The Soccer Saturday panel reflect on Newcastle's big win over Chelsea, Aston Villa squandering it at Everton and Reading picking up a huge three points...
Last Updated: February 4, 2013 10:18am
Phil Thompson on Moussa Sissoko's impact in Newcastle's win over Chelsea
The French players were all very much involved in the first half; Yoan Gouffran, but most of all Moussa Sissoko who got his two goals. He's not a defensive player and I did read that they were buying him to add a few more goals - and he's done that! Besides his two goals he almost had a fantastic assist for Papiss Cisse and he had about five shots in the game. He was absolutely fantastic. The third goal was right on the 90th minute, he drilled it into the back of the net and the Geordies went absolutely berserk.
Sometimes with all the attacking players Chelsea have got - and the excellent Frank Lampard supposed to be playing in central midfield - there's no protection for the back four. Ramires is in there with great energy, but he likes to bomb on so maybe that's an area to identify.
Chelsea scored two worldys and this was the game of the day because it had everything. Newcastle were leading, then Chelsea came back to lead and then Newcastle scored late on. All this and Demba Ba came off with a broken nose - and I'm an expert on noses! He was standing up and Fabricio Coloccini brought his foot up - for me, outside the box it is a foul so inside the box I think it was a penalty. Rmaires could have had a red card for a bad challenge and, on the touchline, two managers and two members of staff were going head-to-head. This match was absolutely fantastic. The second half ebbed and flowed and Newcastle came out on top. The revolution has started.
Charlie Nicholas on Aston Villa's draw at Everton that will feel like a defeat
There was a much more positive approach in an attacking sense from Aston Villa. Has the manager asked why they were so frightened? Where were they getting this fear because they're going nowhere and getting hammered every week? And I feel the factor of being the underdog and going to one of the top six teams has made them think to themselves 'let's go for it'. They went to Liverpool and won, but they've gone to other clubs and sat and been frightened. The better players smell fear and take advantage of it.
It was pretty soft, the equalising goal to make it 3-3. It was a basic corner and they were all man-to-man marking, not zonal, so they take responsibility. In the end what happened was that Marouane Fellaini did a step forward half a yard and sprung back away and by the time Ron Vlaar had tried to read it he was blocked off. By the time he tried to adjust, the big fellow was up, unmarked and there was no player on the near post and the 'keeper had absolutely no chance. You feel as if it was a bit like a defeat from the position they were in.
David Moyes will sit there and say that in the end they could have won this, but they didn't play well enough today. These are the type of games that Everton find a bit awkward.
Paul Merson on the impact of Jimmy Kebe and Danny Graham in Reading's 2-1 win over Sunderland
At the start of the season I said Jimmy Kebe was one of the players that needed to play. He and Jobi McAnuff on the wings have got a lot of pace and that's a great outlet for Reading and he's been massive since he's come back. For the winning goal, Titus Bramble gave away a pointless free-kick and when you've got Ian Harte in the team he can put a ball on a sixpence and Kebe got the header. Fair play to Brian McDermott because at the start of the season he went out with all guns blazing and had a go, but fair play to him for saying "wait a minute, this is not right". He's changed to a 4-1-4-1 formation and I thought the lad up front, Pavel Pogrebnyak, did very well and you've got Adam Le Fondre and Nick Blackman to come on as well. It could have gone either way at the end, but overall I would have said Reading just about deserved to win.
Danny Graham was a threat when he came on. He had a header at the far post that got blocked and the goalkeeper made a very good save off him. He was more of a threat than Steven Fletcher, really. Sometimes the ball went up to Fletcher and you felt sorry for him because the rest of them were 40 yards away and they didn't get up to him. I think Graham needs to play with him and them two are very good footballers and they'll be okay. I know that result has dragged them back into it a little bit, but I just don't see Sunderland going down.
Matt Le Tissier on why the officials were right to allow Lukas Podolski's winning goal for Arsenal against Stoke
The free-kick was hit, it took a deflection and I think the linesman might have thought the deflection came off an Arsenal player. When he hit the free-kick Theo Walcott was stood offside, but he was another seven or eight yards to the side of Geoff Cameron, who it actually hit on the bottom of the leg. The linesman put his flag up and the referee, Chris Foy, went across to him. I think it was a really good bit of refereeing because he didn't panic, he had a chat with him and whether he got some information in his earpiece I don't know, but the right decision was made in the end because Theo Walcott was not anywhere near interfering with play in the position he was in. He was about a yard offside, but not interfering and I think the goal was absolutely right to stand. The officials got it spot on eventually.
Arsenal were nowhere near top gear today and they were fortunate they were playing a Stoke side who didn't really have a lot of ambition going forward. They had Peter Crouch up front on his own and didn't get a lot of support to him in the whole game. I think Tony Pulis might look at this tonight and see the way that Arsenal played and think "maybe if I'd been a little bit more adventurous I could have got something from this game".
Chris Kamara on QPR's missed penalty in their 0-0 draw with Norwich
Javier Garrido made the back pass towards his goalkeeper and Jamie Mackie got there before Bunn. The goalkeeper touched him - it wasn't much of a touch, but it was enough to bring him down and Mr Moss saw it and pointed to the spot. Adel Taarabt played it to the far corner, but what a magnificent save by Bunn, full-length to his left-hand side.
There was so much action after the second half started. Christopher Samba could have scored, but he was pulled back by Michael Turner and the referee didn't see it. Wes Hoolahan could have scored for Norwich, but there was a brilliant save from Julio Cesar. Bradley Johnson had a wonderful shot saved by Cesar also and at the other end Grant Holt was clever enough to get back on the line and clear from big Chris Samba. It was fantastic end-to-end stuff in the second half. Cesar in the Queens Park Rangers goal was magnificent today, what a very good goalkeeper he is.