A day when football rivalries were forgotten
The biggest talking point in the Premier League was surely the serious head injury sustained by former Spur Ryan Mason in an aerial challenge with Chelsea's Gary Cahill when they had an accidental clash of heads. Ryan was treated on the pitch for a full 9 minutes before being stretchered off to a standing ovation from both sets of fans. The Chelsea fans had been singing "Stand up if you hate Tottenham" in the very first minute of the game, but rivalries were forgotten when everyone realised how serious a situation was being witnessed.
Ryan was taken to St. Mary's Hospital, where it was confirmed that he suffered a fractured skull. Thankfully he is recovering and is conscious, but he will remain in hospital for several days before he can hopefully start the long road to a full recovery of his health and hopefully his playing career. Cahill was able to carry on after less prolonged on-pitch treatment, and he and Chelsea club captain John Terry were amongst those visiting Ryan yesterday (Monday). Arsenal FC's official Twitter account also sent their best wishes to Ryan. Hull captain Michael Dawson was also among Ryan's visitors in hospital.
Watching the game live, I found myself thinking back to that fateful Spurs v Bolton FA Cup game in March 2012 when Fabrice Muamba collapsed at White Hart Lane. Chelsea's Marcos Alonso was a Bolton player and took part in that abandoned game in March 2012, nearly five years ago. The traumatic Mason incident must have brought back some bad memories for the Chelsea wing-back.
In Brazil this week-end, there were emotional scenes when Chapecoense played their first game since they tragically lost most of their players in November, when their plane crashed on the way to play in the Copa Sudamericana Trophy Final. The three surviving team members were presented with the trophy which was awarded as a tribute to the team. Family members of those who lost their lives were also present. This event was another occasion when the world of football united in grief, sympathy and support for this stricken club.
Manchester City, who were our opponents on Saturday, still have shirt number 23 officially retired in honour of their former player Marc Vivien-Foe who tragically died young after collapsing during a Cameroon game in 2003. Our FA Cup opponents on Saturday (Wycombe Wanderers) also have a retired shirt number (14) in honour of their former midfielder Mark Philo, who died following a road traffic accident in 2006.
There are many other examples of the football family coming together in a positive way, which is often forgotten at the expense of bad news stories.
This coming week-end, on-field battles will be fought in the name of sport when FA Cup Fourth Round games are played, and we have to wait till next Tuesday and Wednesday for the next round of Premier League games. Those with an interest in a punt on the results of such games would be well served to check out 888sport promo codes 2017. There are sure to be a few surprises in the games played, and hopefully more good news than bad.
On the football news front, after last week-end's games Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger faces perhaps a fine and more than a one-match touchline ban after his verbal and physical contretemps with fourth official Anthony Taylor after referee Jon Moss had awarded Burnley an added time penalty which led to an equalising goal and a risk to Arsenal's title chances. Wenger need not have got so het up because "lucky" Arsenal got their own penalty with literally seconds of the game remaining. Thus they won 2-1 and climbed above us into second place. With away games against both Chelsea and Liverpool in the next five weeks, Wenger's side will find it tough to maintain a serious challenge to Chelsea, who are now 8 points clear.
Chelsea's next two league games are away to Liverpool and at home to Arsenal, so Spurs will be hoping to take advantage of some lost points among their top four opponents whilst facing Sunderland away and Middlesbrough at home. Sunderland, who we play next Tuesday night, are injury stricken and likely to be short of central defenders, especially now that Papy Djilobodji has been charged with violent conduct after an incident with Darren Fletcher in the 2-0 defeat at West Brom.
That challenge of Chelsea is just as difficult for Spurs of course, but it could have been much harder had we not come away from The Etihad Stadium with what was a magnificent point after coming back from being 2-0 down. All the talk had been about how referee Andre Marriner missed Kyle Walker's push on Raheem Sterling just before Spurs levelled the scores through Son Heung-min's well-taken goal, but the officials also misses Sane's use of his hand to control the ball headed in his direction by Hugo Lloris for city's first goal.
Man City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has now conceded goals from each of the last 6 shots he has faced on target. At the other end, Sergio Aguero (now 4 goals behind the Premier League's top scorers) has failed to score this season against every team he has played against in the top seven.
Victor Wanyama was voted the Spurs man of the match by a wide margin, with Dele Alli and Son getting deserved credit for their goals. Battling Danny Rose was also recognised by Spurs Odyssey voters, and you can see the spursometer in full here.
Here is one final comment this week:- Leicester's defence of their Premier League title has been the worst seen not only since that of Chelsea last season, but it is also the worst title defence of any team after 22 games in Premier league history.
Premier League results 21-22.01.17
Liverpool 2-3 Swansea
B'mouth 2-2 Watford
C. Palace 0-1 Everton
M'brough 1-3 West Ham
Stoke 1-1 Man Utd
West Brom 2-0 S'derland
Man City 2-2 Spurs
S'hampton 3-0 Leicester
Arsenal 2-1 Burnley
Chelsea 2-0 Hull
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Chelsea 22 18 1 3 47-15 32 55
2. Arsenal 22 14 5 3 50-23 27 47
3. Spurs 22 13 7 2 45-16 29 46
4. Liverpool 22 13 6 3 51-27 24 45
5. Man City 22 13 4 5 43-28 15 43
6. Man Utd 22 11 8 3 33-21 12 41
7. Everton 22 10 6 6 33-23 10 36
8. West Brom 22 9 5 8 30-28 2 32
9. Stoke 22 7 7 8 28-34 -6 28
10. West Ham 22 8 4 10 29-36 -7 28
11. S'hampton 22 7 6 9 22-26 -4 27
12. B'mouth 22 7 5 10 32-39 -7 26
13. Burnley 22 8 2 12 24-33 -9 26
14. Watford 22 6 6 10 25-38 -13 24
15. Leicester 22 5 6 11 24-37 -13 21
16. M'brough 22 4 8 10 18-25 -7 20
17. Swansea 22 5 3 14 26-51 -25 18
18. C. Palace 22 4 4 14 30-41 -11 16
19. Hull 22 4 4 14 20-47 -27 16
20. S'derland 22 4 3 15 20-42 -22 15