Weekender: Tonkings, the ex and bad manners
1. Bolton should expect a tonking at Villa
Ã¢ÂÂ¦and not just because Gary Cahill has joined Jussi Jaaskelainen on the naughty step. In their last 17 trips to the Ã¢ÂÂbig eightÃ¢ÂÂ (Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Everton), the Trotters have lost all 17 and conceded 43 goals, an average of 2.53 a match. Their last three trips to Villa Park have brought 5-1, 4-2 and 4-0 hammerings. This follows a rather more impressive run of three draws and a win in Bolton's previous four league Villa visits, with the decline in fortunes coinciding with the departure of Sam Allardyce from the Reebok.
2. Here's one for your pools coupon
If you're looking for a nailed-on draw this weekend, look no further than CoventryÃ¢ÂÂs trip to Ashton Gate. Bristol City have yet to win a home match this season, while Coventry have yet to win in four away games so far this term, including a League Cup defeat at League Two Morecambe. In addition, both matches between the pair ended in 1-1 draws last season, and a massive seven of the last 11 meetings at Ashton Gate have ended all-square.
Ã¢ÂÂ¨3. Saints will say "Oh no, not U's again"
Tipped by many for the League One title, Southampton are in the drop zone with four points from their first six games. And now Nigel Adkins' new charges Ã¢ÂÂ winless at home this season Ã¢ÂÂ welcome Colchester, who have got seven points from three away league games but are also the Saints' bogey side. Since relegation from the top flight, Southampton have faced the Essex outfit six times, losing three, drawing three and winning a big fat zero.
4. Aldershot will be fearing Ã¢ÂÂthe law of the exÃ¢ÂÂ...
Ã¢ÂÂ¨All football fans worry about facing a former player or manager: they always seem to bite you on the backside. And this weekend, Aldershot 'welcome' back not just their former manager but also no fewer than four of their old players. Gary Waddock was Shots boss for two years before moving to Wycombe in October 2009; since then he has tempted away Nikki Bull, Dave Winfield and Andy Sandell, while also snapping up former Shots loanee Scott Davies.Ã¢ÂÂ¨
5. Ã¢ÂÂ¦but Wolves wonÃ¢ÂÂt be scared of Robbie Keane
Speaking of old boys, Robbie Keane excelled at scoring against former clubs. By the end of 2003/04, the bobble-headed striker had scored nine in seven games against ex-employers Ã¢ÂÂ for Leeds against Coventry, and for Spurs against Wolves (four times), Coventry (once) and Leeds (three times). Then his previous clubs were relegated and he didn't face old friends until he joined Liverpool. But the magic had gone: Keane has since played six matches against former sides, scoring just once Ã¢ÂÂ at Anfield on his first return with Spurs. And it's not down to a general deterioration in form: Keane has actually scored more goals per game (0.42) since joining Liverpool than he did beforehand (0.38).Ã¢ÂÂ¨
ItÃ¢ÂÂs been a bad week for Manchester United. While Arsenal and Chelsea demolished their opponents in both the Premier League (Bolton and West Ham) and Champions League (Sporting Braga and MSK Zilina), the Red Devils were much less effective, behind held by Everton and Rangers.Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Nothing could be sweeter for the Toffees Ã¢ÂÂ whose fans were waving Rooney-baiting blow-up dolls despite their former heroÃ¢ÂÂs leave of absence Ã¢ÂÂ than the two late goals they were gifted in the 3-3 draw at Goodison Park. A much-changed team then failed to overcome Walter SmithÃ¢ÂÂs five-man defence in a game that saw Antonio Valencia fracture his ankle in a bone-crushing challenge (literally, as Jamie Redknapp would say).
Ã¢ÂÂ¨Could be worse for Fergie, though: AC Milan and Barcelona suffered shock defeats to league minnows Cesena and Hercules. Cesena, whose entire squad earns less than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, won 2-0 Ã¢ÂÂ as did the Spanish team named after the son of Jupiter, leaving Real Madrid fans chanting and clapping Ã¢ÂÂHerculesÃ¢ÂÂ like extras from The Nutty Professor.Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Both teams made up for it in midweek with Champions League victories: Lionel Messi sparkled for BarÃÂ§a against Panathinaikos before being helicoptered to Hackney Marshes, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice against Auxerre before telling Arrigo Sacchi to "shut up" for comments Sacchi made on Italian TV about IbraÃ¢ÂÂs big feet. SacchiÃ¢ÂÂs response? "Learn some manners, son."Ã¢ÂÂ¨