Weekend Roundup: The Returnination, Cooking with Vito, & Let's All Laugh at Chelsea

After a week's layoff, we welcome you to WEEKEND ROUNDUP: THE RETURNINATION. Which seemingly makes me the Returninator. Which is not to be confused with the Burninator. Anyway, for the rest of this post, please read on with the Schwarzeneggerian accent.

Not a bad weekend for the football. Arsenal ground out an away win over Fulham despite getting no outstanding performances except the one turned in by Vito "Veto" Mannone. Jeebus, was he awesome or what? I don't know where this kid's been hiding, and it's far too early to suggest he take the # 1 shirt, but if he's capable of this sort of outing on a regular basis, I think Almunia should feel nervous. Hell, with the way Almunia's played so far, he should be nervous anyway.

Arsenal walked away with all three points thanks to a lovely bit of play between Fabregas and van Persie, Cesc chipping over the defense into Robin's path, with the Dutch Master settling the ball and striking home cool and low into the left corner with his Chocolate leg past SCHWARZER! See, reading his name with the Austrian accent is MUCH more fun than just reading it. See what you're missing by not cooperating?

Otherwise, this was the dullest match Arsenal have played this season, helped along of course by the anti-football tactics of Woy Hodgson. Christ, even Allardyce's teams don't play 10 defenders when they're at home. These are tactics rarely seen outside of Italy (on a related note, I walked through the spot at Nevada's where the Inter supporters had been watching the match on Sat., and it still smelled like a week-old Italian hoagie... *shudder*), and I'd vote they stay there. Still, Arsenal were unable to break down the defense, largely due to Diaby giving the ball away every time he touched it, and Arshavin being mostly invisible. The entire lefthand side of the Arsenal lineup looked flat, and to Fulham's credit, they exploited it. I personally cannot wait until Rosicky is fit enough to play a full 90, as the offense really started to come to life once he came on for Diaby. And more Rosicky means less Diaby. And less Diaby is awesome like puppies, ice cream, beer and boobies.

But while we will likely be raked across the papers as dull and uninspiring, a hard-fought, maybe undeserved win is just what United get praise for. It's what championship teams do, win when they're not at their very best. I remember Joe Torre's '98 Yankee team talking about "grinding out" wins, and love, hate or indifference for them, they knew a thing about winning games. It's been said everywhere else, so I'll conform: I'd rather have an ugly win than a beautiful draw.

Otherwise, Chelsea got stomped by Wigan to the tune of 3-1. I've been saying all season that this Chelsea team aren't that good and that their point total has been flattered with some last-second wins against lower-tier teams. So now that they've been found out, I assume we'll all be seeing fewer Chelsea shirts and more Man City shirts, although the people within them will be the same. New Plastic Fans, only from Mattell.

Our visiting pick 'em guest on Friday was Andy Baldwin, straight outta the mean streets of Essex. Let's look at how he made out...

Portsmouth v Everton
Prediction: Pompey 0-2 Everton; Reality: Pompey 0-1 Everton
Everton with another lackluster performance, but they get the win versus the most lackluster side in the league.

Birmingham v Bolton
Prediction: Birmingham 1-1 Bolton; Reality: Birmingham 1-2 Bolton
Bolton get a late winner from Korean international Kee-Sun-Yong or something. What am I, and interpreter? Look it up yourself.

Blackburn v Aston Villa
Prediction: Blackburn 1-2 Villa; Reality: Blackburn 2-1 Villa
This was a bit of a stunner... Villa looked flat out there from what I saw, and unless we're all mistaken, Blackburn aren't that good, even at home. Should ring some alarm bells for Martin O'Neill's men.

Liverpool v Hull City
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Hull; Reality: Liverpool 6-1 Hull
An even bigger ass-kicking than Andy had anticipated. Torres shows his class while Phil Brown remains without any.

Stoke City v Man Utd
Prediction: Stoke 0-2 Man U; Reality: Stoke 0-2 Man U (DINGDINGDINGDING!)
Andy's right on the nose with this one. I don't think anyone besides Gareth and the most dedicated Stoke supporters could've seen this one going another way. Man U aren't as good as they were, but they're still more than a match for the likes of the Potters.

Tottenham v Burnley
Prediction: Spurs 3-1 Burnley; Reality: Spurs 5-0 Burnley
Spurs pick on another of the league's lesser lights. Booooooooooo.

Wigan v Chelsea
Prediction: Wigan 0-2 Chelsea; Reality: Wigan 3-1 Chelsea
Seriously though, hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Sunderland v Wolves
Prediction: Sunderland 3-1 Wolves; Reality: Sunderland 5-2 Wolves
Honestly, is there a worse Premiership manager than Mick McCarthy? I know he got them promoted, but he's done that feat before. I say Wolves should can him so Newcastle can hire him, and fire him once they're promoted. And rinse and repeat.

Man City v West Ham
Prediction: Man City 2-0 Hammers; Reality: Playing today...
Obviously nothing decided yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a piece of the International Space Station to fall from the sky and crush Mark Hughes and Adebayor. I don't think I'm being unreasonable.

So Andy went 6-3, with the City/Hammers show kicking off later today. Not a bad showing so far. Over .500, anyway.

Arsenal are now in 5th place, 3 points behind Tottenham and Liverpool but with a match in hand on both of them. Chelsea lose their 100% record and fall below United, and I really can't see either of them lasting forever up at the top, same as we certainly won't see Tottenham in the top 4 at season's end. I just really can't wait until we beat United--and we WILL beat United--at home this season. No more robberies, no more biased refereeing. On a neutral pitch, Arsenal is a better team than Manchester United, and if the squads are full-strength I can't conceive of us losing to them at the Grove. And there's one United fan at Nevada's in particular that I can't wait to stick that in the face of. And it's not anyone I like, it's the cockbag that was singing their crap Vieira song on Sat. ON HIS OWN, ON HIS OWN, ON HIS OWN...

Liverpool may be getting sold off to a Saudi billionaire or group of them, which would make yet another club owned by oil money. I really can't wait for electric cars to become common and affordable.

Lastly, we have more Champions League action midweek, with Arsenal taking on Olympiakos. Some fresh injury news as Bendtner will not be in the squad as he was just in a car accident. The faithful can fear not (and the haters can suck it), as he's apparrently just bruised up, so a little rest will do the big Dane some good. The tie also comes a bit early for Theo to make his return, which I'm sure we're all waiting for, so I wouldn't be surprised if Vela makes the bench at least. I think we'd all like to see him back in action for the first team. Hopefully Arsene can select a side that shows a bit more life than the one that nearly Carusoe'd against Liege.

That's all I've got for now, marshmallow peeps... Join us again on Friday when we talk all things Arsenal and hopefully recap the strange occurrence of a piece from the International Space Station plummetting to earth and crushing Mark Hughes and Emmanuel Adebayor, the fishfuckers that they are. Until then, as always, you stay classy, Gooner nation.

- B, a Gooner.