Our weekend washouts
7DAYS looks at the best and the worst of the weekend's football...
SHOWERED IN PRAISE
Nicolas Anelka - The sulking striker knows a thing or two about stroppy stars (we’re sure his new pad in China comes with mirrors) so we reckon his shock appointment as Shanghai Shenhua player-manager can only end well. Especially as Nic reminded us he’s worked under some of the best coaches in the game: Arsene Wenger, Vicente del Bosque, Guus Hiddink, Roger Lemerre and Sam Allardy.... oh. So when he said “I have a very English philosophy of coaching” the Frenchmen meant hoofing the ball up to a carthorse frontman at every opportunity. What’s Mandarin for “Kevin Davies?”
Delia Smith - The godmother of British cookery gave us one of our greatest footballing memories the last time her beloved Norwich hosted Manchester City: old Delia wobbling on the Carrow Road pitch in 2005, mic in hand and doing her utmost to slur... sorry, to stir the fans into life for her relegation-threatened team. Car-crash TV at its finest. When the two sides met again this weekend, though, Delia showed remarkable restraint. Either that or chairman Alan Bowkett had hidden the brandy.
Salvador Cabanas - We always thought we were “well ‘ard” here on the sport desk (the sports ed once heroically took a pasting just to protect his purple Power Rangers catsuit), but we’re veritable wimps when put next to this Paraguayan powerhouse. You see, Cabanas announced this weekend that he’s set to play his first professional match in more than two years, having made an amazing recovery after he was shot in the head following an argument with an alleged drugs lord in the toilets of a bar in Mexico City. The bullet’s even still lodged in his noggin. Man of steel. Literally.
HAVING AN EARLY BATH
Martin Atkinson - Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse after the recent spate of rubbish refereeing, this awful official allows a ‘ghost goal’ for Chelsea against Tottenham in Sunday night’s fraught FA Cup semi-final. Atkinson, eight yards away from the incident, perceived Juan Mata’s shot to have crossed the line when it was clearly blocked by Benoit Assou-Ekotto. However, we’re forever crying out for consistency from the men in black, and Marty’s provided exactly that: he wrongfully dismissed Jack Rodwell at the start of the season and missed Mario Balotelli’s knee-high stamp last week. Top marks.
Paris St Germain - Who says you can’t buy success? Well, presumably the rest of Ligue Un after watching moneybags PSG slip to second in the table following two more dropped points at bottom club Auxerre on Sunday. Given the millions spent assembling the squad last summer, Javier Pastore and Co should be walking to the title, although they’ve been about as successful as the Eurotunnel. And it appears all is not well in the French capital, with gobsmacked gaffer Carlo Ancelotti complaining about his team’s attitude. What? Players concerned only about their pumped-up pay packets? Never.
Neil Lennon - Word on the grapevine is the Celtic boss is actually a frightfully decent chap away from football, but you wouldn’t know it to look at him. Sunday saw Lennon at his snarling worst, the Northern Irishman hounding referee Euan Norris at the final whistle of the Hoops’ controversial Scottish Cup clash with Hearts. Nasty Neil then apparently stormed out of the post-match press conference when questioned about his behaviour, later predictably perpetuating the Old Firm paranoia by tweeting “I think it’s personal, myself.” We’d recommend locking him away in an empty room, but he’d probably still start a fight...