their fight-back, they may well see this as a good opportunity missed.

Bolton – 6.0
Annoyingly, Gary Megson’s side were out of this game before they’d had a chance to draw breath.

It’s amazing how quickly the Ginger Prince has transformed from public enemy No.1 to the new messiah at the Reebok after a sudden upturn in results.

How the team react to this defeat might be key in shaping their season, although their vastly improved second half showing suggests they should be fine.

Portsmouth – 6.0
Even though Tony Adams’ side stretched their unbeaten league run to five matches, thanks to Peter Crouch’s second half strike, the Pompey boss might still be left looking over his shoulder.

Press reports suggest the South African consortium looking to buy the club will replace him with… Avram Grant.

Blackburn – 5.5
You’ve got to feel a bit for old Incey; his side actually turn up for the first time in over a month and they end up being undone by three late goals.

Paul Robinson might want to have a look at himself, though; all three Liverpool goals could be at least partly attributed to the portly England stopper - not least Xabi Alonso’s opener, which he seemed to bizarrely dive over, rather than towards.

Wigan – 5.5
This wasn't the worst performance from the Latics but, not for the first time at Arsenal, one that was ultimately fruitless.

Although they currently look safe in midtable, a continued lack of killer instinct could see them sucked back into trouble. The return of Amr Zaki from injury couldn’t be much better timed.

Everton – 5.5
Having gotten giddy after scoring a 93rd-minute equaliser, Everton decided they wouldn’t bother defending for the remaining 30 seconds – and promptly conceded again.

With just one home win to their name so far this season, the Toffees will need a big improvement if they’re to qualify for Europe again.

Middlesbrough – 5.0
So incensed was Gareth Southgate after Hull were awarded a late penalty when David Wheater was recklessly run into by Geovanni that he launched a foul-mouthed tirade on Match of the Day.

“Goodness me,” the irate Boro boss ranted. OK, so it’s not quite Joe Kinnear but you could sense the bile.

"What have you written up there? You f***ing ****!" 

Newcastle – 3.5
Oh dear. Just when Newcastle looked like they had turned a corner (again), they proceed to not just shoot themselves in the foot, then shoot themselves in the other foot, trip over the cat and lock their car keys in the boot.

Michael Owen’s uncharacteristically despondent interview afterwards spoke volumes. Don’t expect him to be a Magpies player by the second chorus of Auld Lang Syne.


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